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Key Principles

 

1. Time is a variable: we must provide each student with the time and means to succeed. Rather than punish the student who learns more slowly than the arbitrarily chosen period, we must treat each student as the class. We must find a way of doing this. (see Note 1 below).
 

2. Three modes of instruction: 1) self-paced or CAI, 2) project or problem-solving and 3) discussion. (See Note 4 below.)


3. Self-paced or computer-assisted instruction (CAI) requires that each student have access to a computer and modem and access to the curriculum on a server on a 24/7 basis. Projects and problems should be relevant to students so they can relate to the given subject area. (See Note 3 below.)


 

4. One of the goals of education is to create self-learners. For all other subjects, the teacher can pose a project or problem that is relevant to the student. Once the problem is defined, the class can be broken down into groups of 4-5 students in order to research the solution to the problem. (See Note 2 below.)


5. Arbitrary learning within fixed time periods would be eliminated, i.e., no 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. grades. Instead, students would be grouped chronologically with materials appropriate to their learning level and style using the CAI approach for English and Math, and the project-problem-discussion modes for other subjects. The projects given to the students match the level of English and Math competencies and are related to the students (their interests and their lives).


6. The culture in a school starts at the top and filters down. The key questions are: Does information flow both ways? Do students sometimes teach their teachers about how to use features of new technologies? [comments by Dr. Fischler to be added]

 

7. Math is a language. Math is a way of using synonyms. One quarter is like 25 out of 100 or 41 out of 164. Math teaches students about the need to be flexible. [comments by Dr. Fischler to be added]

 

8. Suspend judgment. [comments by Dr. Fischler to be added]

9. Science is a verb. [comments by Dr. Fischler to be added]

 

Note 1: Other industries have made similar changes and it is now time for education to do the same. FedEx can tell you where any package is at any time. Look at banking, which is now available 24 hours a day through ATMs and you can go to almost any ATM to withdraw or deposit funds. Both industries invested in information and delivery systems to meet the needs of their clients rather than asking their clients to accommodate to a fixed structure. Now the automobile industry is enabling customers to order on demand rather than requiring them to accept whatever is available in the dealer’s lot. In the business world, however, there is competition that requires companies to adapt – education has not had this catalyst.
 

As long as time is fixed, then student progress is what is variable within the fixed time frame. Thus, 30% of the student population is punished through failures.


I would like to share some good news with The Student is the Class readers. In New York City Schools, under the direction of Chancellor Joel Klein, there has been initiated a program wherein time is used as the variable and competency the expected outcome. Currently they are building 30 high schools (known as “Transfer Schools”) where at risk 9th graders will be given the opportunity to go through an assessment process from that point until graduation. If it takes the students five or six years to achieve the needed competencies, they will not be punished along the way; instead they will be encouraged to reach the goals through the reinforcement of personal achievements. (12 September 2007, abe.thestudentistheclass.com)


Note 2: If the project is complex, each of the groups may study an aspect of the problem. With these subjects, the student uses the computer as a research tool (after having learned to read). Students are taught to use search engines such as Google or Yahoo as well as the intranet made available by teachers gathering information relevant for the students. Students working in a group learn cooperation, shared responsibility and communication (face-to-face as well as e-mail). Having produced a written solution to the problem utilizing the computer (power point) as a tool, they can then present to the class for discussion. They can also use email or a written report to other students as well as the teacher.


 

 

Note 3: For English and Math, we should implement CAI in the1st grade (and continue thereafter). The reason English and Math are chosen is that these are the two cultural imperative languages. If you know these two languages and are motivated as a self-learner, you can teach yourself almost anything you want to learn.


 


Note 4: Teachers must be trained to allow each student to progress at his/her own pace in the CAI approach, and yet be able to integrate them into the other two modes. Some teachers find it difficult to allow students to learn at their own rate without being actually instructed by them. In the CAI mode, the teacher should be a motivator and one who rewards each student for success. The teacher is responsible for setting the stage for the other two modes of instruction.


 

My theme is consistent: “Children learn at different rates and have different preferential learning styles.” Time must be the variable and mastery the goal. If students do not fully understand algebra, they will have a difficult time learning trigonometry. If they have not mastered reading, they will have a difficult time comprehending high school science textbooks or the New York Times. The consequences of not making this change leads to an increase in dropouts and eventually to an increase in the poverty-level class. (28 December 2006, abe.thestudentistheclass.com)

 

 

1.  Time is a variable:   we must provide each student with the time and means to succeed. Rather than punish the student who learns more slowly than the arbitrarily chosen period, we must treat each student as the class. We must find a way of doing this.  (see Note 1 below).

 

2.  Three modes of instruction:  1) self-paced or CAI, 2) project or problem-solving and 3) discussion.  (See Note 4 below.)

 

3.   Self-paced or computer-assisted instruction (CAI) requires that each student have access to a computer and modem and access to the curriculum on a server on a 24/7 basis. Projects and problems should be relevant to students so they can relate to the given subject area.   (See Note 3 below.)

 

4.  One of the goals of education is to create self-learners. For all other subjects, the teacher can pose a project or problem that is relevant to the student. Once the problem is defined, the class can be broken down into groups of 4-5 students in order to research the solution to the problem.  (See Note 2 below.)  

 

5.  Arbitrary learning within fixed time periods would be eliminated, i.e., no 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. grades. Instead, students would be grouped chronologically with materials appropriate to their learning level and style using the CAI approach for English and Math, and the project-problem-discussion modes for other subjects. The projects given to the students match the level of English and Math competencies and are related to the students (their interests and their lives). 

  

6.  The culture in a school starts at the top and filters down.    The key questions are:  Does information flow both ways? Do students sometimes teach their teachers about how to use features of new technologies?  [comments by Dr. Fischler to be added]

 

7.  Math is a language.  Math is a way of using synonyms. One quarter is like 25 out of 100 or 41 out of 164. Math teaches students about the need to be flexible.  [comments by Dr. Fischler to be added]

 

8.   Suspend judgment.   [comments by Dr. Fischler to be added]

 

9.  Science is a verb.      [comments by Dr. Fischler to be added]

Note 1:  Other industries have made similar changes and it is now time for education to do the same. FedEx can tell you where any package is at any time. Look at banking, which is now available 24 hours a day through ATMs and you can go to almost any ATM to withdraw or deposit funds. Both industries invested in information and delivery systems to meet the needs of their clients rather than asking their clients to accommodate to a fixed structure. Now the automobile industry is enabling customers to order on demand rather than requiring them to accept whatever is available in the dealer’s lot. In the business world, however, there is competition that requires companies to adapt – education has not had this catalyst. 

As long as time is fixed, then student progress is what is variable within the fixed time frame. Thus, 30% of the student population is punished through failures. 

 I would like to share some good news with The Student is the Class readers. In New York City Schools, under the direction of Chancellor Joel Klein, there has been initiated a program wherein time is used as the variable and competency the expected outcome. Currently they are building 30 high schools (known as “Transfer Schools”) where at risk 9th graders will be given the opportunity to go through an assessment process from that point until graduation. If it takes the students five or six years to achieve the needed competencies, they will not be punished along the way; instead they will be encouraged to reach the goals through the reinforcement of personal achievements.  (12 September 2007, abe.thestudentistheclass.com)

 

Note 2:   If the project is complex, each of the groups may study an aspect of the problem. With these subjects, the student uses the computer as a research tool (after having learned to read). Students are taught to use search engines such as Google or Yahoo as well as the intranet made available by teachers gathering information relevant for the students. Students working in a group learn cooperation, shared responsibility and communication (face-to-face as well as e-mail). Having produced a written solution to the problem utilizing the computer (power point) as a tool, they can then present to the class for discussion. They can also use email or a written report to other students as well as the  teacher. 

 

Note 3:   For English and Math, we should implement CAI in the1st grade (and continue thereafter). The reason English and Math are chosen is that these are the two cultural imperative languages. If you know these two languages and are motivated as a self-learner, you can teach yourself almost anything you want to learn. 

 

Note 4:  Teachers must be trained to allow each student to progress at his/her own pace in the CAI approach, and yet be able to integrate them into the other two modes. Some teachers find it difficult to allow students to learn at their own rate without being actually instructed by them. In the CAI mode, the teacher should be a motivator and one who rewards each student for success. The teacher is responsible for setting the stage for the other two modes of instruction.

 

My theme is consistent:  “Children learn at different rates and have different preferential learning styles.” Time must be the variable and mastery the goal. If students do not fully understand algebra, they will have a difficult time learning trigonometry. If they have not mastered reading, they will have a difficult time comprehending high school science textbooks or the New York Times. The consequences of not making this change leads to an increase in dropouts and eventually to an increase in the poverty-level class.  (28 December 2006, abe.thestudentistheclass.com)

 

 

 

• Home • Building Better Schools • List of Pioneers • Introduction • Quotations • Excerpts • The Student Is The Class • Reviews of the Book • Readings • Links • Questions • Next • Key Principles • Workshop Preview • Technology Enhanced • About Us • Projects • Dr. Abe Fischler • Videos & Multimedia •

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