Thursday, May 29, 2014

Education Funny of the Day - No Cursive for You!

 From an article in Linkara, about different experiences with learning and teachers.

The American school system is not here to educate us or to encourage us to learn; it’s here to keep us in line and silent. It’s here to keep us from deviating and being our own people and forming our own ideas. Don’t let it win.

There are plenty of amazing teachers who go the extra mile, in public or private schools, but it’s very sad and pretty mentally dangerous when teachers like those mentioned above not only refuse to do so but tamp down creativity in various ways. It sucks :/


katyanoctis:


meximeximan:

carpediemtomorrow:

rustboro-city:

svviggle:

kastortheunlockable:

stunningpicture:

My 7 year old son was shot down by his 1st grade teacher

The american public education system in a nutshell tho

My third grade teacher actually had a conversation with my mom that I was reading to well and told her to stop having me read at home

My first grade teacher said that it was problematic that I was reading ahead of the rest of the kids in my grade and asked my parents to stop letting me read Harry Potter.
My fourth grade teacher thought it was wrong for my dad to be teaching me complex math because it fascinated me.
My elementary school music teacher hated the way my piano teacher taught me, and how I was more advanced than many of her students, and so told me, in front of my peers and my mother, that I was not good enough to participate in the state solo festival. She would not give me the form. We had to procure it from the district instead. She also hated how I excelled at reading and playing music for the recorder, and so she refused to give me my “belts” (colored beads to signify our level) and humiliated me in front of the class repeatedly.
My eighth grade algebra teacher used to fail me on take home tests because I didn’t solve problems exactly the way she showed us in class; I used methods that we had learned for other types of problems that also applied to these. She took points off my tests because I didn’t bring a calculator even though I got 100% without it, because I was able to do it by hand. I had to call my father, who is an engineer, down to the school to shout her down and give me back my A in the class.
My 10th grade Spanish teacher yelled at me in front of the class numerous times because she didn’t like the way I took notes; she thought that since I didn’t write every word off the slide, I wasn’t getting it all down. I had to explain to her that people who have taken advanced courses, like AP or IB classes, know that in a fast-paced learning environment you need to take quick shorthand notes that contain the necessary information rather than wasting time writing every word. She almost gave me detention.
My 11th grade English teacher gave me a poor mark on my first short essay because she believed that I was looking up unnecessarily complex words in a thesaurus to try and get better marks. The phrases in question: “laced with expletives” and “bombarded”. She wouldn’t hear any defense from me.
My 11th grade history teacher failed me on an essay about the 1950s because I misread the prompt. Except the prompt wasn’t words; it was a political cartoon. One of the figures was clearly president Eisenhower, but the other I couldn’t place. My teacher would not tell us who it was. I labelled him as the governor of Little Rock Arkansas during the integration period, and wrote an essay about that subject. My teacher said that no, it was Joseph McCarthy, and that there was a small picture of the man in our textbook and therefore I should have recognized him instantly. Half the class, apparently, did not.
The American school system is not here to educate us or to encourage us to learn; it’s here to keep us in line and silent. It’s here to keep us from deviating and being our own people and forming our own ideas. Don’t let it win.

The cursive thing literally happened to me!!!!!! My dad taught me how to write my name in cursive and the teacher made me change it back to print. Wtf.

Before I got to Pre-K, a lot of places called me a prodigy because I learned how to read and understood phonetics incredibly well before the age of 3. My school still wouldn’t accept me as a student until I turned 3, though (my birthday was in December), so I had to wait another year. So I learned addition and subtraction. I got in trouble countless times in Pre-K through 4th grade for “being too smart” before I lost interest a bit and my grades began to drop a little in 5th grade.
When I reached high school, a lot of my friends knew how to play an instrument, or dance ballet, or karate, or do something extra-curricular. My parents couldn’t afford to get me a teacher for any of these things as a child because we were always kind of short on money. My version of my friends’ extra-curriculars was learning and drawing, but school punished me for both of those, so I held myself back.
I still believe to this day that I, and hundreds of other people, would have been more intelligent and excited about life if the education system didn’t demonize learning.

My parents transferred me from the public school on my street to a local catholic school purely because my second grade teacher refused to give me harder work (after my K and 1st grade teachers had done an amazing job of challenging those of us who were smart; my first grade teacher had those of us who could read well start chapter books!). Not only did she cause a huge stink with the principal and mocked me often, a school counselor told my mom that she was too pushy and I would end up anorexic. And I was the one saying I was bored in class.
The catholic school principal was aghast when my parents told her the story and I was placed in classes that challenged me. Hell, my 8th grade teacher got me a separate vocabulary book when I asked for something harder since I had done the one she was teaching already and gave me my own tests for it and everything.
There are plenty of amazing teachers who go the extra mile, in public or private schools, but it’s very sad and pretty mentally dangerous when teachers like those mentioned above not only refuse to do so but tamp down creativity in various ways. It sucks :/


My third grade teacher, during parent teacher conferences, told my parents about how I would often pretend to be an animal, particularly a cat, and how it evidently disrupted the school environment. Her exact words were “his creativity bothers me.”

When my parents asked her if she had asked me to STOP, she replied that she “didn’t want to upset me.”

I only learned this stuff later on, of course, but I’ve had my fill of the education system, frankly. I can tell you stories about the hell that was my middle school. There’s a reason whenever I pass by said Middle School, I always whisper, “Oh look, there’s the hellmouth.”

Although to be fair, the problem with that one was the other students and the administration. The teachers were great.

Except for the speech teacher who turned out to have child porn on his computer. I am frankly quite pleased I didn’t end up joining the lessons of his I had evidently been recommended for.

17 comments:

Cursive Troublemaker said...

Some things haven't changed since the 80s, I see.

Charlie Mas said...

This is what happens when people don't understand that standards are a floor, not a ceiling. That goes for horizontal and vertical alignment as well - they are minimums, not maximums.

Anonymous said...

Way to burst that poor kid's bubble! I imagine he was pretty proud of being able to sign his name in cursive.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

We got the exact same feedback from our first grade teacher in SPS.

NEP

Anne Grey said...

I am a former principal who saw first hand more teachers tamping down creativity than promoting it. It isn't just our country--it happens even more in places like China and France.

KateGladstone said...

Handwriting matters — but does cursive matter? The research is surprising. For instance, it has been documented that legible cursive writing averages no faster than “printed” handwriting of equal or greater legibility. More recently, it has also been documented that cursive does NOT objectively improve the reading, spelling, or language of students who have dyslexia/dysgraphia. (Sources for all research are available on request.)

Further research demonstrates that the fastest, clearest handwriters are neither the “print”-writers nor the cursive writers. The highest speed and highest legibility in handwriting are attained by those who join only some letters, not all of them – making only the simplest of joins, omitting the rest, and using print-like shapes for letters whose printed and cursive shapes disagree.

Reading cursive matters, still — just because cursive exists where one cannot avoid the need to read it. However, even quite young children can be taught to read handwriting which is more complex than what they are taught or encouraged to produce? Reading cursive can be taught in just 30 to 60 minutes — even to five- or six-year-olds, once they read ordinary print. (In fact, now there’s even an iPad app to teach how: named “Read Cursive,” of course — http://appstore.com/readcursive .) So why not simply teach children to _read_ cursive — along with teaching other vital skills, such as some handwriting style that’s actually typical of effective handwriters?

Educated adults increasingly quit cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers from all over North America were surveyed at a conference hosted by Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of cursive textbooks. Only 37 percent wrote in cursive; another 8 percent printed. The majority — 55 percent — wrote a hybrid: some elements resembling “print”-writing, others resembling cursive. When even most handwriting teachers do not themselves use cursive, why mandate it? Don't forbid it, certainly, but why worship it?

Anonymous said...

Both of my kids have run into issues with never having practiced a cursive signature (never taught at school, and it did not occur to us to be needed). Oldest son had his voter's ballot sent back because his signature did not match the one on file (he wings it each time).

More of a hassle was the younger kid, when his passport application was sent back with an official letter, "Only cursive signatures are accepted." So after more applications, delays, and more trips to the Post Office, he had to make up an official cursive signature as an early teen which we hope will be a match years from now when he needs to renew his passport- good luck with that!

A hybrid fan

n said...

I have a Romanian handwriting book from primary and they teach a really beautiful combination manuscript-cursive which is used into adulthood. No changes mid-stream for them.

I had a principal once who decided my D'Nealian trained student with beautiful handwriting needed to change to Handwriting w/out Tears because that was our curriculum. I ignored it.

However, I do have students who are doing some cursive badly - very badly. I want them to learn to control the fine art of handwriting before moving on to a more-complicated(?) or different form. Creativity doesn't always replace practice.

So, I am pretty demanding on the handwriting front at first because they need to practice and practicing proper grips, position, line placement and orientation helps them get better.

No, I don't like the idea that a child can't do his name in cursive as long was he's practicing it correctly. And Aidan'sname is very nicely written. Primary teachers have a lot of bad habits to change unless of course you want a whole bunch of writing that nobody can read.

Still, I'd love to go back to the "art of handwriting" and do it like the Romanians: one beautiful method for life.

Anonymous said...

In France, Chile and Great Britain they start teaching cursive writing when they start learning to write - in kindergarten or its equivalent. This was confirmed to me by friends in each of those countries.

I started teaching cursive at home last year and also downloaded some apps. We set a low bar in schools.

Ann

Lynn said...

Note that the teacher is using the hybrid method. Shouldn't that have been printed?

Anonymous said...

Fun fact, neither here nor there: the cursive we're familiar with was standardized in the 1950's. Other styles were used prior to that. Many are prettier, but if you've ever done archival work, you'll see that some are practically illegible unless you have a 'key.' Not difficult once you know the basics of that style, but if you do any real work with historical documents you basically need a mini-course in your era.

Thus, I've never understood those who hold cursive as some magic mark of sophistication or intelligence. It's not really necessary today, and easy enough to pick up if you need it or want it.

Granted, I wouldn't burst the bubble of a six-year-old, either, especially if he was able to demonstrate that he'd already mastered printing.

-NewB

KateGladstone said...

Re hassles with cursive signature — my own signature avoids that by being about 50% joined although with all the letters "print-like" in form (joins which would be difficult, or which would alter the appearance of the letters, just don't get made by me.) this has always been accepted as cursive — no question has ever even been raised — on passports, voter registration, and everything else.
Furthermore,I've checked with attorneys and there's no legal basis for bureaucratic statements that they must reject a non-cursive signature, (Did you know that about half of former President Carter's White House signatures were print-written? What he signed remains legally binding.)

KateGladstone said...

Re:
"In France, Chile and Great Britain they start teaching cursive writing when they start learning to write - in kindergarten or its equivalent. This was confirmed to me by friends in each of those countries."

Chile's cursive is indeed like ours — the traditional French style is also similar, but (as of a year or is ago, when last I checked), primary schools were now being allowed to choose between a conventional 100%-joined style and a hybrid-like, semi-joined/print-ish that closely resembles italic handwriting. (I can dig up a link to both of them, if you are interested in seeing these.)

In the UK, there is a wide range of school styles which are named "cursive." Some of them are 100% joined!,like conventional USA cursive — but most of those 100%-joined styles use print-style CAPITAKS/b/f/k/r/s/z & would therefore be considered "not cursive" in a USA classroom ... most of the rest (among what gets called "cursive" in the UK) are about 50% joined, with print-like letters throughout, and would DEFINITEKY not be called "cursive" if seen in an American classroom. (This is from observation — I've known a couple of UK families that came to the USA and couldn't figure out why the teacher was telling their children "Your handwriting is not cursive, and must be cursive!" For one family, things got really messy when the teacher publicly called the but a "liar" fir saying that this WAS cursive according to how he'd been taught.)

KateGladstone said...

Re:
"Note that the teacher is using the hybrid method. Shouldn't that have been printed?"

Ha, ha, yes indeed! Most teachers (and other people) who THINK they "print" are actually, subconsciously' hybrid-users — I've seen hybrid-using teachers/parents telling their own kids (who also hybridize) to "please just print, like me" when the kid in fact is HYBRIDIZING just like them!
Even worse — many teachers (and other people) who think they, themselves, write in cursive are actually hybrid-writers and have never noticed that, either: so when they have kids who print (or hybridize), they tell those kids "You must write in cursive, like me" and the kid gets in major trouble if s/he points out how the teacher is REALLY writing ... I have seen kids called everything from "perceptually distorted" to flat-out "liars" just for accurately observing that the way the teacher writes isn't remotely like the way she THINKS she's writing ...

Ragweed said...

The post is not really about cursive, but about teachers holding to rigid rules and curriculum. If the teacher had a rule that students should print their names at the top of a worksheet, which would be reasonable (for legibility, et al) then he/she should just say that. But "no cursive till 3rd grade" is just rigid and arbitrary.

I have to admit with some of these examples leave me thinking - so you discovered that there are some bad teachers (or textbook pages, or homework lessons)? It doesn't tell us how many teachers are doing this sort of thing, any more than one example of welfare fraud tells us how effective TANF is. But it does get a chuckle (or a tear).




On handwriting, I have to agree with NewB and others - there is nothing magic about what we call cursive and I would be glad to see us get away from these basterdized English roundhands. A semi-joined italic like Geddy-Dubose is a much better handwriting system that doesn't require learning multiple letterforms, and is more likely to result in legible handwriting.


(It's also funny to see Kate Gladstone chiming in here - all the way from Albany NY! She must have a regular google search to seek out articles for her crusade against cursive. Which I generally agree with, but the smoke-jumper thing here is amusing.)

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the actual purpose of cursive writing was that placing the point of a quill pen down on the page damages it - so by connecting all the letter together, the writer only had to lift & set down the quill at the end of each word, and the thus the quills lasted longer. Since we are no longer using feathers to write with, there is really no purpose to cursive anymore (although kids still do need to learn it so that they can read it, even if they aren't writing it themselves). the again, this could just be another urban legend.

Mom of 4

Maje said...

Our first grader decided she wanted to learn cursive and her teacher has been supportive as long as she can still read my daughter's writing. No push back over here.