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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 2/1/2006 8:17:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 8:45:08 AM EDT by Beleg]
I'm a teacher. I teach English, but we cover all kinds of topics, so I figure we can work this idea into some unit somewhere. I am going to rearrange my grading as follows, on two different units.

Unit 1: I am going to take the students who get the best grades in my class, and take away up to 40% of their points (depending on how well they do on their tests/assignments) and I am going to give those points to the students who are doing the worst in class. The students will know that this is how I am going to grade from the beginning. I will then see how much the students learn in the unit by giving an oral exam at the end. This exam will be the only grade that really counts (the students will not know this).

Unit 2: I am going to allow students to "invest" in one another. Students will be allowed to wager a certain number of points on the performance of a fellow student. Students who do well will earn bonus points for those students who invest in them; they will also earn extra credit for themselves for every student who "earns" based on their performance. Students who "lose" points for their classmates will likewise lose points overall in the class. Again, at the end, I will give an oral exam to each student (which will result in their "real" grade).

What am I trying to teach?

Which unit do you think will result in a better education for my students?

PS all credit to my buddy EZB, who thought this whole thing up.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 8:18:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Beleg:
What am I trying to teach?



How to waste time on something that most of them won't understand even after you explain it?
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 8:19:32 AM EDT
I like unit 1 better. Teaches the ills of socialism...

Link Posted: 2/1/2006 8:20:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 8:21:04 AM EDT by fight4yourrights]
Unit 1 - everyone will sandbag.


You won't want to be a "best grade" student, since you lose 40% can fall almost into the failing catagory.


IE: why get 95%, only to have it knocked down to 55%?


You are going to get a competition where everyone tries to do less than the others. End result - everyone may end up at 0%


Good lesson in Communism
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 8:29:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Beleg:
I'm a teacher.




LIES!!! you cant be on this board AND be a teacher... dont u know all teachers are libtareds? just like all californians! :p


it sounds like your trying to get the uninvolved students into learning, build teamwork and basic social skills(which children these days are tending to lack, sad comming from a 23 year old...)


honestly i like both the ideas, but i think the 1st one is the one to use... simply for the fact that you will have students essentially partnering up with other good students and leave the crappy ones out to dry(which isnt a bad thing IMO) but it would cause more aggrevation with the students complaining more than they already would.(which would happen with either idea). along with that though, you would probly have altercations between students for not doing well in the second one moreso than the 1st(just anothewr oppinion) due to the fact that students, rather than being forced together will be "banking" on eachother.


just some thoughts.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 8:43:39 AM EDT
Neither system will result in the actual grade of the student; they just THINK that it will. The actual grades are going to come from the oral exams at the end. But which system will cause more or less learning? And do you think that the artificial grades will have a particular trend?

I think that Unit 1 will have low grades all around.

Unit 2 will have higher grades, overall, but some kids who will still fail.

This is teaching communism/socialism versus capitalism, of course.

The big question, of course, is will one system help the kids LEARN more? And I personally think that the final oral test scores will be higher in Unit 2. But I don't know, of course.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 8:47:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Beleg:
This is teaching communism/socialism versus capitalism, of course.



Just my observation, but most students have enough trouble with the original English course that they wouldn't understand long words like those, anyway, let alone the point of the experiment.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 8:49:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By wolfman97:

Originally Posted By Beleg:
This is teaching communism/socialism versus capitalism, of course.



Just my observation, but most students have enough trouble with the original English course that they wouldn't understand long words like those, anyway, let alone the point of the experiment.



Don't worry, I teach the smart 'uns. They'll have it figured out in about a day. But they'll still have fun with it.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 9:01:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Beleg:

What am I trying to teach?





How to get fired from a socialist enclave of a job in 2 easy steps?

Link Posted: 2/1/2006 9:12:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 3DVR_M4:

Originally Posted By Beleg:

What am I trying to teach?





How to get fired from a socialist enclave of a job in 2 easy steps?





Nope, I'm tenured. I am untouchable unless I molest somebody. Or maybe if I smoke crack in the class.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 9:20:00 AM EDT
Give them little red books full of mindless cliche's and see how many will memorize them just to suck up to you.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 9:46:43 AM EDT
Here's my take on what would happen:

Unit 1: Overall scores will be low; they won't learn much because there's no motivation to do well if they're going to be penalized for it.

Unit 2: Most of the students will not do real well (mediocre to failing), but you will have a few super-excellers. The students will figure out that if they invest in the right person, then they will benefit, but they don't have to do the learning themselves, they only have to encourage the one or two students that they invested in to do well. (That is, if I'm understanding your method correctly). Now, if you make it such that the investors have nothing to gain, but the investees do, that would make it interesting. The investees would have to use some serious social skills to convince the investors to invest in them.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 10:00:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By CSeaBass:

Originally Posted By Beleg:
I'm a teacher.




LIES!!! you cant be on this board AND be a teacher... dont u know all teachers are libtareds? just like all californians! :p


it sounds like your trying to get the uninvolved students into learning, build teamwork and basic social skills(which children these days are tending to lack, sad comming from a 23 year old...)


honestly i like both the ideas, but i think the 1st one is the one to use... simply for the fact that you will have students essentially partnering up with other good students and leave the crappy ones out to dry(which isnt a bad thing IMO) but it would cause more aggrevation with the students complaining more than they already would.(which would happen with either idea). along with that though, you would probly have altercations between students for not doing well in the second one moreso than the 1st(just anothewr oppinion) due to the fact that students, rather than being forced together will be "banking" on eachother.


just some thoughts.



you may be the only one here with those "thoughts". Don't you think the economics lesson is more obvious?
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 10:02:07 AM EDT
why not just teach english???

I understand what your intentions are, however, in my opinion, you'd be just wasting your time and upsetting parents.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 10:43:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 10:45:48 AM EDT by CK1]
Instead of an off-the-top 40% cut from the top students, use a progressive tax system. 10% for points between 50 and 65. 15% between 65 and 70. 20% between 70 and 85. 25% 85 and up.

That way a student with a 95 isn't going to get walloped four letter grades for doing well. The student loses only 9.25 points under that system so it won't convince the bright ones to stop working completely but it will raise a few eyebrows when their parents complain. Throw the usual liberal agenda at them to shut them up. Top performing students can afford losing more points than the mediocre ones and in all fairness, those who are more "fortunate" should help the "unfortunate" blah, blah, blah.

As for the stock market fascimile, you may need to consider an intermediate grading method to simulate an economy. Instead of percent grades, just award points whose total is divided by a benchmark. For example, three exams could be 200 points apiece and at the end of the unit, divide the sum by the benchmark of 600 points. This allows for the "creation of wealth." As a corporation of students continually add points to the group's aggregate grade, each share represents more points. So one share represents 1% of 563 points one week could be 1% of 785 next week thus encouraging individual students to buy shares (with their own points) when they're low and sell when they're high. You would need to create a class index to keep track of the overall economy so students know when a corporation is beating the index, thus making it worthwhile to sell and collect the value of the share.

So if you've got a slick kid, he'll build a diversified portfolio which contains a little bit of everyone. As corporations come and go, some will split their options, others may be penalized for cheating, he'll move around assets. His investment of 256 points initially might sell for 879 points at the end. Compare this to Joe Schmoe who puts all of his money into a corporation that did worse than he did and redeems his investment at a loss.

Depending on the comprehension of your students, the stock market idea might be a bit too indepth and complex. Hell, the average adult on the street isn't familiar with the stock market after a lifetime of casual observation.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 10:53:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 10:54:02 AM EDT by Bubbatheredneck]


You were hired to teach English.

As much as I agree with your politics, I would be pissed as hell at your "experiments" on my kids for your own kicks.

Do your f**king job. You're no better than a libtard teacher if you pull crap like that.


ETA Thanks for yet another example why tenure is a bad idea.

Link Posted: 2/1/2006 10:59:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 11:00:56 AM EDT by DK-Prof]

Originally Posted By Bubbatheredneck:

You were hired to teach English.

As much as I agree with your politics, I would be pissed as hell at your "experiments" on my kids for your own kicks.

Do your f**king job. You're no better than a libtard teacher if you pull crap like that.





+1


As an aside, I have never understood what the purpose of tenure for teaching positions is.

(Not criticising you - good for you that you have it - but I don't understand the purpose).
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:03:21 AM EDT
I'd drop your class like a bad habit.

Having a real grade system that is unknown to the students? Screw that.

I'd be pissed as hell - and take it up with the Dean.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:04:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bubbatheredneck:

You were hired to teach English.

As much as I agree with your politics, I would be pissed as hell at your "experiments" on my kids for your own kicks.

Do your f**king job. You're no better than a libtard teacher if you pull crap like that.


ETA Thanks for yet another example why tenure is a bad idea.





Actually, It has been proven over and over again that incorporating something that the students can relate to, or have an interest in, and use to produce a product, will help them to better understand the concepts(think performance type of instruction).

If he just teaches the concepts of English, his students will probably learn less English, than if he uses is performance method. He is using the economics lesson as a platform to learn English.(Very cool, by the way. Here we call the interdisciplinary teaching, and it is not only encouraged by the parents, but required).

But, of course, your the expert, with all your teaching experience.

Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:11:02 AM EDT
Stop all that BS and just teach our kids.
Teach them A B Cs and to read and write.
We, parents will teach about religion, morality, right from wrong, work ethics, etc.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:11:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 11:12:35 AM EDT by DK-Prof]

Originally Posted By epeescott:


Having a real grade system that is unknown to the students?



That really is the other problem (apart from the English teacher taking it upon himself to teach political science). Personally, I think it is inappropriate to tell the students they are being graded on one criteria, and then afterwards tell them what they were really being graded on. The teacher (authority figure) lying to students just so he can make a clever point that is unrelated to his class, but that he personally finds interesting - is not appropriate.


Perhaps the SAME LESSON could be accomplished in one class, but laying out the different system to them, and asking which one they would prefer? Pointing out how the slacker students, and the ones who EXPECT low grades would prefer the more "socialised" system, and how such a system would discourage the high performers from putting in much effort might capture much of the same point, but without having to actually implement it (and lie to students about how they are being graded). I still don't think that the English teacher should be making that point, but if you wanted to - I think that is a quicker and more ethical way to do so.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:19:24 AM EDT
Just to give you nay-sayers another example of Interdisciplinary teaching, here is one example of what goes on in my classroom.

I teach a taxidermy unit in a class called Vocational Art.

Obviously, it fits the class.....Vocation=Taxidermist, but I also incorporate Environmental Science, Biology, and Agronomy into the lesson.

We go over the biology of birds as they are skinned. We look at the similarities of muscle groups, and bone structure to our own. Students use the bodies to learn the digestive tracks in another class. My students even learn a little agronomy from the unit, by learning the what plant life would be appropriate for the bird that they are mounting.

I also have the students write a paper(think teaching English; their papers are scored using 6 traits, just as they are in their English classes) about the career of Taxidermy. They must research how to become one, where to go to school, what the costs might be, how long it will take, ect.

So, maybe I should just stick with Art? In the district I teach in, all teachers are required to do units like this one. We don't have a choice. The students enjoy seeing the weaving of the different topics into a single product.

When I was in high school, I was learning Physics and Calculus at the same time, but the teachers never took the opportunity to use interdisciplinary instruction. I would be in Physics, and see a calc problem that we were working on in Calculus. I would mention it to the teachers, but they just kind of shrugged and said..."so?". I would have done so much better in Calculus if I would have had a reason/vehicle to understand what I was doing, such as Physics, where I did very well.


Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:22:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 11:24:51 AM EDT by Big_Louie]
If it were an economics class, it would be an excellent, even brilliant, idea. But, it's English. Not the place.

To overcome the ethical problems with the idea, make the two units a variable portion of the final grade and then set those portions very low come the end of the semester.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:25:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By epeescott:


Having a real grade system that is unknown to the students?



That really is the other problem (apart from the English teacher taking it upon himself to teach political science). Personally, I think it is inappropriate to tell the students they are being graded on one criteria, and then afterwards tell them what they were really being graded on. The teacher (authority figure) lying to students just so he can make a clever point that is unrelated to his class, but that he personally finds interesting - is not appropriate.


Perhaps the SAME LESSON could be accomplished in one class, but laying out the different system to them, and asking which one they would prefer? Pointing out how the slacker students, and the ones who EXPECT low grades would prefer the more "socialised" system, and how such a system would discourage the high performers from putting in much effort might capture much of the same point, but without having to actually implement it (and lie to students about how they are being graded). I still don't think that the English teacher should be making that point, but if you wanted to - I think that is a quicker and more ethical way to do so.



I like the idea and what you are trying to convey, but I have serious problems with you essentially lying to the kids about where their grades are coming from. I think DKprof has a good suggestion here. You could even have the kids write essays on which they would prefer and why and maybe teach them some actual reasoning skills in the process.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:31:47 AM EDT

An political/educational experiment by me,


And you're supposed to be an English teacher?
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:32:43 AM EDT
Yeah, upon further reflection I have come to realize that I can't actually do this experiment without getting parents completely up in arms, and screwing with kids grades (which was not my original intention, if you'll read the first post closely). While my original philosophy was that none of the moved points or bonus stuff would actually count (it would just be to illustrate a point about socialism or capitalism) I have come to realize that my presentation of the system to the class would, in and of itself, affect the kids' learning habits. This would in turn affect their grade, no matter how I decided to assess them at the end of the unit.

I am going to talk to the social studies/economics teachers about it though.

Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:34:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By moparman71:
why not just teach english???

I understand what your intentions are, however, in my opinion, you'd be just wasting your time and upsetting parents.



I would be teaching English; just the grading system would change. That affects what I do, not what the kids would do.

Except that it would... see my previous post.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 11:39:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 11:41:06 AM EDT by Beleg]

Originally Posted By Bubbatheredneck:

You were hired to teach English.

As much as I agree with your politics, I would be pissed as hell at your "experiments" on my kids for your own kicks.

Do your f**king job. You're no better than a libtard teacher if you pull crap like that.


ETA Thanks for yet another example why tenure is a bad idea.





I'm throwing out ideas here. Not experimenting for kicks. And if I used the system when teaching 1984, or Brave New World, or Atlas Shrugged, or a million other books, it would be a legitimate tool for analysis of themes within the literature.

PS Tenure is a bad idea. But I am not sure that this is necessarily an example of why. Hmmm... a teacher with ideas about tying real world socio-political situations into the everyday experiences of a high-school student using a system with which the student is familiar, while examining literature exploring those same themes. Yeah, I'd sure deserve to be fired for that. You're right.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 12:07:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By guns762:
......But, of course, your the expert, with all your teaching experience.




Well, since you seem to be the enlightened one, I will let you detail my teaching experience to everyone.


Link Posted: 2/1/2006 12:12:57 PM EDT
On the grading question, why not just make it a low percentage of the overall grade? It won't be worth as much as other projects. It could give you the best of both worlds; the students will still see the importance in the project, and put fourth the effort, but in the end it won't kill/change their grade all that much.

Just thinking out loud here. We had a economics teacher that did a similar project using the DOW. Kids' grades came from how well they "invested" in the stock market. Students saw the purpose of doing research on stocks, but if they made a choice that turned bad; in the end, it didn't kill their grade. The students seemed to love the project, and learned a lot about the stock market.

I would also add that using a verbal test only is a poor way to measure a students knowledge. I think you know that many students will have a very difficult time verbalizing answers on the spot. If you added in a paper, and possibly a written quiz, along with the verbal measurements, your testing would be much more legitimate.


Link Posted: 2/1/2006 7:12:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By guns762:
Just to give you nay-sayers another example of Interdisciplinary teaching, here is one example of what goes on in my classroom.

I teach a taxidermy unit in a class called Vocational Art.

Obviously, it fits the class.....Vocation=Taxidermist, but I also incorporate Environmental Science, Biology, and Agronomy into the lesson.

We go over the biology of birds as they are skinned. We look at the similarities of muscle groups, and bone structure to our own. Students use the bodies to learn the digestive tracks in another class. My students even learn a little agronomy from the unit, by learning the what plant life would be appropriate for the bird that they are mounting.

I also have the students write a paper(think teaching English; their papers are scored using 6 traits, just as they are in their English classes) about the career of Taxidermy. They must research how to become one, where to go to school, what the costs might be, how long it will take, ect.

So, maybe I should just stick with Art? In the district I teach in, all teachers are required to do units like this one. We don't have a choice. The students enjoy seeing the weaving of the different topics into a single product.

When I was in high school, I was learning Physics and Calculus at the same time, but the teachers never took the opportunity to use interdisciplinary instruction. I would be in Physics, and see a calc problem that we were working on in Calculus. I would mention it to the teachers, but they just kind of shrugged and said..."so?". I would have done so much better in Calculus if I would have had a reason/vehicle to understand what I was doing, such as Physics, where I did very well.




I don't think anyone is necessarily questioning an interdisciplinary approach to teaching. However, I would ASSUME that woudl normally result for school policy and coordination among teachers/staff, not from individual teachers just deciding to incorporate topics that they personally find interesting. I think your own physics/calc example probably illustrates your implicit agreement with this.

Would you be as happy with a math teacher who decided to build some sex ed lessons into the math curriculum, because he thinks that 10 year olds don't know enough about anal sex, and it's really important?

Or a geography teacher deciding that his class is a great place to teach Christian scripture, because he feels that the religion class is not teaching it properly?

Silly examples, to be sure, but nonetheless the point is that despite the benefits of interdisciplinary teaching, it should be a result of specific goals that are consistent with school cirricula and overall strategy, not just individual teacher interests (no matter how well-intentioned).


I had several "interdisplicnary" classes in college, and they were TOTALY CRAP, because the instructor was just teaching what HE thought was interesting, instead of what the class was supposed to be about. Example - an advanced german literarture class, in which we spent most classes watching movies, because the professor was a movie buff. Some of the movies were in ENGLISH, but his excuse was that they were based on books by German authors - and the discussion were all about cinematography, acting, etc. The class should have been about classical German literature, and instead was total bullshit and a complete waste of time - but that asshole could also have claimed being "interdisciplinary" as his excuse for not doing his job properly.

So I agree with you that it is a great concept in principle, but that doesn't mean that people don't abuse it.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 7:35:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

I don't think anyone is necessarily questioning an interdisciplinary approach to teaching. However, I would ASSUME that woudl normally result for school policy and coordination among teachers/staff, not from individual teachers just deciding to incorporate topics that they personally find interesting. I think your own physics/calc example probably illustrates your implicit agreement with this.

So I agree with you that it is a great concept in principle, but that doesn't mean that people don't abuse it.



I would say that people saying "just teach English, like you are supposed to," are saying exactly that.

I also think that any approach to teaching can be abused, and probaby is, but I don't think people should write off the whole approach as being wrong, as some have done here. A bad teacher is a bad teacher, and will most likely screw up any technique, or coast as your example shows. A good one, like I think that Beleg probably is, probably keeps his students engaged using interdisciplinary techniques, such as he has described.

I would imagine that any unit is probably run by a curriculum coordinator, and or follows state or district standards, before being introduced into the classroom. At least that is the protocall in my district.

Of course, as the Fine Arts Dept. Head, one and only Art teacher in the high school, our meetings are quite short, and I usually get what I want.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 7:46:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 7:49:47 PM EDT by leakycow]
Fellow teacher here.

Beleg, I like your creativity, but I'm glad that it appears you're backing off.

Aside from the parents (and then ultimately your admin--I don't care if you're tenured or not, this is one of those things that could blow up WAY bigger than you ever intended it to) you are setting up a system in your classroom that is doing this:

INTENTIONALLY motivating kids to UNDERPERFORM.

Yes, I realize that that is the exact intended purpose of Unit 1, but my god...what will you do when it's over? You'll have a huge percentage of students that parents have entrusted to you to learn who have completely tanked subject material in your curriculum. How will you catch them up while not gutting the rest of your school year?

Again, my professional suggestion is to let somebody else try this. I'm sure some Ph. D is needing something to hang his hat on.

eta: and don't forget carryover effects. Kids will naturally embrace this kind of "revolutionary thinking" as a sort of "question authority" movement. Some misguided youth will be very likely to go to their chemistry or US History class and take the scope of your experiment to other disciplines.
Link Posted: 2/2/2006 5:40:39 AM EDT
If I could invest some of my points in one student, it would be to the dumbest girl with the biggest tits. In fact all of the guys would do the same. That girl would have the higest grade in the class.
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