plainoldme wrote: timberlandko wrote:
As the aphorism has it, "If the student hasn't learned, the teacher hasn't taught". Its as simple as that.
I never heard this alleged aphorism. However, whether or not this is well worn old saw, it is demonstrably untrue.
Unless the teacher in question is a tutor and the student is the only one pursuing a course of study, this statement does not apply.
Nonsense - it is self-evidently true; for instance, substitute "If the bread isn't baked, the baker hasn't baked", or "If the barn isn't painted, the painter hasn't painted" - same thing.
We can not look at a teacher, heading, in elementary school, a classroom of up to 30 students (there were 60 in my first and second grade classrooms) and suppose that none of the students there learned. The problem becomes more pronounced at the high school level where a teacher again may have up to 30 students at a time in the classroom, multiplied by 5 periods per day. It is highly unlikely that 150 kids will fail to learn anything in the course of a year.
Another way of checking the logic/reality of that aphorism is: when a child does not progress in a specific area from year to year, through a succession of teachers, then it is not the fault of "the" teacher that the child does not learn. Consider that a national curriculum -- which could possibly have standardized methods -- could make the situation worse. Imagine if the "see -it/ say-it" method of teaching reading became the national norm. We'd have a higher percentage of kids who can not read than we do now.
Red herring and straw man - the argument is that it is the teacher's responsibility to teach (after all, that is the job function of a teacher), and there is no supposition " ... that none of the students there learned". If an individual student hasn't learned, regardless why, the teaching process has failed to teach that student.
Now, as said before, "teacher" is to be understood as comprising the entire educational establishment, from parent through administrator on up to legislator; the blame for the current sorry state of American Public Education falls along the entire chain, with perhaps less blame falling on the hapless front-line classroom teacher than on parents, administrators, and legislators.
I strongly suspect that a great many critics of education use those famous generalities, "they" and "never" and "always" and more. It is patently untrue that everyone can learn. There are some people whose IQs are simply too low. My first job out of college was as a welfare case worker. Some of those people were on welfare because they lacked sufficient intelligence to hold a job. Some kids who fail in school lack sufficient intelligence to pass. I've pointed this out before and one member of this forum immediately accused me of saying that kids today are less intelligent than they were in the past, which isn't what I said at all. Furthermore, my dad told me that he went to school with kids who stayed in the third grade until they were old enough to leave school legally.
Straw man yet again; acknowledged is that special needs exist, and special accommodations must be made in order to determine and meet those special needs - at both ends of the achievement spectrum. Believe it or not, about half the folks out there are of below-average intelligence - and about half are of above average intelligence; that's the way averages work. None the less, there is a vast middle range, and that vast middle range is the demographic defining the "typical" student, the student of not particularly "special" need.
Which brings me to another verifiable fact: 75% of special needs students fail standardized tests in math. Now, 11% of the students in this country are in special ed. Is the number too high? There are some kids who should not be in special ed. A few end up classified as such because of health problems. There are parents who want the services of special ed and manipulate the system so that there kids are in SPED, depriving more needy and more deserving students of services. I fear with the continued deterioration of the environment, that the percentage of kids in SPED will increase.
However, lets return to the 75% who will fail math. What does that tell you? That they just aren't going to learn and that they are the kids that should be in SPED.
Irrelevant - established and stipulated is that "special needs" exist and must be accommodated. Just as not everyone able to drive a car will be able to compete at Formula One level, not everyone able to learn will be able to master theoretic astrophysics; that not withstanding, an awful lot of driving gets done outside of competition, and an awful lot of work gets done outside of theoretic astrophysics. "Special" means just that - "special", outside the normal range, to one side or the other, to some extent or another - not every one isn't
"special" as regards learning ability, by definition, most
are not "special" is such regard, the majority forms the measurement benchmark from which are determined both "above" and "below" average.