GOP’s broad ambitions should be subordinate to one: improving education

History, they say, is written by the winners. And here’s a rock-solid political truth: The folks with the votes write the notes.

Michigan Republicans overwhelmingly control the House of Representatives (63-47). So if you look through the 24-page, nicely designed House Republican Action Plan for 2015 you get a pretty good idea of what notes Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant) and his colleagues intend to play this year.

That is, once voters decide May 5 whether to raise the sales tax to fix the roads, and once the governor and legislature agree how to fix a state budget that’s current several hundred million in the red.

The target date for budget stabilization is June 1. Once that’s done, you can bet the lawmakers will be turning their gaze to the GOP’s 78-item action plan. It pretty much covers the entire waterfront. Among other things, it calls for repealing the state’s prevailing wage rules, eliminating local ordinances that require paid sick days, reforming the teacher retirement system, reviewing the role of land banks and establishing a uniform definition of a veteran.

Most consequential, however, are these four items:

  • Adopting a teacher performance evaluation system that is accurate, fair, transparent, easy to administer -- and one that won’t be trashed by the teachers’ unions.
  • Adopting stiffer certification tests for graduates of schools of education. (This needs to come with some – any – system of accountability for the state’s schools of education, which annually produce around 4,000 graduates of varying quality for only around 2,500 new openings.)
  • Initiatives to deal with third-grade reading performance, a generally recognized benchmark that determines which children are likely to succeed in school. Last term, a proposal that would have held back every third grader who didn’t pass a proficiency exam withered, after critics said it would be very expensive but not do much to help the kids who needed it.
  • Reform of the state’s corrections system, which now costs far more than Michigan spends to support the entire system of public colleges and universities. Lost during the chaos of last year’s lame-duck legislative session were a number of carefully thought-through proposals by outgoing, term-limited state Rep. Joe Haveman, (R-Holland) including sentencing reform.

The GOP blueprint was rattling around in my head last week while I listened to a fascinating presentation on school reform made by officials from Tennessee. While Michigan’s school performance has declined in recent years, other states have shot ahead, particularly Tennessee, Florida, Massachusetts and Minnesota (The reasons why are featured in a series of articles in Bridge Magazine, published as “The Smartest Kids in the Nation.”

Tennessee is particularly interesting. The state spends less per pupil in school and pays teachers substantially less than Michigan. Yet its academic performance as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress examination has shot ahead of ours.

There are lots of reasons Tennessee has excelled, including high-stakes teacher evaluations, increased investment in teacher on-the-job training and quick-turnaround student achievement data. It’s impressive that some of these are included in the Republican house policy agenda.

Only one absolutely essential thing is lacking, not just in the recent GOP report but in literally decades of Michigan education policy from both parties. But it’s a big one: An overreaching long-term policy focus on making schools better.

The Tennessee folks (can’t mention names because the session, mysteriously, was off the record) made it perfectly clear: For more than a decade, under both Republicans and Democrats, the Volunteer State has made improving education a singular focus. Their suggestion: “Get widespread agreement that the entire future of the State of Michigan depends on the education of your citizens at the state and local level.”

Right on!

Without being disrespectful to the Republican policy agenda, any priority list with 78 items on it has no priorities.

I understand why they did this. Because our present political system requires slicing and dicing the world into specific constituencies with specific interests, there’s a great tendency to pander to every known interest group by issuing lengthy cover-the-entire-waterfront policy proposals.

That may make political sense. But in the real world, the rule is simple: No focus, no progress.
Try to do everything, and you accomplish little or nothing. If we’re ever going to get serious about our state’s future, we need to recognize this, buckle down, and make improving the education of our citizens Michigan’s overwhelming priority.

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Comments

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Mon, 02/09/2015 - 8:52pm
The atmosphere is so poisoned between the legislature and the teachers I doubt anything is going to come out of the legislature that will really turn the educational environment around in Michigan, both sides really have to want to make it work. The distrust on both sides is very high.
Tom
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 10:00am
Unfortunately, a priority list needs to address not only the highest priorities, but some consideration of how to eliminate or reduce expenses (e.g. prevailing wage, mandatory sentencing, etc.) in areas that do not represent a higher priority. So, while improving education is a great goal, we should also take a lesson from "Lean" and "Six Sigma" improvement methodologies...improvement without adding cost and preferably with cost reduction as a part of the goal. This would not only allow a continued focus on competitive educational delivery, but also things like roads, etc.
dlb
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 10:22am
Just a point of clarification, I just looked and found that according to the NEA, the average starting teacher salary in TN is $33,000, while the average starting teacher salary in MI is 34,000. The national average starting salary is $35,000. However, this article and others often refer to Michigan teachers being paid so much more. I don't understand. Otherwise a good article.
Matt
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 11:01am
dlb, pay statement in article based on average pay not starting pay. But not addressed by your research are the other "benefits" which really drive costs, which if considered I suspect MI would dwarf TN even more so. Given that 85% of all monies spent on schools go to employee compensation and considering the inability to find slack to fund needed initiatives, we can't have any conversation on education that ignores this, whether the MEA likes the facts or not.
dlb
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 12:54pm
Yes, that did refer to starting salary. It is hard to look at average teacher salary overall because that can be influenced by the number of years teaching. Couldn't find anything about comparison of benefit costs. What are you thinking is so much higher in MI benefit packages? It is also worth noting that average pay for all workers in TN is $42,000 vs $49,000. Not sure why that matters. My original point was just that the difference in teacher compensation between TN and MI is not very much. The problem is not teacher compensation. I would just like to see the GOP stop blaming it all on teachers. Working on teacher education is a good idea,as well as looking at class sizes, setting expectations in the classroom, providing adequate resources for schools, and strengthening school-parent partnerships. All good ideas.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 11:02am
Phil, I could not be more disappointed in you, Bridge and Ron French. Tennessee did not surge past Michigan in education in 2013 as you said. They test 100% of students during their ACT testing and those scores tell the true story. The group that gave you the presentation on school reform may well be the dubious "winners" that write the "history" you mention in your first line in this article. I pointed out for Bridge and summarized correctly for Ron French why the spike in Tennessee NEAP data for Tennessee in 2013 seemed to spike ahead of Michigan's data. Tennessee selected elite students in just one grade to pass, and held back the rest. Just one grade. Then they tested only these select students. I say, the resulting test data is not comparable to states that did not hold back students and did not test elite students only in this way. Here is what I said to Ron French back in Sept 2014: "Ron French September 9, 2014 at 12:54 pm I checked the date that Tennessee passed legislation for 8th grade social promotion. It is July 1, 2012 as SB2156 and HB3269 (Tennessee). So the data you present for NEAP 2013 represents a cadre of students, where the social promotions had recently been removed, just as we saw with the 3d graders (in a previous year). This is a select group of students that one might reasonably expect to score higher than the the previous trend for this class. As the legislation for these two years in Tenn only affected these two exact cadres of students, and not the entire student body, the intent seems to be consistent with misrepresenting the data from Tenn NEAP you are using to base your conclusions on. I recommend you use this information to eliminate Tenn from the states you (are) using to base your recommendations on." Phil, you may ignore the truth. But I do not have to be happy about it. Bridge may reject and not publish my two Commentaries on, "Why Johnny Can Not Work." But I do not have to be happy about it. These commentaries tell the truth about why Johnny can not work. They tell the truth about how I traced the reason backed to K-12 education, and now I can now say, back to Why Johnny can not read at third grade level, and does so poorly on these Proficiency Tests. It is the same reason America does so poorly on International tests. If a child does not understand a thing, he will not be able to do that thing. That applies to Reading, at third grade, it applies to work in professional life. If a person does not understand how to do the task, he will not be able to do the task. We do know how to detect when a person does not understand a thing. He will not be able to demonstrate it. We do know exactly what causes that, and we can fix that exact thing. Johnny can then read and do the task. We do know how to fix this specific problem in education. Accepting false information, such as that 2013 NEAP spike from Tennessee, is not the way. Please review your assumptions here. I expected more from you.
Charles Richards
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 3:05pm
"We do know exactly what causes that, and we can fix that exact thing. Johnny can then read and do the task. We do know how to fix this specific problem in education." Mr. Hulett leaves out the secret ingredient: How to make somebody understand the task. That, after all, is the problem we are trying to solve.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 5:21pm
Charles Richards February 10, 2015 at 3:05 pm You said, "Mr. Hulett leaves out the secret ingredient: How to make somebody understand the task." That is exactly right. You have my compliments. But I have to say, we are spending 19 billion dollars a year or so, for many years and leaving this out as well, so I seem to be in good company. Actually, industry in America spends about the same amount as public Education. They have left out this secret ingredient as well for the most part, but they are at least trying. You also pointed out, "That, after all, is the problem we are trying to solve." At the task level, I would ask somebody to demonstrate (demo) the task with the actual objects of the subject, or any available objects, no explanation is accepted. Just do it! If they can not, I demonstrate the task perfectly, quickly and easily. Then, I ask them to demo it. If they can not demo it instantly, perfectly, quickly and easily I ask them to do it a number of times till they can demonstrate it instantly, quickly and easily. So if they have only a 10% understanding, they can probably work out the rest, if there is not a "secret ingredient" preventing them from, or being a barrier, to learning this task. If they can not, then I look for and find the "secret ingredient" that prevents them from understanding at this level of ability. We could also say their ability to learn is blocked. I do not have to teach them all of the skill, or of the ability needed to apply this skill. I only need to unblock their ability to learn it, and the rest usually resolves in a flash. I find the secret ingredient that when found and handled allows them to learn the task, and then demo that one task instantly, perfectly, quickly and easily. If we do not require and expect this level of ability then they will not be able to apply that level of understanding to life. They will not be able to work, at least not with that level of understanding. If we do not train them, from their own viewpoint, to be able to attain this level of understanding then we have failed. Let's say, from the viewpoint of a Professional Engineer, I expect a Senior Engineer to be at a level of 100% understanding on a task. I have trained him, or he comes to me, able to do a task instantly, perfectly, quickly and easily. If he comes to me without this expectation on any task, then I have to train him to expect this, from himself, on the tasks he does for me where I am expecting maximum productivity. Now from the viewpoint, my viewpoint, as a substitute teacher, asking a third-grade student (or anyone in K-12) to read his or her reading materials out loud. What if I find they are not reading proficient, at the third-grade level. I listen to them read out loud and they can not read perfectly, quickly and easily. If I ask them to demo what they understand from what they read, they can not demo it? Now, we come to the secret ingredient. What is it at the third-grade level, the K-12 level, the Senior Engineer Level or the Professional Engineering Level that is missing, when somebody does not, and can not, understand well enough to learn to demo a task instantly, perfectly, quickly and easily? Below the level of understanding at the task level, is the level of understanding at the level of a word or a symbol. When a person does not under a word required to understand a task. All you have to do is clarify the word. Then one can learn the task. He can learn to do the task instantly, perfectly, quickly and easily. The problem pretty much unravels when one does this. The person just becomes very smart about learning that task and whiz he's got it. The same with a symbol. When one does not understand a symbol needed for a task, all you have to do is clarify the symbol, and he can now learn, begin to learn, to do the task. The learning part is almost instantaneous sometimes. He can then demo it. So, to find the exact word or exact symbol, we can work backwards from the task he was unable to do. He can not read something outloud. We ask, 'Is there a word or symbol you did not understand?' Now it has to be the right word or symbol, not the one you or I, think it is. So if they stumble while reading 'aluminum', I am not saying 'the secret ingredient' is the word 'aluminum.' You ask what word, or symbol they did not understand and actually find it. They may understand aluminum and be able to demonstrate that. But they may say some other word, and when that is clarified, then they can learn the entire task. The secret is there is a word or symbol that is preventing an understanding of the task, preventing his learning the task, preventing the ability to understand the task. That when recognized and clarified, the ability to learn returns and he can now learn the task easily. He can demo the task. So part of this is demonstration, the ability to demo the task. The secret ingredient is the word or symbol that shuts down the ability to learn the task. When you find and clarify the word, and the ability to learn returns, and the student can learn the task. He can then demo the task perfectly, instantly, quickly and easily or work this out pretty quickly. It does not matter whether this happens at the Professional level, or K-12, or preschool, or college. If he can not do the task, a word or symbol can be found that prevents this. He can learn to do the task. I am not trying to train anyone here to do this. I'm not having anyone here demo exactly how to do this. There may be a thousand ways to do this, and I know there are. But if the employer, the manager, the teacher, the politician does not see people that can do the task. Obviously can not teach somebody to do the task. Then, they might reread the above or otherwise learn how to actually do it. Michigan needs people that know. America needs people that know. People that know how to make somebody understand the task.
Charles Richards
Sun, 02/15/2015 - 3:42pm
Mr. Hulett, what you are essentially saying is that when somebody doesn't understand a concept or perform a task, they need to be taught the concept or skill that is a necessary foundation of the current concept or task. There is nothing particularly new or insightful about that. But it doesn't explain how people learn. Don't you see? You are in an infinite regress. Similarly, when someone demonstrates that they can perform a particular task or exhibit a particular skill, that is evidence that they have learned that skill or mastered a concept, that is evidence that they have learned that skill or mastered that concept. Again, there is nothing particularly startling or new about that.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Sun, 02/15/2015 - 6:58pm
Charles Richards February 15, 2015 at 3:42 pm Charles, Thank you for your kind reply. But, I think you have totally missed the point, my points. Nearly everything you have said is very true, so please allow me to very carefully distinguish the few that are not. "Mr. Hulett, what you are essentially saying is that when somebody doesn’t understand a concept or (can not) perform a task, they need to be taught the concept or skill that is a necessary foundation of the current concept or task. There is nothing particularly new or insightful about that. But it doesn’t explain how people learn. Don’t you see?" Let me break that statement down, from the viewpoint of how people learn; 1) "when somebody doesn’t understand a concept or (can not) perform a task" This says the person has already been taught the task, and is at the point in time (especially when their first manager on the job sees them) when they are expected to know it. I'm saying he has never really been asked to demonstrate his competency. So in my explanation I do this step, I ask him to demonstrate his competency. I do this in a very special way, so if he can learn at all, he can work out any missing details, any missing understanding, and I even go on to develop mastery right there if he can. But I am not saying he needs what you are saying next. If he can not demonstrate the concept or task, then we have found something vitally important. With a minimal amount of work. Point one: How one detects the task that has not been learned. (or the one that has been learned.) 2) Then you say, "they need to be taught the concept or skill that is a necessary foundation of the current concept or task." No. They have been taught that already, at this point in time. What I am saying is my simple, on your feet quicky test, points out the essence of the matter. If they can learn, they can do. If they can not learn, they can not do. So that is also made very clear. Now one can find exactly why they can not learn just this one tiny thing, out of the vast, years of education they have had. What I am clarifying is that a student does not need to be taught the lesson two times. If he can not do it, you find out why. But you do have teach the lesson the first time, of course. You say, "You are in an infinite regress. Similarly, when someone demonstrates that they can perform a particular task or exhibit a particular skill, that is evidence that they have learned that skill or mastered a concept, that is evidence that they have learned that skill or mastered that concept. Again, there is nothing particularly startling or new about that." Again, most all that is correct, now, let me break down the details of that from the viewpoint of how people learn: 3) "when someone demonstrates that they can perform a particular task or exhibit a particular skill" That is fine so far, but what I do is take that ability one step further. I ask them to do the task a number of times, till they can do it quickly and easily. I learned this in an Engineering Department where I had them do each task five times through perfectly. I found they were 4X faster, on the average. In other words, uniformly they had not "mastered" the tasks they had indeed learned. But by demonstrating them till they could do them quickly and easily, they also attained "mastery." So this is one point. The people that had learned, and had the ability to demonstrate could now quickly achieve "mastery", if someone simply asked them to. Point two: How one may quickly move from a task learned to task mastery. Now I understand you asking about the details of how one does learn the task, when we have found one not learned. 4) "But it doesn’t explain how people learn. Don’t you see?" Yes, I see. It is true that context so far does not explain 'how people learn.' It is a workable example of my first two points: First: "How one detects the student that has not learned it." As Professional Engineer this is very important. As a hiring manager this very important. It is important to industry. All the testing schools, and states and nations do may focus on this one thing. What I am proposing is a simple way for the student, for the teacher, for anyone in the school or a school board member, or a state, or a hiring manager to detect someone that has not learned. One can simply ask the student to demonstrate it and see if he can. Bingo! You know right there. Second: "How one may quickly move from a task learned to task mastery." I submit this is not done by education, and really is not done in industry either to any extent. My tests of this showed a 4X increase in speed at the level of Senior Engineers. But at the level of 5th grade, I was stunned. I found the student could do the task more or instantly. I have devised no test to quantify this yet for K-12, but no one has thought to ask either. The later context shows what you asked, (explain how people learn.) or maybe you didn't realize you also asked this very specific thing. When a person has not understood well enough to apply, or do a task, how do we take that person that can not learn a specific task, and move them forward to a person that can learn that task? Please see if the excerpt below answers your question: "Now, we come to the secret ingredient. What is it at the third-grade level, the K-12 level, the Senior Engineer Level or the Professional Engineering Level that is missing, when somebody does not, and can not, understand well enough to learn to demo a task instantly, perfectly, quickly and easily? Below the level of understanding at the task level, is the level of understanding at the level of a word or a symbol. When a person does not under(stand) a word required to understand a task. All you have to do is clarify the word. Then one can learn the task. He can learn to do the task instantly, perfectly, quickly and easily. The problem pretty much unravels when one does this. The person just becomes very smart about learning that task and whiz he’s got it." I understand this process as follows: one begins to learn about a specific task with a certain level of understanding. One comes to a word that he does not understand, and goes on past. Bam! Now he is not understanding in a big way, and there are a whole lot of symptoms that begin to occur thereafter, all bad. One might be he goes a little blank. But that little blankness, may appear to be much larger. He may be blank on the whole page. So how does he find the word he didn't get, if he can't even recall the page? The word may be now hidden. When the missed word is understood all these bad things fall away. He now understands what he understood before and the new understanding. I'm just looking at a very practical technique here. Find a task he can not do, then find the word that caused that one inability. Then he can acquire that ability. This applies to a book, to a course, to a subject, to school, to a drop out. Point three: How one can find a word(s) that when clarified returns the ability to learn the task. The willingness to learn returns. The understanding needed for mastery of the task can now be acquired in the usual way.
Charles Richards
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 3:23pm
Mr. Power says that Michigan's education policy has always lacked something essential: ":An overreaching long-term policy focus on making schools better." So, just what would that policy include? Or does he mean to say that we haven't concentrated enough, focused enough, tried hard enough? He says, that " It’s impressive that some of these are included in the Republican house policy agenda." What were they? And what else would he include? He says of the people from Tennessee that " Their suggestion: “Get widespread agreement that the entire future of the State of Michigan depends on the education of your citizens at the state and local level.” Just how do you go about persuading the vast majority of parents that getting their kids well-educated is extremely important? Obviously, they aren't currently convinced of that need, or we would have long since made education the priority he says it should be.
Duane
Wed, 02/11/2015 - 12:12am
“No focus, no progress.” Mr. Power is right. What is disappointing is his lack of willingness to practice what he preaches. “But it’s a big one: An overreaching long-term policy focus on making schools better.” He wants schools to be ‘better’, but Mr. Power doesn’t describe what ‘better’ means. How can anyone improve to what they don’t understand? “buckle down, and make improving the education of our citizens Michigan’s overwhelming priority.” What does Mr. Power mean when he wants our citizens educated? How can we expect improvement when we don’t know what that includes? Mr. Power sounds like the politicians he is flogging with his complaints of ambiguity. If he wants them to be specific, Mr. Power should be specific. What does a better school look like? What should we be educated on? What is the purpose of schools and education, is it better delivery of education or is it students learning? There is a difference.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Wed, 02/11/2015 - 7:18pm
Duane February 11, 2015 at 12:12 am Hello again. I disagree. I feel Phil Power is wrong here. His entire article seems to be motivated by this premise: 'the entire future of the State of Michigan depends on the education of your (our) citizens at the state and local level.” Which results in his foremost policy recommendation to republican law makers: What Michigan needs is: "An overreaching long-term policy focus on making schools better." I feel this premise is wrong. And its motivation is wrong. As to its motivation, Phil says, "There are lots of reasons Tennessee has excelled..." Tennessee has not excelled! As I pointed out above their ACT data shows no such thing. They passed two laws directed to two very specific grade levels that would be immediately tested by NEAP. They eliminated social promotion for these two grade levels, one in 2011 and one in 2013, and that is what the NEAP data shows for Tenn. When that data is compared to the previous trend, there obviously is a spike. Not because of the reasons Phil gives or Tenn says, but because the data was from an intentionally elite group of students only from one grade only. When the data from this elite group is compared to Michigan data it gives the appearance Tenn is surging forward. That is obviously false. The Tenn data is intentionally skewed and should not be compared in this way. Michigan data includes social promotion. Tenn does not. Now back to the premise. "the entire future of the State of Michigan depends on the education..." I say, "No." First of all many students leave Michigan to find work, as I did over the years. Or they are international students, and most return home. The ones that are gone have no or little influence on Michigan's future. The people or companies that come here from China, or India, or internationally to work or do business, do influence Michigan's future, but education in Michigan had nothing to do with them. His premise is first of all overreaching. Secondly, as someone else pointed out, there is "a secret ingredient" missing, I say this is missing from education, public education in Michigan. Thirdly, industry and the military spends as much on education as does the state of Michigan or public education in America. Phil is not including such spending when he says, "education." Fourthly, there is something else that is more important. I wish to elaborate on this second point. The "education" Phil is talking about, public education, in his recommendations to the GOP Agenda, or as an over-reaching policy for the state of Michigan, or any plea for additional spending for education does not include what I have called "a secret ingredient." If a person can learn a task and do a task, that is one thing. If a person can not learn a task. If Johnny can not work, who will hire him? Who will hire a person for a task that person can not do? What shall be the strength of Michigan's future if Education does not teach Johnny to learn the tasks he needs and industry needs? What if Johnny can not work? What if the task is reading at a third grade level? Do studies show what the future holds for the student that can not read? We all know they do, overwhelmingly. I submit that there is a 'secret ingredient' that can be applied at the third grade level where a student has not been able learn to read, can be made to read. A person who can not learn to do a task, can learn to do that task. Preschool, K-12, Voced, college or university, military and industry if a person can not do a task, apply the secret ingredient, he can learn to do the task. So, here are two options: 1) Shall we expand funding for education where that education has a track record of graduating students that have been told how to do a task only, are expected by industry to do the tasks, but may be found to not be able to learn to do the task. Or, 2) Shall we seek to improve education, so people have an option to failing. Not being able to complete a subject they want, or not being able to learn to do a task they have been educated to have. I submit on behalf of industry and the military that the education Mr. Power is talking about has not provided students with the strength needed for a strong future for Michigan. Further, endless studies have shown that this limited form of education does not lift communities where it is taught from poverty. On behalf of those communities I submit that this form of education has failed us. Now let's address Phil's last point, "If we’re ever going to get serious about our state’s future, we need to recognize this, buckle down, and make improving the education of our citizens Michigan’s overwhelming priority." I say, No, to option 1. that promises more of the same failures for students, communities and the state of Michigan. I say, Yes, to option 2. that promises to teach students to learn in a way where they can apply and do the tasks they are learning about or have to apply in industry.
Duane
Fri, 02/13/2015 - 3:17pm
Leon, Good to hear from you. Your first premise could be in error, he may not be so concerned with solving a problem such as ‘education’ as much as he is about trying to create political leverage for spending. If he were interested in solving a problem he would practice what he is telling the legislators, be specific. If he had described what the ‘education’ of citizens should involve, how it can be achieved, what the impact would look like then he would have a case for expecting change. My best guess is that Mr. Power has ‘good intentions’, he has heard and he has succeeded in life using his education, but he seems unable or unwilling to delve into understanding about education and learning, he only appears to repeat the common call of politicians and education ‘experts’ for more ‘education’ spending. I must qualify these comments, I have not had the opportunity to read all of the recent articles on the school ratings so there may be some investigation in the success of some of the schools. If there isn’t then what has the ratings changed anything other than allow some to justify their spending and ask for more, others bemoan their limited budgets and ask for more spending. I believe there are three things that need to happen before we will change the results of Michigan ‘education’: decide on what knowledge/skills we want and when, understand how the learning process works for the students (whys and how’s they learn), and we need to establish the means/methods to verify the progress/success of the students and programs. As for your four points; I see three elements to Michigan ‘education’ for students, everyday life skills, academic knowledge and skills, the means to learn and do it independently. Whether they decide to apply their ‘education’ locally, across the state, nationally, or globally is the individual’s choice, not the schools, the State’s, or the nation’s.
Chuck Jordan
Sun, 02/15/2015 - 2:19pm
Mr. Hulett is correct. Tennessee is not the success Bridge keeps claiming they are, despite the ton of money they won from Race to the Top. The state academic champs is similarly flawed. Can a grading system such as top schools or A-F grading of schools tell parents which schools are best to send their kids to? A look at some of the top schools will answer that. I refuse to name any names, but there are schools on top schools list that parents in the area know are not the best, not even close, even factoring in SES. Politicians and apparently journalists don't like complexity, and education is just too complex and important to let politicians (state republicans or DOE democrats mess with it.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Sun, 02/15/2015 - 7:09pm
Chuck Jordan February 15, 2015 at 2:19 pm Thank you for your supportive comments. Leon
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Sun, 02/15/2015 - 4:42pm
Duane February 13, 2015 at 3:17 pm "then what has the ratings changed anything other than allow some to justify their spending and ask for more, others bemoan their limited budgets and ask for more spending." I tried to read all the explanations and I watched the video. I explained how the rankings were done, to the best of my knowledge, to my son, who seems to be uncommonly wise on nearly everything. He said, "It sounds like Social Justice." I asked, "Do you mean, Marxism?" My wife says there was a high-school student who dreamed up a class project along these lines. He went to several classes and explained to the class that there were some students who didn't have as much time to put in on these studies and others had not done so well. They had flunked. He asked the high achieving students, if they would mind giving up their high grades, the credit for them, and giving them to the low achievers so they could at least pass and not fail. The high achieving students were horrified. I think this is what Bridge has done, commissioned someone to do: To take the academic honors from the high achieving schools in Michigan that pay for their own lunch programs, and redistribute it to the lessor achieving schools that receive free lunches. Cute! In the early 1990's when Michigan began to use something called "The Proficiency Test", many parents revolted. I researched it, the new standards and the basis of the new test, and found that it was based on something called, "Neoconstructionism." That is based on a book by Luria and promoted to education in America by the Harvard Fellows, with the book, Society and Mind by Lev S. Vygotsky. Mr. Vygotsky was the darling of Stalin in the 1920s up to his death in 1934. But his works were given the highest honors in Russia by Stalin, and no other educational research was allowed in Russia till Stalin died in 1953. I presented little more than this to a school board President at a local school. He said he was unfamiliar with this but would check it out. When we talked next he responded with a question, rather than an answer. He said, "Do you think there is some kind of conspiracy?" The name of that test and its content were so unpopular that it was soon changed to "The High School Test." It was not withdrawn, only changed in name only. The later evolutions of the name changing for that technology has evolved to what we have now, the MEAP and the ACT "proficiency ratings". And of course, these new "Academic Ratings" from Bridge. You have said, "My best guess is that Mr. Power has ‘good intentions’..." You have said why you think so. I don't think so. A rational mind would correct itself, when the truth is known. He has not. The basic purpose of education is "Work" not "Learning." Teaching students to "work", should improve the economics of their neighborhoods. The economic conditions surrounding a school should be improved, if it is addressed effectively by schools. The reverse is true. The economics of any state should improve, if we are investing 10% or so, of our goods and services each year, in this task. If a 10% investment in a third world country were made, one could expect a 5X increase in goods and services. This is not the rate of return of our investment in Education, in our neighborhoods, our schools, or our state. It, as it is is being done now, is not a good investment. If one had the high dream of increasing the "Learning" of people, the best route would be to first bring about prosperity, so people had the leisure time to enjoy such luxuries, if they wished. I believe to substitute "Learning" for "Work" is a betrayal of trust. A rational economy, I think, should also correct itself. This "Academic" ranking system, being promoted by Bridge, has little hope of successfully improving our economy. To my knowledge it does not address improving the economy of pure neighborhoods, rural areas, big cities, or the state. It has every probability of damaging it further.
Duane
Mon, 02/16/2015 - 2:04pm
Leon, The way I define ‘good intentions,’ is someone with passion who wants better results for others. The qualifier is that the people let their ‘good intentions’ override interest in finding root causes of why the ‘good intentions’ are not being achieved, in the roles/responsibilities for those who are to gain the better results, interest in whether the means/method will/is, accountability, achieving the desired results, and interest in identifying unintended consequences or make any effort to mitigate those consequences. In this case Mr. Power’s ‘good intentions’ for education are the means to providing a ‘better’ life for people, that includes unlimited spending of others people money without accountability, and overrides interest in understanding the learning process and the (full breath of) barriers that students have to overcome or why and how those that do succeed did it, or the role with responsibilities of the student in their learning process, and lack of interest in possible unintended consequences. I think Mr. Power has ‘good intentions’ because he has been successful using his ‘education’ and he feels others can have success with ‘education’ so he is promoting ‘education’. His desired success for children from their K-12 years, I want that too, is not as easy or as simple as he believes. A simple test of this view is what types of questions he asks, he asks none. Rational people will correct themselves, however, emotion (‘good intentions’ driven by passion, or by fear of being wrong) can be too great a barrier for rational assessment and adjustment to overcome. For me, learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skills, work can be the application of that knowledge and skills. I believe that learning to learn can be the best foundation for learning to work. Learning what it takes to be successful at working can be gained in school, but working is the only way one can learn to work. Where an individual works and contributes to the economy is the choice of the individual not the school. School and student successes can draw people into an area, however, that is not the purpose of the schools in my mind. Improving the economy is done by the efforts of people not of institutions, though institutions can be a factor in where people decide to make their contributions to the economy.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Tue, 02/17/2015 - 2:28pm
Duane February 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm Thanks for providing your definition of 'good intentions.' I've found with kids, parents and Engineers that when one provides a definition that is more fundamental than the one they had, that sort of 'resets' the thinking process. My definition for 'intention' is "a conscious plan of what one will do,' 'or the effect or result, he hopes to achieve." I find this remarkably similar to my definition for ability, "Observe, Decide, Act." When I ask a child to acquire a skill this is essentially what they do, how they learn it. They Observe, which gives them the data to make a conscious plan of what they want to do. They decide to acquire just that "plan", that ability or skill, and they've got it. The "skill' is just a smaller version of the "intention" you speak of. Is this not true? Now I have seen Phil ask questions here: Like, Why is it so hard to learn the lesson governors all the way back to at least Millikan, have asked, at least rhetorically. Why is there such a big disconnect between Education and Work? I don't recall his exact words, but something to that effect. Now apparently his question is also rhetorical. He did not intend to solve it, and it was not his intention, as we have discussed here, to solve it. The expressed intention should move forward to the result. If not, then as you said, there may have been other intentions. You said, "For me, learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skills, work can be the application of that knowledge and skills." Let me point out once again: If the learning, the acquisition of knowledge and skills, is disconnected from "Work". If the learning culminates in a multiple choice test, instead of a demonstration of competence. What will the person, as the student, take to work, as the employee? There is a disconnect that you are not saying. Schools can be very, very isolated from how things are done in the world. The world of work can have very high expectations of the eduction an employee brings to the market place. But in fact the new employee may never have even seen a marketplace, never touched one, never felt one. In reality there is a disconnect. The knowledge and skills learned, maybe not even one of them, were not connected to reality. Someone said, We have to face Reality, but they never taught Education what that might be, or how exactly to do that. They just accepted a pile of money for saying that with great conviction, and left Education high and dry. And that has left the Economy high and dry as well. Why not ask the student to demonstrate with actual objects just how they would use each idea in the world? And then observe. Can he do it at all? How long does it take him "to consciously plan just what he will do?" If he can do that, he has connected it to reality. (That reality might not be the one he sees on the job, but at least it is a reality.) If he can do it instantly, that is good enough anywhere in the world. If he cannot, then he needs a better course on 'Learning how to Learn."
Duane
Tue, 02/17/2015 - 10:56pm
Leon, A qualifier I would offer is on the ‘observe,’ emotion can bias the ‘observe’ step. Emotion [‘good intentions’] can prevent a person from truly observing/seeing the real situations. [The mind only sees what it is looking for.] If a person doesn’t see reality then how can ‘Decide, Act’ work effectively? I don’t see ‘skill’ as a subset of ‘intention.’ I see ‘skill’ as a developed ability to perform specific activities. There are many questions/elements/issues to consider when addressing the Michigan ‘education’ system. I think without a well defined purpose for the Michigan ‘education’ system there is little likelihood that anything will change and we will continue to get what were are currently getting. Is the purpose of 'education' to be more efficient in delivery or is it to standarize presentation or is it to have good numbers or is it have students learn? What is the result we want?
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Wed, 02/18/2015 - 8:36am
Duane February 17, 2015 at 10:56 pm Good points to discuss. "A qualifier I would offer is on the ‘observe,’ emotion can bias the ‘observe’ step." Emotion [‘good intentions’] can prevent a person from truly observing/seeing the real situations. [The mind only sees what it is looking for.] If a person doesn’t see reality then how can ‘Decide, Act’ work effectively?" I have observed what you are saying. When writing my little study course, I wanted to see for myself that this (observe,decide, act) could work. I dreamed up a little test, as a part of the course, where I would have the student observe a very visible emotion, decide to acquire it, and acquire this emotion and use it. It would be very apparent, at least to me, and possibly to the student as well, that he could acquire that specific ability. So I first defined emotion, then the specific high, and highly visible, emotion. I then had the student define the concept of emotion, then the high emotion, then I simply asked the student to be in that emotional level. I found about 50% could do exactly what I expected. But I also found, that the other 50% did just what you are predicting. They actually did go to a different emotional level, a higher level than they were before, but not all the way to the one we had defined. They had imperfectly observed the very high emotion, as you said, and they went to the lower emotion that was their imperfect observation. So observe, decide, act had worked, but as you said, 'emotion' or as I am thinking a more vague something, had biased the observe step. And that had affected the other steps. This is only page two of the little course. It does not address all the things I could do to get them to actually have the ability to choose to acquire that high emotional level, at will. As I discussed elsewhere on this commentary, I could simply present a demonstration of the ability done perfectly, and that might be enough to get the person to acquire the high emotional level, or a specific skill. Especially when I have them do it till they can to do it instantly. (at the speed of thought.) With one mom (depressed and sick), I had her pair up with a friend, and the friend and I coaxed her through this 'bias' part using a team spirit sort of thing. The gal had been quite depressed for some time, and the jump suddenly to the high emotional level I had defined, would be dramatic, if it occurred. It would be a dramatic test (from my viewpoint) of the exact question you raise about emotion. She did do it! She danced around and around, and thanked me profusely. She said she could not thank me enough. She could not believe she had magically completely changed and felt so terrific. I ended her course right at that point with her winning. It was time for me to observe a little more. I was floored, what had I done? For the next two weeks she operated in life at that high emotional level. She got rid of her deadbeat, drunk husband. She found a job that paid twice as much and quit the dead-end job she had had before. She found a new school for her kids and took them out of the school she hated. She was flying. Observe, Decide, Act seems to work just fine as far as I can tell even if a person is overwhelmed with emotions. It might not be the last word, or ultimate or anything, but it is fine for now. Now would it work here with a passionate man pursuing his 'good intentions?' It is not a part of my study course to sway a man from his passion. It is designed only to help people acquire the knowledge and skills they want to acquire, to do the things they want in life. "I don’t see ‘skill’ as a subset of ‘intention.’ I see ‘skill’ as a developed ability to perform specific activities." I don't have a problem with what you say. But I might add, wouldn't intention include the conscious plan to perform specific activities? I'm just saying, I noticed a similarity between the two concepts. "There are many questions/elements/issues to consider when addressing the Michigan ‘education’ system. I think without a well defined purpose for the Michigan ‘education’ system there is little likelihood that anything will change and we will continue to get what we are currently getting. Is the purpose of ‘education’ to be more efficient in delivery or is it to standarize presentation or is it to have good numbers or is it have students learn? What is the result we want?" Twenty years ago when I tried to address this issue, I found there was no general agreement on even what a 'purpose' was, what a 'goal' was, what a 'standard' was. For that matter, on what a 'student' was, or what 'study' means. Let alone what the problems are, or what 'goals' and 'purposes' might be most desirable for Education. Even more important, there was no agreement on even how to define such concepts. There was, and is, word guessing. This is a technique called, mistakenly called, 'context clues.' I researched how it was used in the local schools but that was not how it is was actually researched and defined. The term, as we have discussed before come the author of a book called 'Effective Study' by Francis Pleasant Robinson and reflects nearly 40 years of his research, with a staff at Ohio State and under contracts with the military in World War II. I say mistakenly called, because his research was totally scrapped and as of about 1970 schools are using something quite different and harmful. I consider this the most harmful thing American Schools do. It is probably the reason you can find no agreement on what a 'purpose' for education is, or what the 'goal' of education is. Everyone imagines their own conception from 'context clues' instead of using a Dictionary or good glossary. So twenty years ago, I resolved that we (America) needed standard definitions, and sources of definitions, and means to define such concepts. Not 'word guessing'. I researched to find the most truthful and useful definitions I could fine, and included them in 10 Standards from industry to local schools and presented them to the local School to Work (STW) program, and two local school boards. STW locally, embraced them, but schools did not. A purpose is a short term objective one intends to achieve. A goal is a long term objective one intends to achieve. A standard is a definite level quality suitable for a specific purpose. I think there have been many generations of definitions for standard from the Michigan standards since that time, the current one goes like this: "MDE Welcome to the Michigan Academic Standards Page! According to the dictionary, a standard is “something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison”. I'm looking forward to your thoughts. - Leon
Duane
Wed, 02/18/2015 - 9:15pm
Leon, The fact that those you tested, whether by emotion level or interest level, is an example of how the learning process is driven by the individual. One approach to education will not apply to everyone equally. That is one of the things I have yet to hear addressed in the ‘education’ process. In your approach to motivate action did you find those that made the greatest swing form low to high such as the woman that they had a personal reason to strive for the greatest change? Your approach of Observe, Decide, Act seems to be more focused on the individual and personal change. As for those who are driven to instigate other people to actions, it seems that their ‘good intentions’ are not about personal change so it is more difficult to have them put their emotions aside to listen. With regard what you observed 20 years ago about definitions is still true today. I believe there are several contributors to that, but what I would like to do is have a conversation with some who claims we have those definitions. I would not want to change their view, I would simply like to know why they believe it is so. The greatest barrier to change is the unwillingness to engage in a conversation with others who have a slightly different perspective.
Donna Anuskiewicz
Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:45am
I agree with your main point; however, as a veteran of many years in the classroom, I'd like you to think about a few things. Teacher evaluations are only as effective as their designs and the administrators implementing them. Administrators have numerous duties, and evaluations must not be so complicated that they interfere with meeting them. Evaluations must be followed by recommendations, for example, professional development, additional university courses. More importantly, evaluations must be made by competent administrators, leaders with vision and the desire to provide a healthy learning culture. You may be surprised at the number of administrators who fail at this. Yes, we must rethink teacher education and training with the goal of obtaining better candidates by requiring higher ACT/SAT scores, higher GPA's for admittance to Ed schools. I'd would like to see education as a professional, post graduate degree. Finally, students must have the vocabulary necessary to become independent readers by the end of grade 3. The reading achievement gap begins when students must read to learn. In the early years of school, they are learning to read, and all the words they must tackle are familiar to most students. That changes at the beginning of grade 4. Some students have to be taught the words that more privileged children hear every day. This can be done through conversations, reading, and other verbal activities. I love this magazine, and I thank you for making it possible. Donna Anuskiewicz
Donna Anuskiewicz
Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:45am
I agree with your main point; however, as a veteran of many years in the classroom, I'd like you to think about a few things. Teacher evaluations are only as effective as their designs and the administrators implementing them. Administrators have numerous duties, and evaluations must not be so complicated that they interfere with meeting them. Evaluations must be followed by recommendations, for example, professional development, additional university courses. More importantly, evaluations must be made by competent administrators, leaders with vision and the desire to provide a healthy learning culture. You may be surprised at the number of administrators who fail at this. Yes, we must rethink teacher education and training with the goal of obtaining better candidates by requiring higher ACT/SAT scores, higher GPA's for admittance to Ed schools. I'd would like to see education as a professional, post graduate degree. Finally, students must have the vocabulary necessary to become independent readers by the end of grade 3. The reading achievement gap begins when students must read to learn. In the early years of school, they are learning to read, and all the words they must tackle are familiar to most students. That changes at the beginning of grade 4. Some students have to be taught the words that more privileged children hear every day. This can be done through conversations, reading, and other verbal activities. I love this magazine, and I thank you for making it possible. Donna Anuskiewicz
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Tue, 02/17/2015 - 2:45pm
Donna Anuskiewicz February 17, 2015 at 11:45 am Donna, thank you for your comments. May I ask you a question? I have proposed here on Bridge that teachers accept a clause in their contracts. I believe it would solve many of the teacher evaluation discussions being raised. Such a clause is called a Liquidated Damages Clause in many of the contracts with the state of Michigan that I have seen. They are quite common in professional level contracts, outside of Education. Suggested clause for a Third-Grade Reading teacher: "I have the knowledge and skills to teach my students to read at a Third-Grade Reading level by the end of the school year. If any can not, I will personally hire a tutor to bring them up to grade level before the beginning of the next school year." Now, let's assume that the Second-Grade Reading teacher has such a clause as well, and the Elementary School Principal has a clause that will allow him to give this teacher only the students he knows she can be successful with and otherwise make this work. And that there are such Tutors that can do their part, if needed. But my expectations are that they would not be needed. Would you object to such a clause? Thanks, Leon
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Fri, 02/20/2015 - 10:31am
Duane February 18, 2015 at 9:15 pm "The fact that those you tested, whether by emotion level or interest level, is an example of how the learning process is driven by the individual." I agree the learning process is driven by the individual. But I have found that others can influence that process in dramatic ways. An Olympian can train on their own and achieve a high level of skill. But that same Olympian when trained by an Olympic Coach can achieve a higher level of skill and I really do not know any one competing at the Olympic level without a coach. I apply this factor, by pairing up two students. I call each pair, twins. The idea is for me to provide a list of demonstrations or actions for these two to do, to learn, together. First, one takes the part of the Coach and one takes the part of Student. The Coach reads the action, and says, "Demo how this idea could be applied to life." Or something similar. The one taking the role of Student then does the action or does the demonstration. When he has done this till he can do it quickly and easily, or as instructed. They turn about. Now the old student becomes the new Coach. The old coach now becomes the new Student. The Coach now asks the Student to do the action or demo, till they can do it quickly and easily. If the Student should say, "I can not", or "I do not know how to do this", the Coach gets him through it till he can. I, as Tutor, may not have much to do with a class of 10 students and coaches working together. The mental and spiritual power of the Coach adds to the power of the Student to achieve a higher level of skill in a shorter time. It is more interesting for the students. Now the Tutor, whether me or someone else, adds an additional level of mental and spiritual power to each set of twins. What they can not handle, the Tutor can. So now we have a group of three adding their influence to the success of a student, adding to his purpose and drive to achieve a higher level of success than an individual, or a set of twins. This is a very powerful thing. So when I saw a mom in a severe depression, that could not extricate herself from her life's problems, I used the power of this Twin system with a Tutor to achieve a higher level dynamic, and a high level success. It may be that I could not have done that alone. I don't believe an Olympic Coach could have accomplished that with a mom, not in Olympic training. "One approach to education will not apply to everyone equally." I understand you believe this. I don't think it has as much value as you give it credit for. Public education tends to teach that everyone learns differently. I don't think that has as much value as they say it does. Newton sort of popularized the use of the Scientific Method. He thought there might be basic laws that people could use, and rely on to hold true. Before his time, in the world of Mechanics or Physics, people felt that each object fell at its own speed. Newton felt that the motion of objects could be predicted, by his F=ma idea. A single principle that has been shown to have few exceptions (in the mind this is not true). In the time of Archimedes, he explained the basic principle of the pulley to his king, King Hiero, I believe. The King was not impressed, this was too incredible to be true, and he felt there was, and could be no such thing, and asked for a demonstration. Archimedes pulled the largest ship in the King's fleet across the harbor single handedly. It usually took all the King's horses and all the King's men to move and handle in this way, his Flagship (rumored to be 400 feet long). The King so valued Archimedes ideas and practical advices that he proclaimed, "Everything Archimedes says shall be believed!" That was the way they handled "science" in 200 BC. Unfortunately, this is the way public eduction does it today. They will come to believe a thing (without a proper demonstration), and by authority, tend to dismiss all other ideas. I think requiring a proper demonstration would be a better solution. From my experience, even when this demonstration is done, authority wins the day anyway. "That is one of the things I have yet to hear addressed in the ‘education’ process." Good luck on that. "In your approach to motivate action did you find those that made the greatest swing form low to high such as the woman that they had a personal reason to strive for the greatest change?" No, I don't think that is true. I think she had long since given up hope for any change. She was quite apathetic about that. I used the Tutor-Coach-Student dynamic above to do that. Now, I have found there is something called a "Basic Purpose." Each person has such a purpose, in their innermost sanctuary, if that is the right word. If the individual were not in a deep apathy about this most vital purpose, what you say would be true. I decided to test this by having a fifth-grader learn what a "Basic Purpose" is. Once she knew what it was, she could work it out on her own, and did locate hers. "Your approach of Observe, Decide, Act seems to be more focused on the individual and personal change." Yes, can you suggest any other system that teaches one to acquire valuable high level skills quickly and easily? "As for those who are driven to instigate other people to actions, it seems that their ‘good intentions’ are not about personal change so it is more difficult to have them put their emotions aside to listen." I'm just guessing, but I think once they have any inclination to make such a personal change, they still might need the combined power of a Twin; or the additional combined power of a Coach and a Tutor. Would care to arrange a demonstration? "With regard what you observed 20 years ago about definitions is still true today. I believe there are several contributors to that, but what I would like to do is have a conversation with some who claims we have those definitions. I would not want to change their view, I would simply like to know why they believe it is so." Me too! "The greatest barrier to change is the unwillingness to engage in a conversation with others who have a slightly different perspective." Within the 10 Standards I have proposed, that is Standard #9. I have a little course to learn it. Actually there are free on-line courses on the web that teach just what you want, if you know how to find them. They say, this (How they resolve it) is the most important idea in all of study. :) That is probably more carefully worded than that, there are a lot of important things to know.
Duane
Sat, 02/21/2015 - 1:05am
Leon, There is no question that others can have an influence, and as we have talked before fiding that point of interest of the student is a very valuable skill of an effective teacher. THe challenge with any of your standards is first getting people to read them, second is to learn them, and third is to risk applying them in the face of 'conventional wisdom.' I am afraid that it takes a severe emotional experience for someone to let go of 'conventional wisdom' and risk it on participating in something different. That is why I keep looking for the least threatening topic or element and one that is the broadest, simply to make that first contact in a conversation.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Sat, 02/21/2015 - 12:39pm
Duane February 21, 2015 at 1:05 am Duane, You said, "That is why I keep looking for the least threatening topic or element and one that is the broadest, simply to make that first contact in a conversation." Okay, where does one go from there? You said, "I am afraid that it takes a severe emotional experience for someone to let go of ‘conventional wisdom’ and risk it on participating in something different." I have found the opposite to be true. I explained this difference to a friend, the man who told me about Raymound Masse's methods and books. I had asked him if he had ever had a course in how to study, and he said, "Yes!" "Seven of them." He described it as you have. I said what I do, and gave some examples. He agreed this is true. What I had found to be true was the opposite. He would arrange a synthetic severe emotional experience (arrange a SEE, per the book.) then impart some knowledge. I was imparting some knowledge that had the power to create a severe emotional experience all by itself. I would say to a depressed person, "Be at the emotional level of Enthusiasm!" They would, and then they would actually be enthusiastic towards life, and no longer depressed. "The challenge with any of your standards is first getting people to read them, second is to learn them, and third is to risk applying them in the face of ‘conventional wisdom.’" My wife and I coached our oldest son to ask himself, "How does this apply to Life?" when he came to a new idea. One day in school, unbeknownst to us, his fourth-grade teacher started to teach him a course called MACOS (Man a Course Of Study). The first time she said that 'Man was an animal', he asked this question. His teacher seemed like she did not know how to handle the situation. She brought him up to the front of the room, turned him around, and said to the whole class, "This young man does not know how this applies to Life. Can anyone tell him?" When my wife found out, she scheduled a meeting with the teacher. The teacher scheduled the Principal and a Psychologist to also attend. My son was transferred to "A History of Mexico" course. Soon that teacher cancelled her course. By the end of the year the school had cancelled all 5 sections of their MACOS course. I think the risk of applying them, my standards, to the "conventional wisdom" is worse than you say. I think any unworkable social convention, or "conventional wisdom" that needs to be improved, is likely to shatter. When I said to a depressed woman to be at the emotional level of Enthusiasm, I felt she knew how to and did just exactly that; heart, body, mind and soul. This happened to about half of all the people I taught this, but with less drama. The real drama was within me. My "conventional wisdom" or social fabric came apart. I stopped the whole program. I had only intended that she simply demonstrate she could use this method of learning a skill. Instead it was like a firestorm in the social fabric had been ignited, but in a good way. I finally decided there was nothing supernatural about it, that this was simply who they were when they were happy. I do not see a risk to the individual, the risk is to the "conventional wisdom."
Duane
Sat, 02/21/2015 - 4:12pm
Leon, Nothing happens without starting the conversation. When the conversation starts then you move to determine what others want as the outcome/results the problem is preventing. That should lead into a process that includes looking for the root causes, addressing the causes, development of metrics for the action plans [for both the implementation and the performance/effectiveness], implementation, verification, etc.. The idea of 'severe emotional experience' is not about what people have to overcome to gain knowledge. It is about their letting go of a core belief such as reliance on 'conventional wisdom' for their thinking You seem to have an overwhelming confidence in method to the point of believing it can overcome almost anything in personal learning. You will intellectually talk about there are other possible ways that may work, but in a stressful situation your answer will be method. You have subconsciously built an intellectual wall around method and you have no reason to climb over it, so the only way to breakdown that wall will be with an emotional 'sledge hammer', a 'severe emotional experience.' The next things is that a 'severe emotional experience' is different for each of us. Many people equate such an experience are a near death experience, it maybe for some, and yet it is not for others [they will believe and do as before even if they intellectually know that nearly caused their death], this is real. The 'experience' is that moment when an individual realizes that what he believed in and who he trusted were wrong and the rules they followed will have to be discarded. Some can have that 'experience' and respond to it immediately while others need time to allow their intellect to wrap around it and begin an subconscious assimilation of it before it changes how they approach things. The 'severe emotional experience' is more describing the breaking down of a long held belief then a physical shock Massey has describe in his tapes. You may not see the risk to the individual because ‘conventional wisdom’ is not an foundation block of your thinking. To a person who has grown to rely on ‘conventional wisdom’ it is a real threat like losing a loved one, losing a core belief, like being rich and then being poor, it is a severe change they have not prepared for. Think of how many people owe their livelihood to ‘conventional wisdom,’ so to risk overturning that ‘wisdom’ is tantamount to risking their careers, the income, their families future. Why shouldn’t we expect that to be a ‘severe emotional experience’? You or I may have to risk our career on our own judgment, but not everyone is so prepared for such situations. Whether it is life threatening, career threatening, or intellectually threatening each can be a ‘severe emotional experience’ that may or may not help us open up to change. Recognizing the risk people must take allows one to become better prepared for dealing with the barriers to change. The more experience you have with change the more likely you are to understand what people have to go through with change. Change is difficult and those changing the most are likely to be the ones that experience and must overcome the greatest emotional barriers.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Sun, 02/22/2015 - 11:09pm
Duane February 21, 2015 at 4:12 pm "Nothing happens without starting the conversation. When the conversation starts then you move to determine what others want as the outcome/results the problem is preventing." I want many things, but let's start with a third-grader that can read his or course materials; quickly, easily, with full understanding and the ability to apply them to anything they wish in life. I want them to have the ability to demonstrate with actual physical objects anything in their K-3 materials, or in my 15 or so little courses on how to learn, and any other imaginative endeavor they may dream up. "That should lead into a process that includes looking for the root causes, addressing the causes, development of metrics for the action plans [for both the implementation and the performance/effectiveness], implementation, verification, etc." I believe any student can learn the root causes, do the proper remedies, and verify they have done so, with existing technology. But I believe this is not the case with the technology available to K-3 students in Michigan. "The idea of ‘severe emotional experience’ is not about what people have to overcome to gain knowledge." I agree this is true. "It is about their letting go of a core belief such as reliance on ‘conventional wisdom’ for their thinking." I have not seen SEEs described or applied in that way. I do not believe it functions in that way, and I do not believe it was intended to. "You seem to have an overwhelming confidence in method to the point of believing it can overcome almost anything in personal learning." This true. This is true since 1970. I have demonstrated that extensively. I have spent 5 years substitute teaching. In my classrooms I was able to do just that. "You will intellectually talk about there are other possible ways that may work, but in a stressful situation your answer will be method." I can see why you might think that, but that is not the case. Example: I wanted to teach myself to breathe from my diaphragm. This is a body function, not an intellectual one. I walked up to five miles a day. I practiced training myself to consciously use my diaphragm. Those things did not work. One day I was pushing myself into a stressful situation, walking very fast where my breathing could not keep up. In this stressful situation, something 'clicked.' My body started breathing from the diaphragm and not the upper lungs like it had before. There is a dramatic difference in lung capacity when one does this. Here is second example, from high school: I was in a Regional's track meet, a mile run. I got tripped up just afte the start of the last of four laps, when I was 14th and nearly the last runner. I did not fall. I got what is called a 'Second Wind.' I began to sprint like I never had. I passed runner after runner, until I was in second place, the front runner went over the finish line. I was 0.04 seconds behind him at that point. This was not an intellectual event. It did begin about 15 years of intellectual searching for what this effect was all about. "You have subconsciously built an intellectual wall around method and you have no reason to climb over it, so the only way to breakdown that wall will be with an emotional ‘sledge hammer’, a ‘severe emotional experience.’" I think you may have lost track of what end result you, or we, were trying to reach with this discussion. What end result are you expecting to reach, Duane? "The next thing is that a ‘severe emotional experience’ is different for each of us. Many people equate such an experience are a near death experience, it maybe for some, and yet it is not for others [they will believe and do as before even if they intellectually know that nearly caused their death], this is real." I understand what you are saying. "The ‘experience’ is that moment when an individual realizes that what he believed in and who he trusted were wrong and the rules they followed will have to be discarded. Some can have that ‘experience’ and respond to it immediately while others need time to allow their intellect to wrap around it and begin an subconscious assimilation of it before it changes how they approach things." I understand your description. You did not say exactly how this came to be. What is the root cause of this phenomenon? "The ‘severe emotional experience’ is more describing the breaking down of a long held belief then a physical shock Massey has describe in his tapes." I understand this explanation. "You may not see the risk to the individual because ‘conventional wisdom’ is not an foundation block of your thinking." This could be true. To a person who has grown to rely on ‘conventional wisdom’ it is a real threat like losing a loved one, losing a core belief, like being rich and then being poor, it is a severe change they have not prepared for. Think of how many people owe their livelihood to ‘conventional wisdom,’ so to risk overturning that ‘wisdom’ is tantamount to risking their careers, the income, their families future. Why shouldn’t we expect that to be a ‘severe emotional experience’? You or I may have to risk our career on our own judgment, but not everyone is so prepared for such situations. Whether it is life threatening, career threatening, or intellectually threatening each can be a ‘severe emotional experience’ that may or may not help us open up to change." I do not understand this as a learning skill an individual might learn, and know and use personally and be comfortable with and be confident with its use. You are describing an emotional impact or shock or threat of such a thing. Or the fear or apprehension of such an event. Yes, I can see they would be afraid or apprehensive, or terrified, have anxiety in that circumstance. They feel their nature is about be violated or challenged strongly by another. You are presenting the case well for not participating in such a severe emotional experience. I had an experience like this. One day a smart student was totally disruptive of a class and would not calm down and do the Lesson Plan the regular teacher had given. So I decided on a course of action that wound up being like you said. But I do not recommend to anyone to do these things. I asked the boy, what he wanted to be doing in 20 years. He said he was going to be a doctor. I said, that is not going to happen! He was clearly shocked, and asked why I thought that. I said, you have not started to do that. You are not doing the things that one does to get there. He did well on the assignment for the say and said at the end of the day. "I got most all of it done, and if I had only started sooner, I could have done all of it all." He had done enough of the assignment to certainly get an A in that class. It was an outlandish assignment to begin with, but he had begun to do the things one does, he showed the diligence one needs to become a doctor. "Recognizing the risk people must take allows one to become better prepared for dealing with the barriers to change. The more experience you have with change the more likely you are to understand what people have to go through with change. Change is difficult and those changing the most are likely to be the ones that experience and must overcome the greatest emotional barriers." Could you give me some examples of how you used these ideas successfully with someone that wanted to learn better?
Duane
Mon, 02/23/2015 - 8:56pm
Leon, “I want many things, but let’s start with a third-grader…” this is a building block, not a foundation block. You first have to have people agree that it is student learning that is the purpose. Otherwise the conversation will deteriorate into means and methods and nothing changes. We will be right back to ‘education’ system not the student. I do know of a couple of exception to you view on reading in 3rd grade, they were very poor reads [still are] and yet were able with persistence to their version of success (academic and financial). “I believe any student can learn the root causes, do the proper remedies, and verify they have done so, with existing technology.” I disagree, I have had the opportunity to be involve in some investigation and the temptation without discipline is to accept the obvious or the conventional cause ending the investigation into the root cases. And these involved experienced people. “I have not seen SEEs described or applied in that way. I do not believe it functions in that way, and I do not believe it was intended to.” That sounds like you have built a ‘wall’ based on past experience [your ‘conventional’ wisdom]. “This is true since 1970.” The reality is that methods are very susceptible to migration with time and people. A simple example is the method of teach to read, how often is there ‘hot’ new method people are seeking money for. Without the principle of learning rather than teaching the new method will win out, as history shows. “…breathe from my diaphragm…”that is a behavior not a method, how you changed you behavior is a method. “I think you may have lost track of what end result you…” that is quite possible. I wonder how many times when speaking about education you have talked about principles and discussed then versus successful methods. I is 1 to 4, 1to 10? I am not sure we have had a conversation about an overriding principle, it seems you raise the examples of your methods that work.. I see principles more valuable as they are what you build and change a culture with. “What is the root cause of this phenomenon?” There is no single root cause as each person is different, I have seen where a person opened a wrong valve in a process and released some chemicals, as I recall it at least 20 minutes of his saying (believing) how stupid he was and not being about to look beyond that. During those 20 minutes he was repeatedly tool, fault was not the issue what set the ‘trap’ was and until he let go of his feeling of fault nothing was being learned. When he let go he and others were able to learn more about the actual actions, why and how those actions were made, and when the system was in such a layout. He had to let go of what he saw as personal responsibility by everyone for their actions, we did not end that but when he broke down that ‘wall’ then what needed (root cause) to be change was found so it would not happen again. “I do not understand this as a learning skill an individual might learn” It is about learning how to open up to change, to new approaches, to what is different. One of our daughters had an atrocious chemistry teacher (did not have a clue about what she was teaching), so every night after review her homework I would explain and demonstrate what was actually happening with the problems, and regularly in the new day or two the teacher would make the correction and it would reflect what we had talked about. The ‘wall’ my daughter had built was trust in the school and the teachers they provide, so she resisted for many lessons our sessions. There was a moment what she learned not to have blind faith in others, learn to trust yourself and be willing to question, even teachers. It took the school 3 years to terminate that teacher, the school resist parents and exerted their authority. “Could you give me some examples of how you used these ideas successfully with someone that wanted to learn better?” The setting was the mid to late 70s, none of the operating techs had seen a computer let alone worked with one, they were of a culture when they learned how to take equipment apart, fix it, and return it to service. They were confronted with their processes being changed to be controlled by computers. If they couldn’t learn they would lose the operating jobs. They had built that ‘wall’ around having to ‘know how each part worked.’ They wanted to learn, they had a strong motivator, and yet they had no confidence they could learn. This was even more apparent in the over 45 guys. Recognizing the fears, they were real and often voiced, understanding the what they had to change and that they had to learn how to learn as the process control programs were not static. In the case of a team that was drawn from similar products but different technology, the plan was to get them to understand the new technology so they could write the operating procedures, this allowed them to break down their ‘walls’, new was to stop any interest in learning how the computers worked, then was to begin teaching them the computer language (this was truly a foreign language to each of them), since they would have to take control of the program during process upsets they had to learn what how the controllers worked (integral and differential calculus (very small bites), and to do this they had to have a path that they could grade themselves on (others could tell them how well they doing) that had to see the progress to believe it. It was a step progress so they could relate to why it seemed they weren’t learning and then they did learn. The best way to recognize how they had changed, releasing their old belief in knowing everything, to knowing how to control everything and looking for new ways to apply what they had learn. The best, measure of the success what different guys who had spent 10, 20, 25 years’ operating would say ‘for the first time they felt they were control the process rather then it controlling them.’ For each of those guys who had never had to face change, who had to take control and be part of change, this was a ‘severe emotional experience’. They were venturing into the world of the unknown and when no one else they knew had been. There were those who did have near emotional mettle downs, and there were near severe events. But in the end, each group I was exposed to were successful. I am not sure I address all of you comments and question so if I missed some let me which and I will try to effectively address them.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Tue, 02/24/2015 - 8:30pm
Duane February 23, 2015 at 8:56 pm You wrote, [I said, “I want many things, but let’s start with a third-grader…” You said, "this is a building block, not a foundation block. You first have to have people agree that it is student learning that is the purpose. Otherwise the conversation will deteriorate into means and methods and nothing changes. We will be right back to ‘education’ system not the student."] I disagree "this is a building block, not a foundation block." and that you used this statement to dismiss a point you seemed to have failed to appreciate. What I said represents an example of what a student can achieve by learning. It represents first a student learning, the action of that, resulting in specific things. But "learning" is not the purpose, the objective one is trying to achieve. I said a definite objective with a definite quality level, or ideal state I want students to achieve. You said a generality, any sort of action being done with no objective or definable quality level either in action or result. I disagree that "student learning" is even a purpose at all. Since you have stated a generality with no objective or or specific quality as the result, the remainder of what you said applies exactly to what you said.
Duane
Tue, 02/24/2015 - 10:15pm
Leon, The third grade example was not a dismissing of anything, it was placing it in the order of my approach. I will simply saying that if the issue idea of student learning has not been accepted then the discussion is about techniques/methods. In another comment you mentioned a girl that was being bullied, that to me is a learning issue (a person has to have a secure place to learn otherwise they will not learn. That girl need to know the importance of the secure laerning environment that she would have the system to take control and go to the teacher to have the security restored, rather then lack the trust that the educational system would say something and nothing would change. A foundation block is about what creates the culture and the ability of those in the culture to invoke action supported by the culture. It seems currently that the culture is about the system and not the learning, then the people (students included) are driven by the system and the agent of the system. What do you think drives the culture and why? I agree that what you talked about what a student can achieve, but is that because they are responding to the particular method or because they have the desire to learn? Why do you believe your example worked, what do you believe it had to overcome? Why don't the overwhelming number of students learn? Today I think indivdual student success is driven by the individual student and the individual teacher not the system because the current emphasis is on delivery not on reception, the schools deliver but the student don't receive. Until the culture is about who and how they are receiving then methods will come and go but learning will not change. I totally agree about the importance of reading in third grade or earlier, without culture the learning will be spotty. Our difference appears to be your emphasis on the individual and I emphasize the culture giving the individual the what they need or the ability to invoke the system on their behalf.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Wed, 02/25/2015 - 9:14am
Duane February 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm Duane, we do have very different approaches. At least it seems that way at this point. We are talking about how we start, so our assumptions or our preconceptions, our previous definitions are what one has when they 'start' an activity. A philosopher [Voltaire, said "let us define our terms", then argue. Or something like that.] We have each said what we want. I have assumed we are at the very least talking about one human being. Let us assume that this person is to be tested by someone for third grade level proficiency in Reading. This could be a NAEP test. It could be a state MEAP test. It could be a test a teacher devises. It could be a measure a parent uses to observe whether they feel their child is progressing as expected, has learned to Read. I definitely have a different expectation from the State of Michigan as regards what is expected of a student as regards Reading. They have defined "Reading" as 'constructing meaning.' National associations, such as the NAEP people use a similar understanding. I understand local teachers have been trained in helping students 'construct meaning' when they are spending time teaching Reading. I differ when I assess the expectations from the point of view of Industry. Industry expects a person to apply what they have learned to what they are doing with read things. This is at the level of 'action' using actual things, rather than 'meaning' only in the abstract, or without actual things, or the actual reality of things. Industry expect results, and Life demands it. They expect a person to be able to communicate with their people to accomplish useful work, quickly and easily. They expect a person to have the ability to produce certain goods and services, their job, that they can then coordinate with others to produce the goods and services they add to our economy. Their measure is whether the person can do their work well, can do their work quickly and easily. So I have tried to include, and tried to very carefully distinguish what Industry and Life requires in my statements. This is often a stark contrast to what education seems to do. So when I said what I want, I was saying something quite distinct from what a K-3 teacher might have in mind. I have added the necessities of life, of industry and my personal desires. The teacher may express 'proficiency' in terms of construction of meaning with their test. I am saying I have my own test. I will hand the student actual objects, either the actual objects, or at least something that has a physical reality with mass, separate from the mind, instead of only the abstract. I will ask him to actually demonstrate, show with real objects and actions, with real life situations, what he has learned and then I will compare that to what the teacher says, what the MEAP says, what the NAEP says. I will have him demonstrate his abilities in a way that is very similar to the way he would use it in life. I feel this is the best test. They will test his ability to construct the abstract meanings without reality, they believe he should be able to construct at that age and then they will compare that to other students only, not to industry needs or life's necessities. You said, "The third grade example was not a dismissing of anything, it was placing it in the order of my approach." Alright. "I will [was] simply saying that if the issue [the] idea of student learning has not been accepted..." I think we can agree we are talking about people and their needs and wants, 'students learning' if you wish. "...then the discussion is about techniques/methods [only]." I understand we are talking about what industry needs and wants, what I want, what you want, what parents want and what students want. These are not 'techniques and methods'. I do not see the value of making this statement, or why it is a starting point. "In another comment you mentioned a girl that was being bullied, that to me is a learning issue (a person has to have a secure place to learn otherwise they will not learn. That girl need(s) to know the importance of the secure learning environment that she would have the system to take control and go to the teacher to have the security restored, rather then lack the trust that the educational system would say something and nothing would change. A foundation block is about what creates the culture and the ability of those in the culture to invoke action supported by the culture." This is an example from Traverse City West Middle School. The girl was in a state. When I asked the school counselor for assistance, during second hour, she made it into sort of a joke. I was teaching six classes and there were seven periods in the day, so I had the last period free. The counselor, said 'I have someone available that can help this child in seventh hour.' At seventh hour, I was basically in an empty study hall. The counselor brought the child to me and said for me to help her. I took that as a sort of joke. I had asked the school culture to do their thing, and outlined what the situation was, and they abandoned her to me to provide any help as I saw fit. They probably meant to sort of throw it in my face, but I am actually very good at handling children such as this. I did. They did not. They were not a resource for this girl, and to my knowledge they were doing nothing effective to help this girl in the ways you describe. "It seems currently that the culture is about the system and not the learning, then the people (students included) are driven by the system and the agent of the system." I can understand why you might feel that way. "What do you think drives the culture and why?" I think people have it within themselves to observe and make decisions quite freely and independently from others. They are individually fully responsible. They are Self-determined. When another person imposes their ambitions, or their decisions, and denies our ambitions, our decisions, we may call such a person a tyrant. That was decided long ago. America wanted a system that did not allow tyrants and provided solid protections against them and their influences. Our Constitution says, the Preamble to the Constitution says, "We the people... and then it goes on to say what they, those individuals chose. First some reasons are postulated, such as 'in order to form a more perfect union...' and then it says 'we do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.' At least according to this document those people did freely and individually choose, and in reality I think we have also chosen, in this way. That was a good idea, those were good choices, I think. However, the choices we made that resulted in the culture, the system and the agent you describe, I think, "Not so much!" Those were not such good choices. Now when someone else has decided the same thing as us or does decide the same thing as us, we think of that as an agreement or that 'we agree.' So some of these decisions are when 'we agree.' We didn't have to, but we did, good or bad. We did not disagree. That was 1787. Back in 340 BC Aristotle postulated, or decided about, or named the life unit that makes these decisions and establishes these agreements. He called it a psyche. I simply call this, a person. He dreamed up a subject to explain his thoughts, observations and conclusions on the subject. He call that subject, Psychology. Along about 1879 a tyrant in Germany, named Otto von Bismark, funded a man call Wilhelm Wundt at the Universtity of Liebzig, in Liebzig Germany. He was hired to change things up a bit. He declared that 'a person' or the 'psyche' of Aristotle, was old fashioned. And with his extensive training in physiology, his observations of the body, and his study of the body and his experiences, he declared with full and very ample funding and advices from Bismark, that the body was the thing, everything, not the psyche of Aristotle, not the person as an individual unique something. The psyche of Aristotle was dead, or did not exist, according to Wundt. So Wundt then had to redefine the word, 'Psychology' from a spiritual subject with spirits and souls, to a subject that dealt only with the body. Now the brain was to be the seat of intelligence and the organ that made all the decisions (for the person.) In America, in 1890 a tyrant, by the name of John D. Rockefeller bought the more or less non-functional University of Chicago. Two years late he hired John Dewey to take the place of well funded Wundt in American education. John Dewey became the well funded 'leading light' of education in America. In 1906 alone Rockefeller gave $42,000,000 dollars directly to American teachers. Dewey's ideas were very well funded in just the right places to make an 'American system of Education.' In 1902 Rockefeller established a General Education Board and had it approved by Congress and the President. John Dewey was ordained and established to do what an American tyrant wanted. Not what people wanted. The system you have is the system Rockefeller wanted. The NEA supports his advices. In Russia Vygotsky was well funded by Stalin. The education principles Vygotsky writes about are the Marxist ideas Stalin idealized and funded and wanted him to write about. When these were added into the American system of education in the 1990's, they are a part of the system you are seeing. These are the methods used to get people to accept the wishes of tyrants. They are not supportive of our Constitution. You said, "I agree that what you talked about, what a student can achieve, but is that because they are responding to the particular method or because they have the desire to learn?" The ability to observe and decide are inherent. I do not teach that. Their desire to learn, I believe is inherent as well and I do not teach that, but the desire to learn gets turned off by errors. It gets turned off by trying to teach the child to turn over his ability to observe and make intelligent decisions, to a system of agreements that do not honor his or her natural abilities. They favor those things that make one susceptible to the wishes of tyrants. Such errors are errors in the system. "Why do you believe your example worked, what do you believe it had to overcome?" Let me refresh the example: I want many things, but let’s start with a third-grader that can read his or course materials; quickly, easily, with full understanding and the ability to apply them to anything they wish in life. I want them to have the ability to demonstrate with actual physical objects anything in their K-3 materials, or in my 15 or so little courses on how to learn, and any other imaginative endeavor they may dream up. This example compares to students that did not pass the NAEP and achieve proficiency in Reading at third-grade level. It also compares to students who did pass. It has a whole different emphasis and much higher expectation. If a person can read, then they should be able to do. The system you describe does not honor the person as an individual. So in my example one does this. One has to understand and apply. In that system one guesses, context clues. In my system, one looks up words in the Dictionary, finds the right definition and learns that until he can make it his own. Then he learns the other common meanings he may encounter in life, and makes them his own. He learns where the word came from and its uses, and any idioms related to the word. So when he reads this word he knows several correct definitions and can select the exact correct one. He fully understands, rather than guessing. So the first thing to overcome is word guessing, or words the student does not understand. The student must learn to use Dictionaries and other resources. Selecting a correct definition when one knows ten perfectly is easy. But coming across a word that meant one thing when read yesterday and means another thing today when used in a new way, may be confusing to the person that guessed yesterday. It is not confusing to the student that defined the word properly with a good dictionary. Next I ask the student to work out things by demonstrating them with actual objects. This is much tougher and achieves a far higher standard than 'constructing meaning' only. So the student had to overcome a lack of high expectation when he was tested with a multiple choice test on a Reading test. Or when he was taught to guess or use 'context clues' and not use a Dictionary properly. I have 10 standards. Each of my standards apply to each thing a child learns. So, I do not mean to leave out the other 9 when I just talk about understanding the words or demonstrating them. All 10 have been left out, ignored and not used. "Why don’t the overwhelming number of students learn?" Many students are told this is because they do not know how to study and then they are never taught how to study in such a way that answers the question. I think that is a lie. In the simplest of terms, they went past a word they did not understand and then they went on. This installs the inability to learn that subject. Here is an example that shows how this is true. A student is reading and stumbles. He is obviously, to me, not learning. So I ask what word is there that he does not understand. We find the word, and he defines it. I then have him reread that part and I verify he can now read it quickly and easily with full understanding. If he can not do this, then we go back and find an earlier word in that subject until he can read the material with full understanding, quickly and easily. The solution is always a word or symbol. So, the overwhelming number of students don't learn because they went past a word they did not understand. Or, I could say they did not have the study skill of being able to detect this error for themselves, stop and look it up in a Dictionary properly. They don't know it nothing more than a word they do not know. But the context is that they don't know how to use Dictionaries, they do not recognize they do not understand, and they do not know the symptoms one has when they do understand and when they do not understand. So as a Tutor they do not have to have the study skills to solve this, for that one task. They have to rely on the Tutor having such skills. So I have added to what is expected of a Tutor. He has to relay these skills to the student, so the Tutor is never needed. "Today I think indivdual student success is driven by the individual student and the individual teacher not the system because the current emphasis is on delivery not on reception, the schools deliver but the student(s) don’t receive. Until the culture is about who and how they are receiving then methods will come and go but learning will not change. I totally agree about the importance of reading in third grade or earlier, without culture the learning will be spotty." I don't see the value of the culture you see. I agree about student success is driven by the individual. When you say 'and the individual teacher', I think that is stretching a little. A student can learn without a teacher. My brother-in-law said in teacher training, he was taught that no one on the planet learns anything without a teacher. I think that is lie. That being said, a student can learn from a teacher. The system is as I said. It is a set of agreements with a purpose that is rarely stated, as I have. "Our difference appears to be your emphasis on the individual and I emphasize the culture giving the individual what they need or the ability to invoke the system on their behalf." Yes, I think that is true. A lot of time is spent on teacher training and training the culture, but the students still fail enormously. I think 25 to 40 hours of training for the student, to learn what he needs to know, would make the student succeed.
Duane
Wed, 02/25/2015 - 5:43pm
Leon, You talk about testing, I wonder what the purpose of the test is. Is it to demonstrate effectiveness of the methods or is to understand the learning level of student? Currently it seems to be the former, and if that is the case I am discourage because it appears the student is only a tool for the system and not the purpose of the system. Expectations are a function of the culture, not the method. Methods are the techniques used to facilitate what the culture deems to value. "The ability to observe and decide are inherent. " Here is another point of disagreement, a child has only one inherent trait [how to manipulate their parents or their environment] all else is learned, much by observation. "I don’t see the value of the culture you see." In a more than a few and even a rather severe environment, I have seen how the individual can be overwhelmed or succeed due to culture. That is why I place so much emphasis on culture. I see methods as a subset of a system, and system as a subset of culture. You seem to see methods as the set. Where the culture values the individual, emphasizes the individual's roles/responsibilities/authority, the individual will grow. Where the culture is about the system/procedure/authority, the individual will disappear. Have you ever known a teacher that repeatedly did 'battle' with the system for their students that would be a test of culture? Did those students do better than most others where there was no such 'battle'? Think of the American culture and its emphasis on the individual, that is why I believe on a per capita basis we are more innovative and creative than the rest of the world. Culture creates and supports expectations. You have talked about how your methods change performance, is that solely because of the methods or does it have to do the expectations of the presenter and the support that is given. In that setting where your methods are being presented the presenter is creating the culture, when that student leaves that setting what culture will they have to function in? Will it be different and will the learning success the student achieved be reinforced or supplanted by another? I did not learn how people learn until I receive training from an employer, it was with that lesson I understood why I had struggled so much and had been unsuccessful. It wasn’t that I didn't know a word, it was I didn't see the barriers I and others had created to my learning. I was told what to do but I was never told what my role was. I would offer that there are many students who learn in spite of the teacher, not just in K-12, but an effective teacher can have a very positive impact. I don't doubt there is a lot of effort place on training culture, it may be better spent on a learning culture. My limited exposure has been with adults, many who have been set in their ways, and yet they were able to learn when the environment was about learning and not about teaching. The driver was the individual application of the knowledge and skills, all efforts [culture] were to that end, not efforts to the system, not to the repetition of the methods. As always I appreciate our conversations because it causes me to think and forces me to articulate what I think. In this case we understand each other’s perspective, and I fully appreciate how your methods are effective. I have built a 'wall' [only three blocks high] on my idea of culture. I have built understanding from watching it work [in different settings], in applying in a few situations, I have periodically challenged it, so for me to step over that 'wall' I will need conversations about where methods have driven culture, where I have overlooked elements/factors that culture did not have an impact, and other approaches that I have not consider.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Thu, 02/26/2015 - 1:15pm
Duane February 25, 2015 at 5:43 pm "You talk about testing, I wonder what the purpose of the test is. Is it to demonstrate effectiveness of the methods or is (it) to understand the learning level of student? Currently it seems to be the former, and if that is the case I am discourage because it appears the student is only a tool for the system and not the purpose of the system." When I talked about my "test", so far, I talked about 'demonstration' or demos. Demos have several purposes. None of them are intended "to demonstrate the effectiveness of the methods." Which you said discouraged you. Let me discuss some of the purposes: 1. The student may wish to test himself. This is a self-test. This is very important, and to my knowledge there is no equivalent in public education. The student uses the actual materials of the subject, or little bits of things. The intent is for the student to acquire additional certainty that he can apply this to what he wishes. So he chooses when he does this test. In one of my little courses the student might be asked to demo how another might use the idea. So the student with any idea he chooses, might do a demo from that viewpoint. One viewpoint I use is 'The solver of all problems.' The student might want to demo the concept of 'ability.' So, he could choose to demo how 'a solver of all problems' could use this idea of 'ability' to solve any problem. 2. Another, say an employer, may wish to see if the student, no employee or applicant can apply an idea to a situation they have in mind. One of my employers asked, what are the three methods of measuring torque in a bolt? With demos instead of a verbal question and answer, the employer might say, 'Demo each of the three methods of measuring torque in a bolt and show how each is important. So this purpose for demonstration introduces the idea of additional points of view on how to apply an idea. 3. When a student has read something, he may not feel he knows it well enough to apply it. So he would start to demo it, and may realize he can not do one part of it. He might restudy that part, or he might just 'work it out' by demoing it in various ways, how it could be a certain way, and how it could not be a certain other way. He may work out various ways it can be used. He may demo many ways to use the concept till he can do all of it smoothly, quickly and easily, and naturally. I'm not saying this idea is new, people practice their art all the time. But as a study skill this is a reason to learn about demos. It may be that there is as much to learn by applying things, as there was to learn the theory part only. With demoing he can double how much he takes away from a study of something. 4. A student may do the demos a number of times to achieve perfection. To make it his own. To become very fast. To integrate his understanding of this idea in the context of all the other ideas has has learned. He can work out how this idea is important or unimportant, and how its importance relates to other ideas. He can compare ideas in this way. He can increase his understanding of something by making the demos better, or higher quality. 5. There are actual physical symptoms, physical sensations, one can get, one does get, when he studies things that have a lot of mass, without the mass. If he is reading about ships and containers, and cranes and inventories, or anything with lots of mass to it, he can get sensations like; feeling heavy, his head droops, he puts his head down. He can feel squashed, he can feel bent and start twisting around to ease the discomfort. He can feel sick, and get sick. When in third-grade, I threw up on a book. Any of these sensations would make a person that knows how to use demos to have a little bell go off in their heads. They would feel the urge to demo it. They might go find the actual things and work it out. They might make a clay demonstration of it. They might just use any small things that are handy. They might just draw it on paper, or a computer. The result would be that they get brighter an happier very quickly. They were no longer feeling sick. Not stooped over. No longer feeling heavy. None of these sensations. He can feel comfortable. So this is a specific, very quick to apply remedy for these sensations. Continuing on, you said, "Expectations are a function of the culture, not the method. Methods are the techniques used to facilitate what the culture deems to value." Okay. The student can have expectations all by their lonesome. A Coach can have expectations for a student they are working with. A Tutor can have expectations for students on specific things students are doing. When a Coach expects the student to do something a student can not conceive of doing, or doing that well, we move over into the question of 'method.' If we are requiring a method where a Student works with a Coach. We have brought all of the powers of the second person to the learning situation as well. One Student and one Coach will be greater than two Students, each working alone. One plus one will be greater than two, so to speak. Now you might consider this as culture. But I require it as part of the method, and I reap the benefits of the cultural part, I suppose. Then I also add to that the powers, the expectations, the dynamics of the Tutor. One plus one, plus one is greater than three, in this situation. The coach can be responsible for the student. So as the coach, the person learns responsibility for another. As tutor they learn a higher level of responsibility for others. [“The ability to observe and decide are inherent. ” Here is another point of disagreement, a child has only one inherent trait [how to manipulate their parents or their environment] all else is learned, much by observation.] Yes, we seem to disagree here. A child even before he is born can feel pressure and be uncomfortable. He perceives this. He can observe this. You say a child, learns much by observation. I agree. But you say it is a point of disagreement. How can this be? A baby can see the light and react if it is too bright, or otherwise. He is observing things. He can hear things, and be soothed, or agitated, or startled. He is observing these things, so it is inherent. You, and no one else, taught him to feel pressure. To observe pressure. To observe light. To observe sound. To smell roses. To taste sweet things, or sour things. He observes these things. He can remember where things go or where things are, so he had to be able to observe locations. He recalls what he observed. He can observe the sun come up in the morning. He can see it high. He can get hungry. He is observing his state of hunger or a hungry feeling. I think this is the other way around from what you said. He can observe and know. He can know if he has observed something before, and recall a specific thing. He can observe how his body moves, and know how it moves. He can look at his fingers moving, and move them as he wishes. When you said, "a child has only one inherent trait." That is not true. [“I don’t see the value of the culture you see.” In a more than a few and even a rather severe environment, I have seen how the individual can be overwhelmed or succeed due to culture.] Alright,I can see how that could happen, but I do not disagree that is a basic study skill one might learn to do what he wants. There is probably a lot more I could know about this, but I do not see it as a part of what I am about. [That is why I place so much emphasis on culture.] I should probably say, that I when I started this effort, I asked myself, "As a Professional Engineer, how would I do it?" I had in mind that whatever I did would take 25 hours, like when my son was tutored and solved his Reading problem. He was tutored for 25 hours, and that increased his Reading level by two years for each calendar year without assistance from others. I wanted to be able give students the study skills to do that for all subjects, in 25 hours. So Iooked to my experiences and how I would do it. It never occurred to me to view 'culture' in this way. I have experienced many, many cultures, possibly as many as you, but I never considered that was something I could use for this effort, beyond what I have said. That said, I have been adding lots of things, and tossing lots of things, as I work through this. Educate me. You said, "I see methods as a subset of a system, and system as a subset of culture. You seem to see methods as the set." I understand the word 'culture' means; The beliefs, customs, practices and social behavior of a particular nation or people. I guess that could include the methods...system...culture idea, hierarchy or outline you are discussing. I just do not understand how that would work. It seems you are going from complex ideas towards basic ideas, but never arriving. I had to ask myself, What can I do first, that does not depend on anything else, that a person can actually learn. Then I build on each step from there; Step by Step. I start with ability, defined as; observe, decide, act. Now this works for me and it works of kids and parents. Teachers and school boards..., and I guess you, not so much. We have to start somewhere. Observe and decide are things I believe I do not have to teach, they are inherent. The Declaration of Independence discusses these things. Life, Libery, The Pursuit of Happiness, and no Tyrants. Now when I have students do just these things, that seems to work. I think you are accusing me of generalizing "methods" to systems and culture, or ignoring them, or not appreciating their value. Or possibly not allowing such things to be first. I just leave all that for after the first 25 hours. They have the rest of their lives, all of the public education to learn those things. "Where the culture values the individual, emphasizes the individual’s roles/responsibilities/authority, the individual will grow." I said the individual has the inherent ability to observe and decide. I could add to what you say a culture values in the individual by adding these things. If you leave them out then I have to say you are not valuing the child's inherent nature, you are valuing your preconceptions of the 'role/responsibilities/authority' you see or want to encourage. I think you have left out...the person, his freedom, his pursuit of happiness, his Life, his Liberty. You are being the tyrant in his life. Is this too harsh? "Where the culture is about the system/procedure/authority, the individual will disappear." I agree. "Have you ever known a teacher that repeatedly did ‘battle’ with the system for their students that would be a test of culture? Did those students do better than most others where there was no such ‘battle’?" You need some examples here to show more precisely what you are talking about. "Think of the American culture and its emphasis on the individual, that is why I believe on a per capita basis we are more innovative and creative than the rest of the world." I don't think that is true anymore. Our innovative defense systems are being made by others, like Israel. That is the whole point of DARPA's robotics initiative in over a 1000 American high-schools and $10 million dollars (2010). It is trying to revitalize just what you are saying, but DARPA is saying it is now lost, has to be revitalized. Poland makes our machine tools. China makes our steel and consumer goods. Japan is the high-tech go to...country. "Culture creates and supports expectations. You have talked about how your methods change performance, is that solely because of the methods or does it have to do the expectations of the presenter and the support that is given." You are probably right about the presenter. But you are discounting the power of a student that has completed 25 hours learning the basic ideas of how to study and not fail. You make a very wide generalization when you lump all of the technology, the knowledge, the concepts, the know-how, and the gains available to a child, and the errors corrected in the student, into a cute little ball called, 'methods.' "In that setting where your methods are being presented the presenter is creating the culture, when that student leaves that setting what culture will they have to function in?" Any culture they choose. A job. A business. School. College. A profession. They are free. As free as I know how to make them in 25 hours of tutoring. In the sense you are using 'culture', that would apply to any activity, sports, shop, home economics, kids they pal around with, all of it. What I hope they would take away, is an absence of inability. Any subject they were slow in corrected. Feeling confident they can study anything and succeed. I would expect they will have some exposure to many kinds of work activities, such as the ones I have contracted with them to do. My kids were like that. They tended to create their own culture around them as they go along. "Will it be different and will the learning success the student achieved be reinforced or supplanted by another?" I don't think their success or failure would be based on a fixed pattern. I think they would know a positive culture that helps people survive better, and negative cultures that nullify or supplant what they want to do. "I did not learn how people learn until I receive training from an employer, it was with that lesson I understood why I had struggled so much and had been unsuccessful. It wasn’t that I didn’t know a word, it was I didn’t see the barriers I and others had created to my learning. I was told what to do but I was never told what my role was." It sounds like you learned a valuable lesson. I'm sorry you can not get the idea of how a misunderstood word in a subject can cause the inability to learn that subject. You are talking about learning. I am talking the person that can not learn. How do we fix that? How does he learn, how to learn, in a way that he avoids all barriers that prevent him from being able to learn. How does he learn to apply? How does he become the solver of all problems? How would the lesson you have learned apply to increasing a person's freedom, his liberty, his imagination, his ability to innovate, his ability to improve his attention, his ability to sort out false data he has already accepted as fact. How would you sort out something that was false, that you had accepted as true and were certain was unshakable? If there is a sea of information, how would you sort out which were important and which were unimportant? "I would offer that there are many students who learn in spite of the teacher, not just in K-12, but an effective teacher can have a very positive impact." I agree. So what is DARPA (the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) talking about when they say America has lost a national resource and needs to get it back? They say, they have to buy the most innovative portions of weapons systems from other countries. Why is this Duane? Why do the NAEP people say 50% of American students drop out of Math each year, and only 5% are at grade level when they graduate? "I don’t doubt there is a lot of effort place on training culture, it may be better spent on a learning culture. My limited exposure has been with adults, many who have been set in their ways, and yet they were able to learn when the environment was about learning and not about teaching. The driver was the individual application of the knowledge and skills, all efforts [culture] were to that end, not efforts to the system, not to the repetition of the methods." Again, you learned a lesson, what if you could not learn? You are talking about those who can learn, not about those that can not. You are saying when it was about learning, they could learn. You are saying they could not learn because it was about teaching and methods and repetition of methods (that did not work.) When they used methods that emphasized learning and knowledge they succeeded. Was their emphasis on learning and knowledge not a 'method'? "As always I appreciate our conversations because it causes me to think and forces me to articulate what I think. In this case we understand each other’s perspective, and I fully appreciate how your methods are effective. I have built a ‘wall’ [only three blocks high] on my idea of culture. I have built understanding from watching it work [in different settings], in applying in a few situations, I have periodically challenged it, so for me to step over that ‘wall’ I will need conversations about where methods have driven culture, where I have overlooked elements/factors that culture did not have an impact, and other approaches that I have not consider." I understand. That being said, here is a thought. Stalin, a tyrant hires and liberally funds a man by the name of Vygotsky, that exactly understands Marxism, in the way that Stalin wants. (See the 1684 Vygotsky books on Amazon.com) Vygotsky says, one learns by 'culture.' He calls his idea mediated stimulus response. As a brief model of this we could draw these letters on a piece of paper: S - M - R That stands for, says S for Stimulus, M for culture (media) in this case, and R for Response. This is a method of teaching Marxism using a certain brand of stimulus-response technology. Teaching a student to receive some information (no matter how crazy) have it mediated (agreed upon, accepted) by a culture, and then the expected response is R, the information is absorbed into that culture, into the mind of that culture. In this method we bypass individual freedom, observation and decisions, and make things only about the state Stalin envisions, the culture, the teaching, about what Stalin wants people to think. It is about installing insane information into a society, into a culture in a sly way to make the society insane. It destroys freedom, initiative, creativity, intelligence, personal liberty, individual pursuit of happiness, persistence, work ethic, motivation, and responsibility. (a national resource) It brings about compliance, obedience, scarcity, illiteracy, lack of creativity, unhappiness and slavery (and Death). It may be that the things you said about 'culture' have nothing to do with what Stalin wanted in the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's in Russia and for the world. Then again, there might be some similarities.
Duane
Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:53am
Leon, My question was about MEAP testing, what is its function/purpose? If it is used to rate schools and teacher then it seems it is about the system and not the student. testing has additional values such as, communicates value and focuses efforts/resources, establishes a reference point for student/teacher to prevent topic drift, it establishes expectations. "One Student and one Coach will be greater … " Why? It seems possible that two or three or more students can benefit from the actions and reactions, questions and answers, of other students even better than to the Coach? Each brings a dynamic to the situation that is a compilation of much outside the setting, such as culture. For method to be a foundation it would have to subjugate culture. If the culture didn't establish a value of teaching then why would they be together? "He is observing these things, so it is inherent." Reacting is different than observing, planning, acting. A baby feels discomfort that baby recoils, doesn't recognize the source of the discomfort, doesn’t discern the nature of the discomfort, doesn’t plan how to prevent exposure, and doesn’t take action to reduce risk. "He can remember where things go..." If it were instinctive why wouldn’t the baby retain that information after a single experience rather than after repeated try’s? If it were instinctive, why would the baby need an initial exposure? "I do not see it as a part of what I am about." We aren't discussing about you or me, we are talking about an intellectual view of what influences students/teacher, learning/education. If we only use ourselves as reference we risk missing what others would value. "I asked myself, “As a Professional Engineer, how would I do it?” " And I ask myself what are the issues others will have to address with the problem. I would seem every PE would approach the same problem differently, all have demonstrated a competency in the core engineering, but each has a specialty. To watch a mechanical engineer approach a problem, will be different then an electrical, then a metallurgical, then a research, then a manufacturing, a design, etc. If the problem needs to be address by individuals from different backgrounds then, I would look for their comment elements to address and then seek the individual issues and tried to address the important ones. As I mentioned before the issue was to learn computer interface, but the greatest barrier was local culture. The technical seemed easy once the culture barrier was identified and addressed. "I did would take 25 hours" I must apologize that is one of those 'hot buttons' for me. I have heard and seen how a fixed number of hours become restrictive and counterproductive. OSHA/EPA include fixed hours in regulations so everyone must be in the classroom for that many hours creating a false sense of what is importance and discouraging value and learning. "Educate me." I am not sure what you are asking for, are you wanting examples where culture has been a barrier, where culture has been a driver, how culture can be used (has been used), how culture has to change to change results? Help me frame it and what type of environments, do you want an extreme risk, a creative, one that drives individuals to act versus a government environment that discourage individuals to act? "I just do not understand how that would work." A simple example of workplace learning, the culture expects individual initiative in severe situations, to achieve that it requires management to transfer authority to the operation technicians, it requires that the individual be confident that they can take such action, the culture drives the training to knowledge and skills demonstration in severe scenarios, and management being held accountable for the performance (transfer of authority) of technicians. Think of the auto companies culture in the 60s & 70s would that have been possible. "complex ideas towards basic ideas, but never arriving." The ideas aren’t complex they are the recognition of what will influence the likelihood of success. The only time the idea can be applied is when an actual problem is being addressed. The 'education system' culture is about information delivery, what first needs to be decided is what are the desired results, better learning or better delivery. Once the desired results are established then the process begins on creating the ideas. The step by step (method) of addressing problems I was taught is identify the problem/issue/desired results, identify the root causes/barriers, address those causes, develop action plans, develop metrics (implementation and performance), verify results, adjust and repeat. It was applied on the shop floor all the way up through the organization, and all appropriate people used the same approach. One of the more unusual situations that tested this approach is when I became part of an effort to respond to an OSHA rule making. The first thing we found was they had no clue what we were talking about so they weren't listening [on the verge of hostile]. A root cause was the cultural difference, we were about performance and they were about command and control, enforcement. Once we recognized that then we reframed the issue and modified our approach. We were able to have a positive impact, and others later acknowledge the benefits were beyond just us. " I start with ability", I presume ability and adjust as events warrant. "I think you are accusing me of generalizing “methods” to systems and culture, or ignoring them, or not appreciating their value. " I am not accusing you of any such thing, I am challenging your reliance solely on method. If the culture does not support the method then the method will be changed and results will change. You have had great success with your methods and yet how many times have you or your methods been ignore (worst case no conversation), been rejected, or been accepted with modifications?. If that happens while you are involved what do you think will happen when you give up control? Your approach seems to be facing a cultural barrier, if that isn’t overcome why do you think the future will be any more encouraging? "If you leave them out then I have to say you are not valuing the child’s inherent nature, " You have not asked enough about me to be so sure. Along with an appreciation of culture, I also learn to be wary of assuming too much. If it is all on the child, then explain to me why some kids in the same classroom will succeed and others will fail, why some who are poor will succeed and why some who are rich will fail. I have seen how important the individual is, but I have also seen how culture such an impact that if it is ignored the child is likely lost, the adult is lost. That is why I talk so much about learning and not education, because educational methods so easily ignore what the child needs and what the culture is doing. Why do you think a student who changes friends, changes performance? Do you think it is innate in the child or could it be the culture (peer to peer)? "I think you have left out…” Again I think you presume too much, I believe strongly in the individual and choice living with the consequences. However, I place a great deal of importance on the individual being prepared to choose, to be free. If you find that who that person is or their background is important I would encourage you ask before assuming. I seldom care, I listen to what is said and respond. “Our innovative defense systems are being made by others, like Israel.” So you don’t believe that the American culture of individualism, innovation, invention was a driver of creating Darpa and the approach it takes? You don’t believe there is a cultural draw that brings people even from Israel to work and live here, you don’t believe the American culture hasn’t been imported to Israel by American immigrants? “But you are discounting the power of a student that has completed 25 hours learning the basic ideas of how to study and not fail.” Why do you think the student is there to take the course? I say the culture created the expectation of academic success and that is why to student attended. “I think they would know a positive culture that helps people survive better, and negative cultures that nullify or supplant what they want to do.” What they recognize and what they can influence are critical to what you are saying. “I’m sorry you can not get the idea of how a misunderstood word in a subject can cause the inability to learn that subject.” A word can be the difference in understanding and not. But sometimes the meaning of the word is conveyed in the context of it use, and without even knowing the word the meaning can be learned. “I am talking the person that can not learn.” You have yet to describe or explain why a person cannot learn, what are the root causes? I thought I describe a situation where a dozen of so guys ‘could learn’ because they didn’t belive they could (the culture was computers took special abilities) and yet when they were shown how they would and they could measure that learning the began to learn. How many kids hear for adults and teachers is hard, ‘I’m not a math person.’, and other reason why they will struggle to learn math, how confident do you believe they will be in learning math? How many times have you seen where a group of friends will all struggle with learning math while another group will succeed? To me that is culture driven and unless it is address the effort to get them to learn will be much greater and many will never try. “How would the lesson you have learned apply to increasing a person’s freedom,” freedom is built on self-confidence, a willingness to risk failure so you try and try and try. A person who learns how to learn has the confidence to try. “If there is a sea of information, how would you sort out which were important and which were unimportant” Do you really want answers or are you try to test to see what isn’t answered? Why not pick three and let us discuss them, not just ignore the ones that are answered. We are back to the ‘wall’ around a core belief and a method of defending it. “So what is DARPA (the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) talking about when they say America has lost a national resource and needs to get it back? They say, they have to buy the most innovative portions of weapons systems from other countries. Why is this Duane? Why do the NAEP people say 50% of American students drop out of Math each year, and only 5% are at grade level when they graduate?”. Is there a question here you actually want to talk about? “Again, you learned a lesson, what if you could not learn?” Why can’t I learn? Do you know of a possible cause or is this a ‘what if’ the sun doesn’t rise tomorrow? “You are saying they could not learn because it was about teaching and methods” It seems you are suggesting that everyone will learn is everyone uses the same method. If one kid learns then the method is right for one person. If one doesn’t learn it doesn’t mean it isn’t right for others. What I am saying that there are barriers to learning that are independent of the method and it has to with the individual child. The challenge is to find why what are the barriers to learning before we say which is the right method for every child. “Vygotsky says, one learns by ‘culture.’” You seem to be suggesting that simply because Stalin funded him that he is discredited. You seem to fail to see how the cultures are different around the world and how people around the world learn differently and practice their learning differently. You seem to think education and culture revolved around Stalin, I would suggest there was learning before him and there was culture before him and they were intertwined. I acknowledge that my approach to learning and the impact of culture differs from your approach. Either select an example that we can discuss from both sides or lets accept to disagree.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Thu, 03/05/2015 - 9:09pm
Duane February 27, 2015 at 12:53 am ["My question was about MEAP testing, what is its function/purpose? If it is used to rate schools and teacher then it seems it is about the system and not the student."] I agree. Students also get rated by MEAP. MEAP quantifies Michigan's educational standards. The definition of 'standard' used has changed at least 3 times, none were ever going to represent the needs of the Constitution. The current one is, "something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison." I would use “A Standard is a definite level of quality suitable to a specific purpose.” If we are talking the purpose being compliance with the state Constitution and that as a legal requirement, then MEAP does not do that. If we are talking about the basic purpose of a student as an individual, that is addressed nowhere in the curriculum's in use in Michigan. If we are talking about what parents and children want for their futures, there is little correlation. If we are talking about the needs of Industry, the Military, and life in general, then there is also little similarity. If we are talking about Obama, Bill Gates, The Harvard Fellows, and the NEA, then there is a very direct correlation. MEAP compares to state standards, not the Constitution. It the MEAP is intended to, or effectively hides the fact that the legal requirements of the Constitution are not being addressed. It is not about the student being educated in the spirit of the Constitution. So, it is only about 'the system' as you describe that supplants this legal mandate. […testing has additional values such as, communicates value and focuses efforts/resources, establishes a reference point for student/teacher to prevent topic drift, it establishes expectations.] I do not disagree with what you said. But, all of these values as implemented, fall short of each of the 5 purposes I would use, and I gave you for demonstration above. Also, if they are disconnected from the Constitution then family values can be 'clarified' towards another purpose than those of the family or our state Constitution. [“One Student and one Coach will be greater … ” Why? It seems possible that two or three or more students can benefit from the actions and reactions, questions and answers, of other students even better than to the Coach?] I disagree. At least in the case of my courses. My son was able to go from failing in public schools, a fourth-grader reading one year six months, to ninth grade reading level in 25 hours. That is about 8 grade levels. Then he had also acquired the skills to increase his own reading level 2 grade levels per year with no assistance from his Tutor, parents, or teachers. I would compare this to 5 years, K-4, failure and an achievement level of 1.6. This is for Michigan and California schools. The prospects were not good from there. So how do we quantitatively compare the 'culture' you describe to Tutoring, or Coaching in this example? I simple chose the The 'Tutoring' culture, system, method over the public school culture, system and method. At least for my study courses. [Each brings a dynamic to the situation that is a compilation of much outside the setting, such as culture. For method to be a foundation it would have to subjugate culture. If the culture didn’t establish a value of teaching then why would they be together?] K-12 is 13,000 hours or so of classroom time per child, for about 1.5 million children, that is failing horribly, in my belief. I am suggesting 25 hours plus per child, to correct the problem. I am not arguing for or against the culture of the classroom, or the culture you describe for a classroom. I am not arguing for against the value of that culture. I'm saying a child in about 25 hours can learn to be more successful in such cultures in the classroom, in college, in business and in life. In these 25 hours, for these specific materials, I believe the Coach-Student-Tutor dynamic is by far the most effective. The amount of gain this dynamic can produce is far greater than the culture and classroom you outline. The Coach and Tutor are responsible to see that the Student does not fail on each step, and does achieve a high level of quality…. So there is no hidden '50% of students dropping out each year' that is typical of the culture or classroom you describe. MEAP hides this knowledge from people, it does not need to hide the facts from you and I. I suppose the use of these principles could also be called a “culture.” Back to your question, why are teaching and classroom culture together? They are together to install in the student specific things, without his or her consent. My method, consults the student’s understanding. The system you describe could, but does not, in general do this. [“He is observing these things, so it is inherent.” Reacting is different than observing, planning, and acting. A baby feels discomfort that baby recoils, doesn’t recognize the source of the discomfort, doesn’t discern the nature of the discomfort, doesn’t plan how to prevent exposure, and doesn’t take action to reduce risk.] I believe that for a 'reaction' to occur, there needs to be an earlier 'action' within the individual, not the stimulus in the environment. Otherwise he would simple observe. For the earlier action, within the individual, to have any force, or energy at all to initiate any such reaction at a later time as you discuss, there also needs to be an energy recording of the earlier action to empower the reaction. Like Newton’s Third Law. This energy recording of an actual event then contains energy, and the form of that energy is closely related to the observation of the living organism. It may or may not contain planning and decisions. But it does contain a record of any planning or decisions that were made. It contains all of the perceptions or observations that were made at that earlier time, as well. This discussion is beyond the scope I envisioned for these Bridge responses. [“He can remember where things go…” If it were instinctive why wouldn’t the baby retain that information after a single experience rather than after repeated try’s?] It is not instinctive. [If it were instinctive, why would the baby need an initial exposure?] To remember, we would need 'a memory' to remember. To have 'a memory' there needs to be an initial exposure, a time to observe something, and something to remember. [“I do not see it as a part of what I am about.” We aren’t discussing about you or me, we are talking about an intellectual view of what influences students/teacher, learning/education. If we only use ourselves as reference we risk missing what others would value.] I have explained. 'Culture', as in the methods (systems, culture) of Vygotsky, can be used instead of the individual's personal observations, personal decisions. So, when 'culture' is used in that way, I may listen and understand, but "I do not see it as a part of what I am about." I choose to simply disagree. I represent the individual and his freedom, his observations, his decisions, his values, his ability to be responsible and his ability control his own life. As probably all of my ideas have been expressed elsewhere by others, I only represent my own experience and try to match them with examples of use from professional life. [“I asked myself, “As a Professional Engineer, how would I do it?” ” And I ask myself what are the issues others will have to address with the problem. It would seem every PE would approach the same problem differently, all have demonstrated a competency in the core engineering, but each has a specialty. To watch a mechanical engineer approach a problem, will be different then an electrical, then a metallurgical, then a research, then a manufacturing, a design, etc.] Professional Engineers in Michigan are not licensed by specialty. I consider myself to be a Generalist, rather than a Specialist. What I meant was that I wanted a practical approach from someone in Industry, rather than simply someone, a viewpoint from Education that was more or less unaware of the problems of work in the real world. [If the problem needs to be address by individuals from different backgrounds then, I would look for their common elements to address and then seek the individual issues and try to address the important ones. As I mentioned before the issue was to learn computer interface, but the greatest barrier was local culture. The technical seemed easy once the culture barrier was identified and addressed.] I'm glad you were able to solve that one issue with culture. I address such issues with the concept of ‘fixed ideas.’ If the person has a fixed idea, then he is not free to change it easily. I show him how to do this. I do not recommend trying to solve all problems by locating a key word that is causing the log jam. But finding such a Key Word in the field of study, is a little like finding the root cause, or finding a why that resolves the issue and increases production. It is just approaching things from a more basic level. A root cause has been identified that resolves about 90% of educational problems, and many of the problems of business. I would encourage you to understand how it works before you abandon it, for something far less valuable, or simply to address it a different way by seeking a consensus among a large number of people that have not been surveyed. [“…I did would take 25 hours” I must apologize that is one of those ‘hot buttons’ for me. I have heard and seen how a fixed number of hours become restrictive and counterproductive. OSHA/EPA include fixed hours in regulations so everyone must be in the classroom for that many hours creating a false sense of what is importance and discouraging value and learning.] I have seen this repeatedly myself. Recently with a Robotics class, I volunteered to teach a course on “Applied Knowledge” The first thing the teacher did was try to restrict it to one hou only, instead of just complete the material I had. This 25 hours is a only a goal for me, to be an average of activities after my skills are developed, and I do not say that to students. It is not required of and is not intended for students to be limited in that way. We have discussed this before. I have observed such things myself right in the present. I have a PE requirement of 30 CEU hours to apply for my next license renewal. What that means to me and what that means to the ones who initiated that law are likely two very different things. [“Educate me.” I am not sure what you are asking for, are you wanting examples where culture has been a barrier, where culture has been a driver, how culture can be used (has been used), how culture has to change to change results? Help me frame it and what type of environments, do you want an extreme risk, a creative, one that drives individuals to act versus a government environment that discourage individuals to act?] I do not think it is needed to solve the education problem in America I am directing my efforts to solve. Show me why you feel I should include it in my efforts, if you like. [“I just do not understand how that would work.” A simple example of workplace learning, the culture expects individual initiative in severe situations, to achieve that, it requires management to transfer authority to the operation technicians. It requires that the individual be confident that they can take such action, the culture drives the training to knowledge and skills demonstration in severe scenarios, and management being held accountable for the performance (transfer of authority) of technicians. Think of the auto companies culture in the 60s & 70s would that have been possible?] If the technicians and managers can learn that, I do not see a need for me to be involved. I would solve that as I described above for ‘fixed idea’. If they cannot, or did not, learn something, then I see a need, and your root cause is not operative. But I think that basic need, is quite likely a problem for K-12 rather than your workplace. K-12, or a pre K-12 study course before entering a classroom, is a better place to solve the underlying issues I see in play, from my point of view. [“complex ideas towards basic ideas, but never arriving.” The ideas aren’t complex, they are the recognition of what will influence the likelihood of success. The only time the idea can be applied is when an actual problem is being addressed. The ‘education system’ culture is about information delivery, what first needs to be decided is what are the desired results, better learning or better delivery. Once the desired results are established then the process begins on creating the ideas.] We disagree. The subject of 'what will influence the likelihood of success' is complex. I do agree on 'better learning,' as I have outlined. If you want people to be able to operate under severe stress they you need to train them up to being able to do that. In the situation you describe a simulator might be a good idea. That is the major advantage of simulators. The ability to simulate life and death or catastrophic conditions for the person to experience, or learn the skills necessary to handle. I know of simulators for oil fields, your situation sounds like process control. It needs a simulator for that, so you can train people well. [The step by step (method) of addressing problems I was taught is identify the problem/issue/desired results, identify the root causes/barriers, address those causes, develop action plans, develop metrics (implementation and performance), verify results, adjust and repeat. It was applied on the shop floor all the way up through the organization, and all appropriate people used the same approach.] What is your definition of the word, 'problem'? I believe most of these types of problems can be resolved in the field of study, prior to entering the work force. [One of the more unusual situations that tested this approach is when I became part of an effort to respond to an OSHA rule making. The first thing we found was they had no clue what we were talking about so they weren’t listening, and were on the verge of being hostile. A root cause was the cultural difference, we were about performance and they were about command and control, enforcement. Once we recognized that then we reframed the issue and modified our approach. We were able to have a positive impact, and others later acknowledge the benefits were beyond just us.] It sounds to me like you had different purposes. And they had no knowledge of your purpose, your specific methods, and your ‘Root Cause Analysis’ methods. [”I start with ability”, I presume ability and adjust as events warrant.] I start by defining the word, 'ability' in a very fundamental way, so an individual can acquire any ability, or skill easily. If he knows it already that is fine. I just have him demonstrate the concept of it (which increases his understanding of the concept and he can make it own if he has not), and then I have him demonstrate actually acquiring a new ability with this technology. I have him distinguish between a 'talent' and a 'skill.' [“I think you are accusing me of generalizing “methods” to systems and culture, or ignoring them, or not appreciating their value. ” I am not accusing you of any such thing, I am challenging your reliance solely on method. If the culture does not support the method then the method will be changed and results will change. You have had great success with your methods and yet how many times have you or your methods been ignored (worst case no conversation), been rejected, or been accepted with modifications? If that happens while you are involved what do you think will happen when you give up control? Your approach seems to be facing a cultural barrier, if that isn’t overcome why do you think the future will be any more encouraging?] I agree. You have found ‘culture’ to be the root cause of many things. I have not found that to be the case in education. I have not seen culture fix those problems. Truthfully, I have not tried either. Locally, they seem to have a new culture every couple of years, or a new urgency to deal with. None ever solve the problems my ‘method’ does solve. [“If you leave them out then I have to say you are not valuing the child’s inherent nature, ” You have not asked enough about me to be so sure. Along with an appreciation of culture, I also learn to be wary of assuming too much. If it is all on the child, then explain to me why some kids in the same classroom will succeed and others will fail] I have. [, why some who are poor will succeed] they understand [and why some who are rich will fail] they do not understand, per my Standard 7. [I have seen how important the individual is, but I have also seen how culture has such an impact that if it is ignored the child is likely lost, the adult is lost. That is why I talk so much about learning and not education, because educational methods so easily ignore what the child needs and what the culture is doing. Why do you think a student who changes friends, changes performance?] That is very likely culture. [Do you think it is innate in the child or could it be the culture (peer to peer)? It could be culture.] Yes, it could be culture. But I think that is a superficial look. When one changes fundamental things one changes all cultures the individual interacts with. You are talking about a very temporary change, or culture, when you talk of a child changing friends. He may make new friends in each new class. You have asked specific leading questions , as if all were leading to “culture”. I don’t disagree. But in general you are proposing to solve a general culture problem, Education, with a more directed culture using root-cause analysis, which Education is not, teachers are not, trained in. How would a teacher apply your ideas? I submit that they would feel, and they would say, they are doing just this when they address students in the classroom every day. They see the student does not get a concept. They explain the concept to him using different words, and the child seems Okay. The word he still does not understand is on the test, he fails. The teacher sort of did a root cause analysis, got a plausible cause, provided the wrong correction. The boy fails the test. He fails on the job later in life. If the teacher knew the principle that there are no misunderstood concepts, only misunderstood words. Then they could complete the cycle correctly. Instead they use context clues…the student guesses, doesn’t get the word, doesn’t get the concept, has it explained in other words…failure. 95% are not grade level in math when they graduate high school. If there is a math requirement for high school, shouldn’t all graduates, 100%, achieve it? [“Our innovative defense systems are being made by others, like Israel.” So you don’t believe that the American culture of individualism, innovation, invention was a driver of creating Darpa and the approach it takes?] You have jumped to a new thought, that I did not say, and you left the topic. Yes, I do believe those things had an influence in creating DARPA. DARPA says those things as a National Resource are lost. DARPA is not responsible to create this National Resource. We can. Do you remember the topic? [You don’t believe there is a cultural draw that brings people even from Israel to work and live here, you don’t believe the American culture hasn’t been imported to Israel by American immigrants?] You are defending culture again, faithfully. Why do you think others, outside the culture of American Education, are supplying innovation and creativity to DARPA? Is it because the Educational “culture” here has NOT solved this problem DARPA says is the loss of a National Resource? [“But you are discounting the power of a student that has completed 25 hours learning the basic ideas of how to study and not fail.” Why do you think the student is there to take the course? I say the culture created the expectation of academic success and that is why the student attended.] I don’t think so. Actually, nearly all of my Tutoring students, and their parents were rejecting the school culture. They wanted to Home School. In the classes I taught it was because I was assigned the authority by the teacher or school, not because the student chose anything. [“I think they would know a positive culture that helps people survive better, and negative cultures that nullify or supplant what they want to do.” What they recognize and what they can influence are critical to what you are saying. [“I’m sorry you can not get the idea of how a misunderstood word in a subject can cause the inability to learn that subject.” A word can be the difference in understanding and not understanding. But sometimes the meaning of the word is conveyed in the context of it use, and without even knowing the word the meaning can be learned.] “Sometimes” is the operative word, from my point of view. If a person has learned the 10 most common definitions of a word, the origin and the notes on how to use the word, and any idioms it might be contained in, then the recognition of which meaning applies is instantaneous from the context, and one can proceed with full understanding at full speed. One that learns meanings from contexts gets slower and slower and may not even recognize the word when it is used on a test, especially if it one of the other 10 meanings. [“I am talking the person that can not learn.” You have yet to describe or explain why a person cannot learn,] I have said this dozens of times. [what are the root causes?] Going past a misunderstood word and becoming unable to learn or confused. [I thought I described a situation where a dozen of so guys ‘could learn’ because they didn’t believe they could (the culture was computers took special abilities) and yet when they were shown how they would and they could measure that learning they began to learn.] They could learn. [How many kids hear from adults and teachers it is hard, ‘I’m not a math person.’, and other reasons why they will struggle to learn math, how confident do you believe they will be in learning math?] All of them. [How many times have you seen where a group of friends will all struggle with learning math while another group will succeed?] I have seen many. In one classroom there six groups. One individual did solve a problem and he showed his method to his group, and the group was successful. Then that group helped all the other groups to get it. Only one boy had the understanding to approach and work this problem. All the others as groups only copied what ‘the individual’ had mastered. [To me that is culture driven and unless it is addressed the effort to get them to learn will be much greater and many will never try.] My little course on Applied Knowledge handles such concerns. I noticed you did not say how to address it. But this is what I did, I clarified with the students a few ‘fixed ideas’ that students might hear in the classroom, like, ‘I will never use this!’ ‘I am bad at math!’, etc. I then had them demonstrate two things; ‘The Willing Student’ and ‘The Unwilling Student.’ I gave them each enough little pieces to leave their demonstrations on the table in front of them. Then I asked them if they ever hear such things in the classroom? Many said specific things, but one boy sat back in an exasperated way and said, ‘We see this all the time!’ I said to him, ‘Demonstrate that.’ He did. I had the students demo hearing such things and then moving that concept into one of the two demos on the table before them. Does it go towards ‘The Unwilling’ or to ‘The Willing?’ I was giving the ability to correctly place such ideas, attitudes, behaviors, emotions, such ‘culture’ into one of the two classifications. I was training them to be willing students, rather that allowing their culture to train them to be ‘unwilling’ students. Do you understand how this would accomplish what you are talking about? [“How would the lesson you have learned apply to increasing a person’s freedom,” freedom is built on self-confidence, a willingness to risk failure so you try and try and try. A person who learns how to learn has the confidence to try.] I think freedom, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are inherent. The person has to give them away. I think my demos of ‘The Unwilling’ and ‘The Willing’ would do much to make clear for each student that he or she has made or can make choices in what they buy into. [“If there is a sea of information, how would you sort out which were important and which were unimportant” Do you really want answers or are you try to test to see what isn’t answered? Why not pick three and let us discuss them, not just ignore the ones that are answered. We are back to the ‘wall’ around a core belief and a method of defending it.] One uses observation, personal inspection, personal evaluation, personal conclusions, the courage of his own convictions to sort out what is important and which are unimportant. [“So what is DARPA (the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) talking about when they say America has lost a national resource and needs to get it back? They say, they have to buy the most innovative portions of weapons systems from other countries. Why is this Duane? Why do the NAEP people say 50% of American students drop out of Math each year, and only 5% are at grade level when they graduate?”. Is there a question here you actually want to talk about?] We have been. This is a summary. [“Again, you learned a lesson, what if you could not learn?” Why can’t I learn? Do you know of a possible cause or is this a ‘what if’ the sun doesn’t rise tomorrow?] Yes, there is a specific cause. When a person can learn a task, stumbles on a word, cannot do any of hundreds of things, I find the word and when that is fully defined, and understood I have them now do the task they could not learn before. If they can now learn it and do it, I say that is the root cause, that is the specific cause. Now I have done this with students. I found that they needed to know how to do this on themselves. So this is sort of a root cause…they did not know how to find the cause of their own personal inability to learn. So this is what my Standards do. It teaches the student how to find the cause of their own personal inability to study. [“You are saying they could not learn because it was about teaching and methods” It seems you are suggesting that everyone will learn if everyone uses the same method. If one kid learns then the method is right for one person. If one doesn’t learn it doesn’t mean it isn’t right for others. What I am saying that there are barriers to learning that are independent of the method and it has to with the individual child. The challenge is to find what are the barriers to learning before we say which is the right method for every child.] Exactly! Try it out on 3000 kids yourself and see if you agree. [“Vygotsky says, one learns by ‘culture.’” You seem to be suggesting that simply because Stalin funded him that he is discredited.] Yes. [You seem to fail to see how the cultures are different around the world] That is not true. Cultures are different. I have worked with different cultures all me life. My best friend growing up was a full blooded Indian. [ and how people around the world learn differently and practice their learning differently.] Do you appreciate Vygotsky’s/Stalin’s methods are used here in America since 1994, and Russia no longer uses such things? I showed a Chief Engineer from Showa Electric around our company one day. He could speak no English. Why do you think I would not know people practice their learning differently? [You seem to think education and culture revolved around Stalin, I would suggest there was learning before him and there was culture before him and they were intertwined.] You seemed to have failed to grasp this is the technology in use in America. I am suggesting something quite different. [I acknowledge that my approach to learning and the impact of culture differs from your approach.] Hopefully I have outlined quite a number of examples of how to take a task a person who can not learn something, and how I would get him to be able to learn it. [Either select an example that we discuss from both sides or let’s accept to disagree.] I’m not convinced we are on two sides of something, a specific thing. You seem to be saying someone has not learned the correct culture for a situation. Then you teach him the correct culture for the situation, after using root-cause analysis to find a how the cultures are different, or not right. Then you say the problem is solved. I don’t disagree with this. This is just working things out. Fine! I’m saying there is a problem between Education and Industry, … and our economy, and the military, and all of life. A problem between Education and our Civilization. Education says students are not ready to learn when they come to school. I say Education has not supplied people that can work when they come to Industry, or our economy. Our economy produces goods and services. When students graduate and begin to work there is a transition where our economy once again spends just as much as it did on Education in the first place, to re-educate them to work in the second place. This cost is about 1 Trillion dollars for Education to Educate, and again about 1 trillion dollars more for our economy to train people to work. Students have not been taught to work. This error is too big to ignore. It is a 2 trillion dollar problem. Students need to be taught to work. If they can not learn, then they need to know how to find the cause of that, and become able once again to learn. If Education provides high school graduates where only 5% are at grade level in Math, then it is obvious to some, that 95% can not learn Math, they did not get it. What the 95% did get was the inability to learn, and no learning skills to solve this. Also, 50% of the remaining students drop out each year, so 50% of Freshmen in college will also become unable to learn. 50% of remedial education students attending college in Math will never see their first college Math course. So I am about teaching kids to work by teaching them to learn when they cannot learn, or when they become unable to learn. So they all can work at what they choose. Is this something we disagree on?
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Sat, 02/28/2015 - 7:08pm
Duane February 27, 2015 at 12:53 am I will have to finish my comment in a couple of days. See you then. Leo