Reflections of a Lifelong Teacher |
Important Concepts for Teachers and Parents
1. Much of behavior is learned. Determining Who Passes a Standardized Education |
Flipping a Statistics Class Worked Well in early 2000's Teaching Statistics to Open Evening College Students by Walter Introduction: After years of traditional teaching to open enrollment college and junior college students, I switched to my now free then inexpensive programmed textbooks Quick Notes Statistics and Excel Statistics Lab Manual. With all the problems and their data sets written in Excel, many of the calculation-learning obstacles were removed. Many students were familiar with the text, as they had used other books from the Quick Notes series. Quick books are concise one and two-page outlines per chapter followed by practice problems and complete solutions.
material covered on the first test. It was on a o be take -home or used in our computer lab. We then adjourned to the lab with some of the better students leaving to study the lectures on their own and do required work at their leisure while the others joined me in the Excel lab to calculate measures of central tendency. Lectures for a few nights were very short previews. Labs sessions with me and a few students helping with procedures took up most of the class. The class before the computerized test using Excel I conducted a comprehensive 30-minute review at which I again saw the better students and after the review, a few students were off to the lab to finish their computerized lab set due before the test. Tests for probability, hypothesis testing and correlation/regression followed the same procedures. Result: 1) Being an honor system take-home or in lab computer exam resulted in the same grade distribution as for
a traditional in class test
where students did calculations. A large note card/cheat sheet was allowed. 2) Using computers, more material was easily covered with less work and anxiety. 3) Only the better students learned more, much more. Students for open enrollment college classes had for 35 years divided into four groups. Group one learned central tendency but got lost on probability. They completed the course requirements but never really learned much. They passed with low grades because of my easy grading procedures. Group two calculated some probability functions. Hypothesis testing was poor as they ran into trouble deciding which Excel menu procedure to use for each of the eight different problems on the take home/lab exam. I had warned them that over 35 years grades always went down with each tests but many were still disappointed. Some of these adults worked really hard but having to choose between finite and normal distributions, large and small samples and then between one sample and two samples eventually led to mistakes. Group three often got the statistic correct but then had difficulty determining to accept or reject the no change null hypothesis. All the studying in the world does not help because Group four had one final hurdle to explain what the answer meant. They had correctly accepted or rejected the null hypothesis but what did it mean? They needed to write in the analysis section that the new procedure was faster or had less defects or that the new diet was better/worse or else it was back to group three and a B grade. Less than six from a class of twenty-five got almost everything correct, They got 4 points on almost every problem. A very few indeed got everything correct. I used this system for about six classes before retiring in 2002. All had the same result.
Base on
this experience, I believe the computer will help the better students testing was all about. |
2.
Classroom Technology
Holds Some Students Back
by
Natalie Wexler Dec 19, 2019
"A flipped college math class
resulted in short-term gains for white students,
male students, and those who
were already strong in math.
Others saw no benefit, with the result that
performance gaps became wider."
"College students who used laptops or
digital devices in their classes did worse on exams.
Eighth graders who took
Algebra I online did much worse than those who took the course in person."
Editor:
Same result after 20 years.
All the money and time in the world
will not change the fact that
"intelligence is normally distribution."
Is My Poor Memory a
Learning Disability?
I found elementary school
academically difficult. Good grades
in arithmetic, average grades in science and history, and poor
grades in reading, spelling, and language. Reading aloud was my
biggest worry and spelling a close second. I could not pronounce
many of the words when reading to my fourth grade group and
hated the awkward seconds it took for a group member to help.
As for spelling, forget it. I always missed the first word and sat down.
I wonder if just sitting while the game continued affected me.
Thankfully, my 4th grade national reading comprehension scores
were about two years above grade so I realized I might have been
dumb, (as in verbally challenged), but I wasn't stupid.
A few years ago while trying to remember who sang the 1960's song
"Down Town" I thought about the picture of the singer on my record
album that I had played many times and Patella Clarks name
popped into my head. I tried thinking of a picture when trying to
remember another name and again it worked. Retired in my late
fifties I had discovered a memory trick.
Memory had made my early school life difficult. Could memory
training have helped? Hard work and a liking for history had gotten
me B's and C's while my competition did little work and earned
better grades. Hard work did not help in French 1. I had no chance.
If there was any way to get a C grade and take French 2 and sit next
to Patricia, the most beautiful girl in the world, I would have found
a way.
However, it was not to be!
The Perils of Teaching the Tough Stuff
Teaching mathematics is arguably the most difficult task faced by
teachers. Teaching me English was extremely difficult. The following
incidents happened to me while teaching an adult evening statistics
class. I was stressing the importance of drawing and then labeling a
normal curve to determine the seventh decile when a primeval
scream "I CAN'T DO IT' shattered the classroom. I calmed the
student down but he was right. The circuits were not there.
This was not his fault. For another student understood that 4x = 16
means if four x's add to 16, x = 4. Some students then cannot determine t
While working with a
class to work the kinks out of
Test-Prep Mathematics
a student complained that I was
trying to trick him. I had accidently
put a change a fraction to a percentage problem in the change a
fraction to a decimal section of a problem set. I said I was sorry, that
it was a mistake and then asked what is the answer? What is 1/4 as
a percentage? He said I will have to work it out. I said just look at it
and guess the answer. He said let me do it. He had not learned
enough about mathematics in 12 plus years of school and even
given my great free book Test-Prep Mathematics he still didn't
intuitively know that 25% is one-quarter!
he value of x when 5x =25. About 25% just cannot do it.
An important town official dropped my evening college accounting
class because he just could not do debits and credit. He took it the
next term from a teacher that did not teach debits and credits in our
introductory accounting class. I taught said accounting class for forty
plus years and did not learn the second teacher was correct. Debits
and credits were not appropriate for a class of open enrollment
business students. Some cannot do it. My class was a waste of a
student's time. This is similar to Algebra for average student.
Will Stagnate Median Income Hurt Our Children?
Academics are scholarly. Pure knowledge in their area of expertise
is of prime importance. Educational academics often begin by
teaching their specialty. Some become department heads and
determine curriculum content and academic standards.
Educators enjoy the classroom environment and seeing someone
learn important economic and personally useful material.
Educators enjoy the classroom environment and seeing someone learn important
economically important and personally useful material.
Educators believe intelligence is normally distributed. hey get discouraged
when teaching a curriculum designed by academics because said curriculum
is often beyond the grasp of academically average students.
Textbook content is controlled by academics who are influenced by their
prejudice toward the purely academic and publishers who are concerned with profit.
Difficult
Concepts
1. Thinking on the margin example^{1}
2. Multistep word problems
3. A double negative makes a positive
4. Unlike fractions
5. Decimals and percentages are similar
6. Debits and credits
7. Prejudice for causes many problems
See
Long-Term Testing Results
Difficult Learning Examples
1.
Two-person golf teams A and B play an 18 hole golf contest
in
which the team having the least strokes to complete a hole wins the
hole.
Ties are ignored. When falling two holes behind a press is created.
It is an additional match for the remaining holes.
After 12 holes Team B
leads by two, they are two-up.
Team A presses. After 16 holes team B is
down three on the first match.
Which team leads the press? It is amazing
how many golfers do not know the answers.
Lawyers! Business Owners! If
the first is two down then the additional match is one down.
2. Teaching mathematics is
arguably the most difficult task faced by teachers.
Teaching me English was
difficult. The following incidents happened to me
while teaching an adult
evening statistics class. I was stressing the importance
of drawing and then
labeling a normal curve to determine the seventh decile
when a primeval scream "I CAN'T DO IT' shattered the classroom.
I calmed the student down but he was
right. The circuits were not there. This was not his fault.
3. For another student understood
that 4x = 16 means if four x's add to 16, x = 4.
Some students then cannot
determine the value of x when 5x =25. About 25% just cannot do it.
While working with a class to
work the kinks out of Test-Prep Mathematics a student
complained that I was
trying to trick him when I had accidently put a change a fraction
to a
percentage problem in the change a fraction to a decimal section of a problem
set.
He said let me do it. He had
not learned enough about mathematics in 12 plus years of school and
even given my great free book Test-Prep Mathematics he still didn't intuitively know that
25% is one-quarter!
4. An important town official
dropped my evening college accounting class because he just could not do
debits and credit.
He took it the next term from a teacher that did not teach
debits and credits in our introductory accounting class.
I taught said
accounting class for forty plus years and did not learn the second teacher was
correct.
Debits and credits were not appropriate for a class of open
enrollment business students.
Some cannot do it. My class was a waste of a
student's time. This is similar to Algebra for average student.
5. A young
lady in my statistics class heard this example and at the break she thanked me
as she had been told
her poor math ability made her very average and being very good at English was
not good enough.
She also said page two of the
Quick Notes Philosophy
at the front of her workbook I had provided made her feel much better.
Sacrificing self-confidence to make someone a little better at anything is one
of the biggest mistake of our generation.
I followed most of the
suggestions made by the consultant/coauthor Pam Cohen
for our free
Test-Prep
Mathematics book.
Her suggestion we not
use a normal curve as the model in the statistics section was not one of them.
She felt the data was often not normally distributed and non-symmetrical data
would be better.
I felt the normal curve is one of the most important concepts
to be taught and many students
leaving school do not comprehend this
importance. Life is about balance.
There
are a few very tall people and a few very short people.
Most are people are in
the middle.
A few people have aggressive alpha personalities and others have milk-toast docile personalities.
A few have academic gifts while a few people have low mental ability.
A few are oversexed in relation to the middle and few could care less about sex.
Most people are in the middle. Personal traits
may not perfectly normal
but they are close enough to help us understand our
dynamic world.
It is very possible human
characteristics become more variable as a society
becomes wealthier and also
the length of time increases between major sacrifices are asked of her citizens.
The positive extremes get more positive and the negative extremes get more
negative.
Some Normal distributions become skewed and a very few become
bimodal.
Do weight, bullying, income and satisfaction with government fall
into this model? Others?
Nurses Taking My Statistic Class
A friend of mine was earning a
nursing degree from a well-respected liberal arts college
and fearing the
possibility of a very poor grade; she signed up to take statistics at one of
the
easier evening campuses that I managed for Franklin Pierce College. I agreed
with
her logic but the campus she planned to attend had a very demanding
teacher and a low grade
was possible so I suggested a campus change. She did
and was pleased with the result.
She got a C grade.
Why a nursing student who was
poor at mathematics was required to take statistics is beyond me!
I
often asked nurses who were visiting Franklin Pierce College why they were
taking my evening statistics class.
Many said their home school required
statistics and evenings were convenient and sometimes easier.
Thinking that
statistics really was not that important to being a
nurse, I asked why it was required.
Apparently, they had the same question and
learned it was required for undergraduates because
it was needed for a nursing
master's degree dissertation.
Well why not require it for graduate students
and not as undergraduates?
Statistics is a good for those
who are mathematically inclined but it is useless
for those who were not so
inclined. Take it, be miserable, finish and forget it.
This also applies to
business students. Knowing how much many of my students disliked statistics;
I
wanted the requirement removed. Make it an elective!
I found myself discussing this
requirement with a woman possessing a doctorate degree
in nursing and she
insisted statistics was necessary for a master's degree and taking it
as an
undergraduate got it out of the way.
We agreed to disagree but just before
parting, I asked her for the topic of her doctorate dissertation.
Hearing the
title I said, "that doesn't require statistics" and she replied,
"I chose to
do a non-quantitative dissertation."
Asked about her master's dissertation
she said none had been required!
Why do academics set academic
requirements that can only be reasonably accomplished
and applied by the top
students? To push wages up (especialy theie own) by limiting supply.
Does it make them feel good
about themselves by making nursing a more difficult degree?
I did it so you
can do it! To optimize revenue per student as limiting statistics to
students
who like mathematics would mean statistics classes would be economically
inefficient?
Do they want to create a feeling of control?
All of the Above?
Please
e-mail antonw@ix.netcom.com with thoughts and suggestions.
Return to
textbooksfree.org/Education Libraries
My Keene State College 1990
Economics 101 class was given data showing
that average college
graduates earned much more than high school graduates.
They had seen it
before. That is why most of them were in college. Then I showed
them
median income of college graduates. They were disappointed with the
lower number.
I explained how some high-income earners made the mean
higher than the median.
Then I showed them data indicating the bottom
quarter of college graduates earned
about the same income as
high school's top-quarter. They became even more unsettled.
Finally, I
gave them the lowest income statistic of all, the bottom quarter for those
with just
a bachelor's degree. There were no professional degrees and
higher in this group.
This was the true measure of the earnings of an
academically poor college graduate.
From the back of the room, I heard “you
mean they are ripping us off".
No, I said, ”they are selling
something many incorrectly feel is best for everyone.”
It took about twenty years, but
I pleased to report that because of the Great Recession,
mass media
coverage of the decreasing economic return from a college education is no
longer sporadic.
However, like any unwelcome news, parents, teachers, and
politicians will be the last to react properly.
The collateral damage from an
overly academic public education system
for all students has been
substantial. We have lost an entire generation of young
black American
males who didn't finish high school and have few life skills .
Now, some
unsuccessful middle class white males live with their parents and
do
little but play video games.
This group is
committing suicide at ever-increasing
rate.
College debt is over $1,200, 000,000 000 and the over supply of
graduates
will keep their salaries low. Most non-graduates will default on
debts.
Social unrest is mounting.
Collateral damage will continue
to grow
unless responsible people allow an educational system
that improves the well-being of all students.
It is time to end our love affair with overly academic education.
See Proposed Education Manifesto leads to Educating the Class of 2034
Two B’s or an A and a C,
That is the Question
Many years ago I
began asking my evening adult college students
which was better, two B's or an
A and a C. Almost all said 2 B's.
Being well-rounded was their reason.
Then I rephrased the question.
1. You
need a serious operation and must choose a doctor.
Do you choose a doctor with average in bedside
manner and average in operating ability
or one with a C in bedside manner and
an A in operating ability?
I'll take the famous Dr. House every time.
2. The IRS has
questions about my tax return. I want the best tax accountant I
can find and
their auditing ability and personality mean nothing. NOTHING!
What to Teach, That is the Question
Quick Notes
Statistics
began as class handouts for a
day class I was teaching to traditional Franklin Pierce College
students.
The math department chair noticed I was teaching the expected
value of x and mentioned skipping it as being not important.
Not
interested in collateral damage, I said nothing but felt what was
important should be determined by student needs.
Since many were business
majors, the E(x) was important.
She like many mathematicians stressed the
counting rules and other theoretical probability concepts.
I didn't
because the population at schools like Franklin Pierce consist of mostly
of "Middle Prepared Students"
who not do not need theoretical probability;
most had average mathematically ability and had little use for difficult
mathematical concepts.
She later became very interested in the stock
market where she used decision theory based upon E(x)
to
trade on the Internet
A Sad Ending to My 35-Year Teaching Career
Looking back, I taught a few
poor classes. Infrequently I taught a subject the first time. It is
difficult. Once, I had a major problem.
One of the adult students who
knew more about investments than He made sure everyone in the room
knew it.
It was a long eight weeks.
Another time I inadvertently
talked down to a class in hopes of making them comfortable.
After a few classes, I knew something was wrong
and asked the class.
They pointed out my indiscretion but it was too
late. It was another long eight weeks.
My last class was my worst. I
had worked hard to use the Internet in a 2002 statistics class.
A
student who possessed enough Geekability to help with her career
advancement saved me.
Another student in the class really annoyed me
after the first test with his open desire for a higher grade.
It
continued after tests two and test three. I was so upset that I did not
award many A grades.
The student who had helped me was so upset with her
grade that she quit school.
This was the first I was aware
one of my actions had caused a student to quit school.
That is the
Cardinal Sin for a teachers. When an adult learner quits
because of your teaching it is time to do something else.
I retired! Thanks!
Walter Antoniotti
Your knowledge
mind will always try to capture and control the awareness path.
This defeats the purpose, and letting go of control is the hardest thing
we knowledge based people can do.
Secondly, it is an interesting
practice to read the Bible, Zen, or any books on consciousness and see
if you can read it as “not knowledge”.
See if you can read
the sayings of Jesus and hear it as not a set of words to live by, but a
pointing to getting out of your knowledge and into your awareness.
Tom Lane 7/11/06.
Surprises from my first and only football bowl game in Orlando-2007