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Teng Ai Hui

The Education Thread

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I've always wanted a thread where people could discuss education methods, teaching experiences, learning experiences, etc.  I just never had a reason to start one until now. 

Legislators in North Carolina are discussing changing the grading system from a 10 point scale (A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F(or E)=0-59%) to a 15 point scale (A=85-100%, B=70-84%, C=55-69%, D=40-54%, F(or E)=0-39%).  Personally, I just don't see how that improves education.  It won't make students smarter.  It won't help teachers teach better.  The only thing that this accomplishes is that North Carolina, on paper, will be ranked higher in comparison to the other States in USA.  If N.C. legislators wanted to do something real, they should give tax deductions to teachers for the purchase of supplies used in the classroom or improve school lunches or include school facilities when discussing the improvement of infrastructure (not just roads and bridges).

Edited by Teng Ai Hui

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You may have misread the article you linked to. The "grading system" here is not how grades are assigned to students in classrooms. It's about how the state Board of Education evaluates schools.

The relevant paragraph is:

Quote

School’s grades are based on a variety of factors including “growth,” “achievement” and performance,” according to the new proposal. The way individual students are graded will not be impacted by the bill.

As such this has nothing to do with "educational methods", although I would agree that I think it's a bad idea. 

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12 hours ago, Teng Ai Hui said:

I've always wanted a thread where people could discuss education methods, teaching experiences, learning experiences, etc.  I just never had a reason to start one until now. 

Legislators in North Carolina are discussing changing the grading system from a 10 point scale (A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F(or E)=0-59%) to a 15 point scale (A=85-100%, B=70-84%, C=55-69%, D=40-54%, F(or E)=0-39%).  Personally, I just don't see how that improves education.  It won't make students smarter.  It won't help teachers teach better.  The only thing that this accomplishes is that North Carolina, on paper, will be ranked higher in comparison to the other States in USA.  If N.C. legislators wanted to do something real, they should give tax deductions to teachers for the purchase of supplies used in the classroom or improve school lunches or include school facilities when discussing the improvement of infrastructure (not just roads and bridges).

My scale back when I was at school was:

0-4.9: fail

5-5.9: pass 

6-6.9: good

7-8.9: notable (B)

9-10: Excellent, (A)

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Silly people that had the 10 point scale.

We had this crazy scale.

A 100%-93%

B 92%-85%

C 84%-75%

D 74%-65%

F 64%-0%

 

Edited by A True Kaniggit

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13 hours ago, Teng Ai Hui said:

I've always wanted a thread where people could discuss education methods, teaching experiences, learning experiences, etc.  I just never had a reason to start one until now. 

Legislators in North Carolina are discussing changing the grading system from a 10 point scale (A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F(or E)=0-59%) to a 15 point scale (A=85-100%, B=70-84%, C=55-69%, D=40-54%, F(or E)=0-39%).  Personally, I just don't see how that improves education.  It won't make students smarter.  It won't help teachers teach better.  The only thing that this accomplishes is that North Carolina, on paper, will be ranked higher in comparison to the other States in USA.  If N.C. legislators wanted to do something real, they should give tax deductions to teachers for the purchase of supplies used in the classroom or improve school lunches or include school facilities when discussing the improvement of infrastructure (not just roads and bridges).

My guess is that they're looking at two things: 1.) Trying to reduce student motivation from being grade related by lowering the stakes; 2.) Trying to avoid the issue where if they scrap grade system completely, students won't have a GPA for colleges to look at. I don't know enough, but this is my hunch from prior education research.

But I need to read the article. As someone else pointed out, this may not be classroom related.

 

I guess I'll add (just because I'm thinking about grades), that grades are a problem. Universities are struggling with retaining students in the U.S. (retention being students who start at their school, finish there--and within 4 (to 5) years). The biggest predictors of students not staying at school are GPA and SES. This is troubling because this impacts students of color and low-SES the most. As universities try to make themselves more accessible for students who traditionally have been barred, they find they have students who do not have the skills or support they need to make it through.

I'm not certain what the answer is.

Edited by Simon Steele

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For the last two years in elementary school we had report cards that didn't give letter grades , just something called the SIN system,  you either were Satisfactory, Incomplete, or Nonsatisfactory, so basically just had to pass a threshold to advance based on understanding the topic material in each class  and behavior in class.  

That didn't carry over into Middle School or High School, where they went with standard letter grades.

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I’m going to try this thread again, and this time I won’t write about an internet article that I misread.

My principal is an idiot. He presented a new policy to us teachers during a meeting on Friday. 

Our 12th grade has a high amount of smart students, and they have been working hard to earn high grades. As a result, they have been accepted into universities at a higher than normal rate.

These kids are making our school look good, and the principal wants the school to continue to look good in the future. To make that happen, we teachers are supposed to just give students high scores, regardless of their performance on the assessments.  This is the most counterproductive educational policy that I have ever experience firsthand.

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Our School system used a very basic grading system that was the same from elementary through HS, roughly as follows-

0-59 =  E or Fail

60-69 = D or Poor

70-79 = C or Pass

80-89 = B or Good

90-100 = A or Excellent

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My school is technically closed because of coronavirus.  Lessons will not be conducted on the school grounds until further notice.  The school's solution to this problem is to move all lessons online.  Starting tomorrow, I will be conducting lessons on a video conferencing website.  I'm a little nervous because it will be very difficult to monitor 20 students at the same time in order to make sure that they behave and pay attention.  But, there's a huge upside.  My winter vacation is no longer eating away at my summer vacation.

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On 9/7/2019 at 1:41 PM, Teng Ai Hui said:

I’m going to try this thread again, and this time I won’t write about an internet article that I misread.

My principal is an idiot. He presented a new policy to us teachers during a meeting on Friday. 

Our 12th grade has a high amount of smart students, and they have been working hard to earn high grades. As a result, they have been accepted into universities at a higher than normal rate.

These kids are making our school look good, and the principal wants the school to continue to look good in the future. To make that happen, we teachers are supposed to just give students high scores, regardless of their performance on the assessments.  This is the most counterproductive educational policy that I have ever experience firsthand.

Grade inflation to boost students' chances of getting university offers is a huge problem and your principal should indeed know better.  I'm the university admissions' counselor at my school and the pressure to get students multiple offers from good universities is extremely intense, but it must be balanced with protecting the students and the school's reputation.

Many universities actually do keep track of grade inflation and factor it into their admissions' decisions.  Here's an article about how the University of Waterloo in Ontario has been doing that, much to the detriment of the students from the secondary schools flagged by the uni:  https://globalnews.ca/news/4405495/waterloo-engineering-grade-inflation-list/

14 minutes ago, Teng Ai Hui said:

My school is technically closed because of coronavirus.  Lessons will not be conducted on the school grounds until further notice.  The school's solution to this problem is to move all lessons online.  Starting tomorrow, I will be conducting lessons on a video conferencing website.  I'm a little nervous because it will be very difficult to monitor 20 students at the same time in order to make sure that they behave and pay attention.  But, there's a huge upside.  My winter vacation is no longer eating away at my summer vacation.

What platforms are you using, Tony?  My school in Shenzhen has been teaching online for about a month now and we've been using a combination of Wechat for attendance and class messages , Zoom for online lessons/activities/discussions, and Managebac for assignments (don't know if your school has a license for it or not). Our grade 12s normally taking blended online classes through Moodle, so we transitioned with them relatively easily to going fully online.

Zoom has worked really well so far but you do need to be judicious about making sure the students cameras and mics are on at all times so you can monitor if they are paying attention or not. I have 15 students in one class and can oversee all of their windows at once.  It was definitely a learning curve at first for everyone, however after a few days we settled into a smooth rhythm, and the kids have been very good about complying with our online classroom management techniques.  Our parents have also been very supportive with making sure the students are participating as fully as possible.

And yes!...being able to cover the allotted class time requirements online (each of our secondary school courses must be 110 hours in length according to the Ministry of Ed.) definitely means less make-up time in the summer.

加油 my friend...I'm sure it will go well this week!

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10 hours ago, Tongue Stuck to Wall said:

Many universities actually do keep track of grade inflation and factor it into their admissions' decisions.  Here's an article about how the University of Waterloo in Ontario has been doing that, much to the detriment of the students from the secondary schools flagged by the uni:  https://globalnews.ca/news/4405495/waterloo-engineering-grade-inflation-list/

That article was highly interesting.  I'll share it with my colleagues and ask them whether universities in Asia create databases like that for themselves.  My school's comment system is similarly ridiculous.  Teachers are asked to write comments for every student who earns an A or B.  With our inflated grading system, that's 99% of the students.  Also, those comments are expected to be 2-5 sentences of praise.  Helpful criticism is not allowed.  I asked why comments can't be critical.  I was told, "A university might read the negative comment some day in the future and use that as a basis for denying entrance to that university."  I replied, "I've seen those comment heavy report cards that the students receive each semester.  They're 7 to 12 pages long.  It's not possible for a university to read that many pages of comments for every student who applies."

 

10 hours ago, Tongue Stuck to Wall said:

What platforms are you using, Tony?  My school in Shenzhen has been teaching online for about a month now and we've been using a combination of Wechat for attendance and class messages , Zoom for online lessons/activities/discussions, and Managebac for assignments (don't know if your school has a license for it or not). Our grade 12s normally taking blended online classes through Moodle, so we transitioned with them relatively easily to going fully online.

Zoom has worked really well so far but you do need to be judicious about making sure the students cameras and mics are on at all times so you can monitor if they are paying attention or not. I have 15 students in one class and can oversee all of their windows at once.  It was definitely a learning curve at first for everyone, however after a few days we settled into a smooth rhythm, and the kids have been very good about complying with our online classroom management techniques.  Our parents have also been very supportive with making sure the students are participating as fully as possible.

And yes!...being able to cover the allotted class time requirements online (each of our secondary school courses must be 110 hours in length according to the Ministry of Ed.) definitely means less make-up time in the summer.

加油 my friend...I'm sure it will go well this week!

My school is similar to your school.  We use WeChat to discuss lesson plans and for file sharing.  We are using Zoom for video conference style lessons and formal meetings.  We did some test runs on Friday.  I definitely need to figure out how to watch them all at once.  My school has already made a rule that turning off the mic and/or video equals absence.

I think my school's rule is that every semester has to contain 90 days of school.  We were supposed to start 2 weeks ago (March 2nd), so we have to make those days up somewhere.  The plan currently seems to be that we work one extra week during summer vacation and one extra week during next year's winter vacation.

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I am holding my first lesson through skype tonight - just two people, adults, who are very interested and are learning because they want to, so it shouldn't be a problem. Before I learned this, I had prepared an exercise that demanded some sorting words on paper, that is not going to be possible now, but I am sure the rest of the exercises are going to work. At least I hope.

I also tried out zoom on Friday with other teachers, there were about 16 of us online at the same time and my Internet connection kept disconnecting, so I have no idea how it would work if I had to hold a group lesson.

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On 3/16/2020 at 7:27 AM, Buckwheat said:

I am holding my first lesson through skype tonight - just two people, adults, who are very interested and are learning because they want to, so it shouldn't be a problem. Before I learned this, I had prepared an exercise that demanded some sorting words on paper, that is not going to be possible now, but I am sure the rest of the exercises are going to work. At least I hope.

I also tried out zoom on Friday with other teachers, there were about 16 of us online at the same time and my Internet connection kept disconnecting, so I have no idea how it would work if I had to hold a group lesson.

Are you university or public school? I'm university, and I'm not going to do Zoom calls except for things like advising or one to one. I'm just recording video lectures. I may set some times where I answer questions through Zoom and allows students to join in, but I haven't decided yet.

I wonder for public school K thru 12 schools how they plan to handle shutting schools down for the rest of the semester (if they do this). Many kids may not be able to do online classes from home, and the notion that kids would have to pick up where they left off in the fall makes no sense to me.

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1 hour ago, Simon Steele said:

Are you university or public school? I'm university, and I'm not going to do Zoom calls except for things like advising or one to one. I'm just recording video lectures. I may set some times where I answer questions through Zoom and allows students to join in, but I haven't decided yet.

I wonder for public school K thru 12 schools how they plan to handle shutting schools down for the rest of the semester (if they do this). Many kids may not be able to do online classes from home, and the notion that kids would have to pick up where they left off in the fall makes no sense to me.

None of these, sadly (I wish it is my career goal I were). It is a private language school with courses mostly for interested adults. I only teach individuals or pairs right now, so I probably won't need to use zoom for group classes, I just wanted to learn to use it in case I need to substitute or it comes useful later in life. The individuals all cancelled their classes for this week, I am still waiting for information about next week.

The Skype lesson (for a pair) worked fine, some methods need to be slightly changed, but luckily everything was good the first time.

In my country, they mentioned an idea that the school year will be extended into summer. For now though, they are giving assignments through the Internet and it is not yet sure how long the schools are going to be closed.

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4 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

None of these, sadly (I wish it is my career goal I were). It is a private language school with courses mostly for interested adults. I only teach individuals or pairs right now, so I probably won't need to use zoom for group classes, I just wanted to learn to use it in case I need to substitute or it comes useful later in life. The individuals all cancelled their classes for this week, I am still waiting for information about next week.

The Skype lesson (for a pair) worked fine, some methods need to be slightly changed, but luckily everything was good the first time.

In my country, they mentioned an idea that the school year will be extended into summer. For now though, they are giving assignments through the Internet and it is not yet sure how long the schools are going to be closed.

I'm sorry to hear that (that they've had to cancel). I need to learn how to use Zoom too! I'm just going to learn as I go. It'll probably open up a whole new world of options for me.

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Well, after a small conversation I had done yesterday, I ended up thinking about whether the current lessons I am sending to my students aren't kinda worsening the situation.

You must know, I am a Politics teacher. Not necessarily voluntarily, but politicians here think History and Politics is the same thing. In any way, I have no History classes, only Politics. And I ended up thinking that since I was doing things about EU, international relations and globalization with some of these classes, that I now prepared a homework around the idea of the students keeping track of the actions of specific institutions in some kind of 'Corona diary' and then judge whether they succeeded in their roles. I was inspired to do this after reading a few articles that give the EU scathing grades on how badly we are cooperating in this and wanted to encourage my students to form their own opinions on the matter.

What do you think? Am I asking too much of High Schoolers or am I increasing anxiety by having them interact with the Covid-19 crisis even in their studies?

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1 hour ago, Toth said:

What do you think? Am I asking too much of High Schoolers or am I increasing anxiety by having them interact with the Covid-19 crisis even in their studies?

I would say it might be a bit insensitive. The high schoolers are hearig news about the corona crisis everywhere now, they are not allowed to go to school because of it (I assume your school closed for the time being), they are not allowed to see their friends, they might be scared for the safety and health of the people they love, especially grandparents ... I think this project might be better suited as a case study to work on later, after it has all calmed down and the situation has normalised. I think the students might profit from not having corona as part of their schoolwork, so they can forget about it at least for the time while they are doing that.

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10 minutes ago, Buckwheat said:

I would say it might be a bit insensitive. The high schoolers are hearig news about the corona crisis everywhere now, they are not allowed to go to school because of it (I assume your school closed for the time being), they are not allowed to see their friends, they might be scared for the safety and health of the people they love, especially grandparents ... I think this project might be better suited as a case study to work on later, after it has all calmed down and the situation has normalised. I think the students might profit from not having corona as part of their schoolwork, so they can forget about it at least for the time while they are doing that.

I see your point, but on the other hand I have seen that a lot of the fears I have seen in conversation with my students stemmed from a position where their main news source is crazy conspiracy theories on instagram. My idea was that inviting them to take a scientific approach might actually contain the chance of calming those and stop them from wrecking themselves (and the class What's App group -.-) with misinformation.

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