For those who don’t know, Mark and I live in the same town and have actually become good friends. The thing I really respect about Mark is how he will challenge anyone when he thinks he is right. That is refreshing to me as there are far too many “yes-men/women” in this world.
Anyhow, Mark and I are having a nice friendly conversation over on his blog (see bottom of the post I linked above) about Six Sigma, GE, Karoshi and all kinds of fun stuff. But that is not what I want to write about tonight.
Push or Pull Learning?
Instead, I want to talk about one of the things Mark mentioned in another comment. He wrote:
“Do you error proof how math is taught? Do you have students “pull” learning instead of “pushing” it at them? Probably not….”
That last sentence caught my attention, “Do you have students “pull” learning instead of “pushing” it at them? Probably not…”
I respectfully disagree with Mark here.
I am of the opinion that children learn the best when they are allowed to excel in areas they are good at and move slower in areas they are not so good at.
In the traditional American public school room the pace is set by the slowest kid for the most part.
Little Bobby and Susie
If Bobby, for example, is slow at learning multiplication while little Susie has it mastered after the first lesson, chances are Susie is going to be forced to sit there bored stiff while the grossly underpaid teacher does her best to help Bobby.
Further, if Bobby begins to “sort of” get it but really needs more practice the teacher will likely “push” on since she sees poor Susie, bless her heart, waiting so patiently.
If you look at advanced programs in schools we see children allowed to move at their own speed. No one is slowing them down and nothing is being pushed on them. Instead these kids normally pull… and pull hard. There is a similar thing happening in most Montessori schools.
Time to Come Clean
I must confess I am a bit biased here since my wife is home schooling our 5 year daughter this year. My kiddo is supposed to be in kindergarten but since she has blown through the kindergarten curriculum (a Catholic school curriculum) she is now onto first grade (again a Catholic school curriculum).
How is it going? Well my 5 year old daughter, if you will allow me to brag a bit here, is already reading at a first grade level and, oh yeah, already knows how to multiply. She had double digit adding and subtracting down at 4 years old. And most importantly to me and her mom, she is really learning her faith.
So, had we put her in a traditional school this year she would probably be bored stiff. In fact, she could have easily been the sweet little Susie I mentioned above.
Of course, the danger here is not all parents will make sure their children are doing their best to pull knowledge. To some, their idea of home schooling may be turning on Noggin at 8:00 AM to let Dora and Boots teach them all they need know.
In these very unfortunate situations I would agree… get that kid in school and push that education down their throats.
In Goldratt we Trust
One last thing, people like Eli Goldratt (TOC guru) are now working to change the way kids are taught. I really hope people listen to him and would like nothing more than to see experts in lean manufacturing and six sigma step up the plate as well. Our kids are depending on it.
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