Monday, May 2, 2011

Creationism in the Classroom

I feel as if creationism needs to be broached in education. Just as it would be wrong to only teach creationism, I believe that on the other hand it would be wrong to say that evolution is the only way.

Teaching evolution, and making other alternative beliefs aware to the students leans into religion, which makes public schools nervous. However, there are students of varying beliefs and a good discussion could come from laying all views out on the table.

Allowing students to explore all areas, and then make their own decisions, is the best way. We’ve discussed whether or not they (the students) are able to make their own inferences and decisions in a smart way, and we’ve concluded that they can. I believe that knowledge can extend to this as well.

Response to Jessica

Question: What is your answer to the question? Can you believe in creationism and evolution?

I wrote in my Q&A response how at my Catholic school (which may be progressive, now that I think of it), we were beginning to shift into thinking that we were taught the creationism stories as a way to explain the unexplicable (like parables) and now, with science, they are finally being explained properly, and the stories are now just stories.

I think it is difficult to fully ascribe to believing in both. I think it would be really difficult to believe in science and in religion. I think one can believe theres a higher power that watches over this world that science and evolution created, but beyond that it's hard to think that God created the organisms which then took on a life of their own. It's a tough subject, and I feel confused now that I'm trying to think of how to explain how I balance Catholicism and evolution.
Truthfully, I think science and evolution is undeniable for the most part, whereas creationism raises a lot of questions and has little proof.

Response to Mary

So my question right now is, what is a reason besides money, that people will do work that they do not enjoy ?

I think one reason is that it may be a stepping stone to an ultimate goal. I think one example here is the core courses in the College. We have to take these cores, which include math and science, or classes way outside of our comfort zone. Being an English major, Calculus and Environmental Science were not my favorite classes and I struggled through them. However, I did the work because they led to the ultimate goal of a degree. I think outside motivation, or motivation that this work leads to your final goals, is a big reason for people to do work they hate, suck at, or just don't feel like doing.

Response to Mike

Would you agree that accounting, and shop classes should be mandatory?

Second semester senior year of high school I took a mandatory "accounting" class about how to write checks, pay bills online, choose insurance, etc. Every second semester senior had to take it. However, I hated every second-- because I was already doing all of those things, and had been for at least two years. I wish my school made it a Sophomore requirement, seeing as I bought my car at 16, opened a joint checking with my mom where I wrote checks for the car payment and insurance, as well as already chose an insurance. I learned how to do all of these things from my parents. Although maybe the class would be beneficial as a mandatory course earlier, I think Senior year, in my case, was way too late. I had already been there, and done that.

I'm torn on whether it should be mandatory or not though. I feel as if those skills are skills kids learn from their parents, or guardians, or older siblings. The mandatory class was a giant waste of time in my case. However, I am well aware that a lot of kids don't have that guidance, and in those cases, these classes could be beneficial. Maybe these "real life" skills could be combined into a life skills course, but ultimately, I do not think they should be mandatory.

Response to Shelby

Shelby proposed an interesting thought. Making a teacher's salary more desirable would, in fact, bring more teachers to the table, and probably a lot who are doing it for the salary, benefits, and job security. However, this would make the schools able to pick from a much larger pool of candidates, hopefully weeding out those who are not worthy.
However, there may be some worthy teachers who instead took a different job at an office or the like, due to the harsh reality that they may not be able to live on a teacher's salary. The article said, "At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender."
Those jobs are not desirable jobs and are certainly not jobs you need a degree for. Why are these teachers with advanced degrees brought down to that level then?

Shelby asked: Which would be the more effective route to take for educational reformation: more alternative, private schools, or revamping public schools?

As a child of private schools, I know firsthand the benefits of my private education, and that I thrived under it. I did not go to the public school because my parents did not think it was up to par with my learning ability and they wanted to give me a better opportunity, along with the fact that my parents are pretty religious. My mom had to work at the school in order for us to get a discounted tuition so that I could attend. For that reason, I think we should work to revamp public schools so that parents do not have to struggle for private education, and everyone has the same opportunity to receive a quality education, free of charge. England is doing something right over there with their free education (that is of a high standard). We need to look at their system, and fix ours in accordance.

Response to Jessica

Question: Do stressful and long hours of work hinder "life long learning"?

I've never really thought about it, but it would seem that it does. The average American is not going to retire at 65. This leads to at least 45 long years of work with little vacation. Unless you're someone who would use your free time to read, or watch educational programs, I feel as if lifelong learning would slack. Those with precious free time would more than likely prefer to spend time with family, rest, take a mindless vacation, or watch mindless television. The stress of the American workforce is already palpable in my few short weeks of just applying for jobs. I'm not looking forward to my future 50 years of employment in the slightest. However, to fix this conundrum, maybe organizations should offer courses through a local college or help their employees get their masters degrees? Allowing the time (and possibly paying for it) could help the employee learn and grow, while the organization gains a better worker.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Response to Brittany

Brittany asked, " What sort of activities do you think elementary schools could adopt to increase learning without implementing a longer school day?" I was a tutor at an afterschool program for four years when I was in high school. It was at my former elementary school, and it ran M-F 2pm to about 6pm. I found that the students in this program, although they were there because they had parents unable to pick them up after school, were actually benefitting from this program. At 2 pm we had snacks and began homework. I would walk around and help anyone who needed it. I think this is one strong benefit that presented itself. They had the opportunity to ask questions in a one-on-one situation, in case they didn't want to ask the teacher, or speak up in their classroom. This promoted further understanding in a more relaxed setting. After homework, there were computers available for learning-based games. We also were always doing crafts or making gifts for the parents, like little seedlings in pots, and concrete things like that that also promoted learning. At the same time, if a child didn't want to do a craft activity, we had board games out, or they could play in the gym. On certain days, a lady came in and they would learn recorders, or bells, some sort of music where they could participate as a group. We also went to places like the zoo, the dairy farm, the supermarket (which was more interesting than I was anticipating!) Although this program is additional money beyond the tuition for the school, and was implemented in order to help parents who lived out of bus range, or couldn't come at 2 pm, I think it was doing much more good than just "babysitting". It allowed for one-on-one tutoring, hands on crafting, and also physical activity to wear them out some :) 1) Should after school programs be recommended and encouraged to ALL students to furthur learning and not be merely a place for kids who can't get picked up at dismissal time?