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Old May 30, 2020, 08:46 PM   #1
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SubCog
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Default Next school year

So it sounds like the schools out here (silicon valley) are preparing to make pretty dramatic operational changes next year. The most likely scenario now looks like they'll be splitting classes into A & B groups, and alternating days in class, with everyone staying home on Fridays. This is, of course, assuming that they don't lock things down again (which I expect they likely will).

We've been getting surveys from the San Jose school district that we're in weighing out different permutations of this idea. We have friends in Mountain View & SF that are saying they're getting similar messaging from their schools as well.

Strange times we live in. One thing I've been disappointed to see is that our schools here have been trying to continue to teach the same as always, but with kids at home... rather than do the obvious and move toward more of a traditional homeschool curriculum, which has been proven effective for decades.

Honestly, I hope we take this opportunity to overhaul the whole program permanently. imo, the role of the teacher needs to fundamentally change. Teachers should not be lecturing, preparing lessons, or disseminating learning in most subjects. Most lessons should be done on a computer, self-paced for each student, with a variety of lessons available that target each student's learning style. Teachers should become learning coaches, helping students choose the best set of lessons for each subject for their needs, and then offering additional 1:1 help where necessary.

Most students probably only really need to come in to the classroom a couple days a week (if even that), or perhaps by appointment only when they need help with something. There may still be reasons to come in every day (if there's no global pandemic happening), but that will be more for social skills, group collaborations, and hands-on classes like art or PE. The vast majority of the reading, writing, and arithmetic should be done self-paced, on a computer, whether students are in the classroom or at home.

Maybe the pandemic will start to push schools in the right direction now?
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Old May 31, 2020, 01:30 AM   #2
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Easy to say, hard to implement. Schools are massive institutions who's staff were overworked and underpaid before the pandemic, and the workload has only increased since. All of their mandated curriculums are built around the standard class model, so they've been struggling to reform them in a meaningful way for the end of this year, let alone for future school years, and they've been doing it individually, as there hasn't been a lot of top-down support for that sort of thing (and that teachers tended to make their own curriculums based on the requirements).




It has to change, and the model you describe is probably the right direction, but practically implementing that even on a whole-school scale means jumping through all sorts of hoops and thousands of extra hours to reorganize, let alone the time it will take for the teachers and support staff to learn the new skills relevant to the new style. There also simply isn't comprehensive, good lessons available online for the sort of variety needed for a normal student's run through the school system. It's especially difficult to make a one-size-fits-all sort of lesson in a video/text/whatever format (in the same way a lecture format doesn't work well for everyone), and schools and teachers have the hurdles of using the technology (to create content or just manage its delivery to students), getting a hold of the relevant hardware and software, and then understanding the content available well enough to be able to teach with it as a tool.


A full "learning coach" role for a regular education is also a daily commitment, if only for an hour or two, and with current class sizes that simply isn't a realistic workload for teachers, even if all curriculum and implementation challenges are handled by someone else. In the same way the current system only half-supports that, I don't think the manpower exists in the school systems to fully support every student that way. This responsibility has always fallen partly on the parents (and that's why a lot of students don't get it), and really needs to be supported by them as well. It's a great thing when it can come externally, but the reality is the system does not support that sort of one-on-one style for every student, and it hasn't had that level of funding or manpower for my entire lifetime.


I'm optimistic that things will trend in good directions in the wake of this, but while still in the midst of it, I think expecting those trends to be executed adequately is unrealistic given the challenges. Doesn't really excuse it, and I think some places will manage to do it fairly well this coming year, but I think to maintain the same quality of education kids were getting pre-pandemic (let alone to improve on it) they should expect to need to be involved. Yeah, they're also stressed and short of time, and yeah, most of them don't have a lot of experience or skill in this direction, but I think that's the only realistic way their kids will get it in the near term.
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Old May 31, 2020, 02:52 AM   #3
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Nice dream there.

There are already programs in place(in my school district) where kids can self pace but they dont use them cause you know what happens if you let a kid self pace? They dont do anything at all. Having students sit at home and do work will inevitably lead to kids doing no work. I dont know what the demographic of your school district is but places where the students live below the poverty line its next to impossible to get kids to participate from home.

Even if you give them all the tools for free they still dont participate because its harder to learn at home. A school that Im dealing with has 98% of the student body with take home devices and internet(devices were given to students with none at home and internet was provided by time warner or a hot spot) and the online participation for students is south of 35%.

Students have to deal with everyday at life at home and it complicates learning quite a bit. Taking care of siblings, helping parents with work, and generally being distracted pretty much puts learning on the backburner.

I think you are also minimizing the job of a teacher. Yes, a teachers main job is to teach but more importantly they become mentors, friends, and outlets for students.

A lot of students use school as an escape from home as well. Everyone doesnt live in a nice area where parents can provide everything they need and home life is perfect. I am pretty sure you live in a very nice area and it may be the norm for parents to be able to provide what a kid needs but the majority of places arent like that. Kids rely on schools for lunch, parents rely on school for basically free child care/day care when they are working.

There are too many moving parts for students to stay home. I think that we will start this year online and possibly get back in school sometime before the next school year. But if we dont I expect 21-22 school year will be back to normal.

There have been schedules floating around here about 3 days in 2 days out or teaching half of the class online and half of the class on site to minimize the number of students on campus already...but I dont think they will get nowhere close to reality. That literally doubles the work for a teacher who is already overworked and underpaid. Not to mention Teacher unions wont stand for it.
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Old May 31, 2020, 07:32 AM   #4
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I'm a teacher at vocational level, my students are bound for jobs in social care and health care. I'm a teacher/coach for first year students, math teacher for first/second year, occasional other stuff for graduating students.

I want to agree with SubCog for where we should be heading in education. I've occasionally done some online courses before, and really enjoyed that. But I very, very much agree with logical that a lot of people really, really haven't a full understanding of what that means for large groups of students in various directions. I think in education, there's often a heavy bias among the people who write and design. Most people don't get the tools at home or in their immediate surroundings to stimulate learning and motivate studying. Most students aren't driven by the logical idea that you need to prepare for your future on a day-to-day basis. Yet plans are made that treat every student as a university student, as if they can actively plan ahead and study individually. School is more than an education. The technology is there to educate online, but don't forget the pedagogy and social aspects, and what that means for different schools and students.

I hope we can continue to teach online, and I'm thrilled that it's something teachers have now learned how to do, even though it's not been voluntarily. But at best, it's one more tool in the box.
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Old May 31, 2020, 08:55 AM   #5
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I wish homeschooling was an option for more people. Homeschooling isn't for everyone, but we did it for my son since kindergarten. California does have a pretty good homeschooling curriculum and support system (startk12.com) that is overseen by licensed teachers, so that helped a lot. Worked out pretty well. Now he's an Eagle Scout, Taekwondo black belt, registered EMT & CNA, has a 4.0 GPA, and is starting Embry Riddle Aeronautical Institute in the fall. The point is, some kids excel at home study, because the massive classroom sizes and one-size-fits-all teaching approach in the public school system isn't always conducive to learning.

My daughter, on the other hand, wasn't a good candidate for homeschooling at first because she and my wife have massive personality clashes. She went to a private school until 8th grade, then I homeschooled her until she could take her GED and start community college. She graduated cum laude from a private college last year with a BS degree.

IMO if parents can logistically and financially do it, homeschooling can be wonderful opportunity for kids to learn their own way. It's challenging, though, because a homeschool parent needs to be organized, spend LOTS of time with their kids, come up with field trip ideas and provide plenty of socialization opportunities. Definitely not for everyone, but I've seen it work, so I disagree with the notion that
Quote:
Originally Posted by logical
"Even if you give them all the tools for free they still don't participate because its harder to learn at home"
Sure, if you let the kid completely self-pace. The point is, you don't do that. You have to give them structure, discipline, and guide them along the way. Parents have to actually engage with their kids, not just hand them over to a public school system that fails our kids in so many ways. The big problem in California is that it's so expensive to live there that most families need 2 or 3 incomes to make ends meet, so having a parent stay home and homeschool their kids isn't an option.
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Old May 31, 2020, 10:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Munkus View Post
I wish homeschooling was an option for more people. Homeschooling isn't for everyone, but we did it for my son since kindergarten. California does have a pretty good homeschooling curriculum and support system (startk12.com) that is overseen by licensed teachers, so that helped a lot. Worked out pretty well. Now he's an Eagle Scout, Taekwondo black belt, registered EMT & CNA, has a 4.0 GPA, and is starting Embry Riddle Aeronautical Institute in the fall. The point is, some kids excel at home study, because the massive classroom sizes and one-size-fits-all teaching approach in the public school system isn't always conducive to learning.

My daughter, on the other hand, wasn't a good candidate for homeschooling at first because she and my wife have massive personality clashes. She went to a private school until 8th grade, then I homeschooled her until she could take her GED and start community college. She graduated cum laude from a private college last year with a BS degree.

IMO if parents can logistically and financially do it, homeschooling can be wonderful opportunity for kids to learn their own way. It's challenging, though, because a homeschool parent needs to be organized, spend LOTS of time with their kids, come up with field trip ideas and provide plenty of socialization opportunities. Definitely not for everyone, but I've seen it work, so I disagree with the notion that Sure, if you let the kid completely self-pace. The point is, you don't do that. You have to give them structure, discipline, and guide them along the way. Parents have to actually engage with their kids, not just hand them over to a public school system that fails our kids in so many ways. The big problem in California is that it's so expensive to live there that most families need 2 or 3 incomes to make ends meet, so having a parent stay home and homeschool their kids isn't an option.
its not just a cali issue, ontario and basically every province here has the same issue. Very, very few ppl can afford to have a parent stay home. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of single parent families. Homeschooling isnt an option for a majority of ppl unless we want to turn into an idiocracy(and were not far)

FTR i live in a predominantly middle-upper class, 97.2% white area and my mom still teaches in the catholic school system here. Would never work here
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Old May 31, 2020, 11:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by SubCog View Post
So it sounds like the schools out here (silicon valley) are preparing to make pretty dramatic operational changes next year. The most likely scenario now looks like they'll be splitting classes into A & B groups, and alternating days in class, with everyone staying home on Fridays. This is, of course, assuming that they don't lock things down again (which I expect they likely will).
yep you're not alone. just about everywhere will have huge changes to scheduling, classroom layout, in school organization, etc.


Quote:
One thing I've been disappointed to see is that our schools here have been trying to continue to teach the same as always, but with kids at home...
This is absolutely nuts, and is a perfect recipe for disaster. One thing that was clear from from the get-go from my admin and the district is that it is NOT business as usual. we are expected to give the kids about 1 classtime's worth, about 80 minutes, of homework, PER WEEK. Assessment strategies are completely different. Learning outcomes are the same but students have very different ways to show their learning.

Are you actually aware of a business-as-usual policy coming from the school or is that just a feeling you are getting with the workload assigned home? It is bonkers to expect teachers and students to push through the same amount of material but from home.

Quote:
Honestly, I hope we take this opportunity to overhaul the whole program permanently. imo, the role of the teacher needs to fundamentally change.
I really disagree with this being an opportunity to implement wide reaching changes. It is an incredibly stressful time for parents, teachers, and kids. Implementing huge changes should be planned and calculated, not taking advantages of unprecedented circumstances.
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Old May 31, 2020, 07:01 PM   #8
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This is a really good and interesting thread, btw -- different viewpoints but well expressed and based on folks' different experiences and situations. Thanks for the thoughts and keep 'em coming. This is something a lot of us are facing now, one way or another.
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Old Jun 1, 2020, 10:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by logical View Post
Nice dream there.

There are already programs in place(in my school district) where kids can self pace but they dont use them cause you know what happens if you let a kid self pace? They dont do anything at all. Having students sit at home and do work will inevitably lead to kids doing no work. I dont know what the demographic of your school district is but places where the students live below the poverty line its next to impossible to get kids to participate from home.

Even if you give them all the tools for free they still dont participate because its harder to learn at home. A school that Im dealing with has 98% of the student body with take home devices and internet(devices were given to students with none at home and internet was provided by time warner or a hot spot) and the online participation for students is south of 35%.

Students have to deal with everyday at life at home and it complicates learning quite a bit. Taking care of siblings, helping parents with work, and generally being distracted pretty much puts learning on the backburner.

...

A lot of students use school as an escape from home as well. Everyone doesnt live in a nice area where parents can provide everything they need and home life is perfect. I am pretty sure you live in a very nice area and it may be the norm for parents to be able to provide what a kid needs but the majority of places arent like that. Kids rely on schools for lunch, parents rely on school for basically free child care/day care when they are working.
My neighborhood is funny, because it's actually a very poor neighborhood that happens to be in a very expensive area. The school's website lists a demographic breakdown of the students as 93% hispanic, 3% black, 3% Vietnamese. I think my son is the only white student in his entire grade. ~75% of the students are low income... the threshold is so high that rather than offering a free lunch program for certain students who qualify, they offer free breakfast & lunches to all children below 18, whether they're students or not. All of this in a neighborhood where house prices start at $700k. Most houses on my street have multiple families living in them, with lots of people coming and going all the time.

It's a challenging neighborhood for teachers, as many families don't prioritize their kids education at all, and I know the majority of my son's peers never turn in any homework. My oldest son goes to a nearby charter school, so kids are lot more academically motivated there. btw, both my boys are doing great in their schools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Munkus View Post
IMO if parents can logistically and financially do it, homeschooling can be wonderful opportunity for kids to learn their own way. It's challenging, though, because a homeschool parent needs to be organized, spend LOTS of time with their kids, come up with field trip ideas and provide plenty of socialization opportunities. Definitely not for everyone, but I've seen it work, so I disagree with the notion that Sure, if you let the kid completely self-pace. The point is, you don't do that. You have to give them structure, discipline, and guide them along the way. Parents have to actually engage with their kids, not just hand them over to a public school system that fails our kids in so many ways. The big problem in California is that it's so expensive to live there that most families need 2 or 3 incomes to make ends meet, so having a parent stay home and homeschool their kids isn't an option.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Higgy10 View Post
its not just a cali issue, ontario and basically every province here has the same issue. Very, very few ppl can afford to have a parent stay home. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of single parent families. Homeschooling isnt an option for a majority of ppl unless we want to turn into an idiocracy(and were not far)

FTR i live in a predominantly middle-upper class, 97.2% white area and my mom still teaches in the catholic school system here. Would never work here
I'm fortunate that we can afford to have my wife stay home with the kids. It definitely makes things alot smoother now, especially with the kids at home.
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Old Jun 1, 2020, 11:51 AM   #10
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Well then I guess you know what you are calling for is Unrealistic.
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Old Jun 1, 2020, 02:43 PM   #11
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Well then I guess you know what you are calling for is Unrealistic.
If lower-class families don't perform well at home, that sucks 'cause we're in a pandemic and people are staying home right now, but that's kindof a separate question from the type of curriculum. Those students will perform poorly at home regardless of the curriculum that's taught at home.

What I'm proposing, where lessons are taught self-paced and primarily on the computer, and teachers focus more on coaching, I'd like to see implemented whether students are at home or in the classroom. When those students who perform poorly at home come back to the classroom, I'd still like to see them move to a self-paced curriculum. In fact it may be even more necessary, as they will likely have fallen behind their peers who have been more successful studying at home during the lockdown.
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Old Jun 3, 2020, 02:52 PM   #12
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Online or home learning is the dumbest idea for kids, especially young ones. No one will have the focus or will to do the work.
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Old Jun 3, 2020, 04:11 PM   #13
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Fuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling freshFuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling freshFuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling freshFuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling freshFuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling freshFuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling freshFuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling freshFuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling freshFuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling freshFuku2 kills 99.99% of germs and leaves hands feeling fresh


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They'll outsource the work.
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Old Jun 3, 2020, 05:23 PM   #14
bill dennison
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good luck

Quote:
Back to school? 1 in 5 teachers are unlikely to return to reopened classrooms this fall, poll says
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ne/5254729002/
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Old Jun 4, 2020, 09:44 AM   #15
Java Cool Dude
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My wife is planning to take the kids and move abroad for a year so the kids can attend a private school somewhere. She wants them to grown up multi-lingual and quite frankly staying at home and seeing them on electronics ALL DAY is a bit much!
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Old Jun 4, 2020, 09:45 AM   #16
Munkus
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Originally Posted by Java Cool Dude View Post
My wife is planning to take the kids and move abroad for a year so the kids can attend a private school somewhere. She wants them to grown up multi-lingual and quite frankly staying at home and seeing them on electronics ALL DAY is a bit much!
That is an AMAZING idea! Make sure to take the kids on lots of day trips to learn this history of whatever country they are in.
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Old Jun 4, 2020, 01:36 PM   #17
bob saget
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all the school districts in this area are doing optional in-school time till the end of june. so kids have an option to come in and get caught up on their online assignments. desks are all spread out with sanitizer everywhere, limit of 8 kids per class...

on monday we had 4% of the student population show up in the school. i had 1 kid in 1 class, 1 kid in another, and 2 fully empty. good times.
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