Category: braniacs
education, teachers, & the effect of poverty
chris. | 26 September 2011 | 9:37 pm | (deconstructing) class(ism), learnin' | 1 Comment

From the Seattle Times’s Pacific Northwest magazine for yesterday: “What’s the matter with teachers today?”  A long, interesting piece about K-12 education that asks the question, “Teaching is one of the most criticized jobs in America. What’s up with that?”

Naturally, these paragraphs jumped out at me:

And [teachers] also hate that, outside of the teachers lounge, they can’t raise the problem of poverty without being branded an excuse-maker. They consider poverty the elephant in the room. Not an excuse but a reality that affects test scores much more than the few bad teachers.

Even if we fired all the bad teachers tomorrow, they say, we would still have a big gap in achievement between the rich and the poor.

I really don’t have much commentary on that except:  Well, DUH.

learning — chore or game?
chris. | 22 June 2009 | 5:55 pm | learnin', Pigwidgeon | Comments closed

I’ve been searching for games for my beloved cell phone1 because sometimes i want a way to pass the time that’s a little more brain-intensive than Solitaire but slightly less concentration-focused than writing a zine article.  Ideally i’d like some sort of educational games2 — perhaps a math game, since my goal this summer is returning my math skills to a respectable level.

Do you know how hard it is to find educational games geared toward adult learners?  Apparently i get chess or sudoku.  All the educational games are for kids.  Which is fine, and i don’t mind playing a kids game, except the math games i’ve been looking at so far sort of peak right below the level i need.  Basic algebra?  You get study guides.  No educational games.

Which got me to wondering.  At what point in our lives does learning go from being a game to being a chore?  Or is learning always a chore that we need to turn into a game to trick the kids into doing by choice?

1)  Yes, i really did write beloved “cell phone.”  And, yeah, i do kinda mean it.  It’s amazing how this little device has transformed my life.  In the 1st place, my purse has gotten a lot smaller.  I used to carry a calendar/journal/address book plus a digital camera plus a phone, in addition to all the usual crap one carries around every day (wallet, lip gloss, keys).  When i started seriously thinking about getting an MP3 player, eventually i came around to thinking, “Bugger this ‘i don’t like all-in-one gadgets.’ Gimme an all-in-one gadget!!”  It was the perfect decision.

2)  It’s hopelessly geeky, i know, but i love educational games.  It’s my mother’s fault for giving me hopeful, aspirational toys when i was a kid.  To this day i figure if i’m sitting around waiting (at the airport, doctors’s offices), i might as well do something useful (read, play a brain game).  If you catch me sitting around seemingly staring into space, chances are i’m either trying to compose a zine article in my head or i’m falling asleep.


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