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Wed, 08 Jan 2014


find X

If you have ever tried to teach someone, you may recognize the problem represented in the opening illustration. Teaching and learning are two distinct things. While the picture is intended as a joke, it also illustrates the all-too-frequent disconnect between a teacher's understanding and a student's understanding.

When the time for a test arrives, especially a standardized test written by a person very far away from the classroom in which the test is happening, the disconnect is elevated to a real problem for the kid taking the test.

No matter how well a teacher thinks he has "covered" a topic, each learner must build the connections between the new material and all the other stuff already understood. The child needs to make connections. The new idea needs to fit. It cannot just be stuck on. The more paths and the more traveled those paths become, the better a child understands.

Even then, some children experience something like panic when faced with a major test. They often describe that their mind "just goes blank." The anxiety frequently expresses itself with missed answers which seem to others to be "obvious."

Extra drill isn't the solution. It takes a teacher who both engages with each student and understands the material and then discovers the disconnect between them and explores making alternative pathways, not just pounding home the same old stuff, harder and longer.

posted at: 16:59 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Cat Nutrition

We have a cat. We got her from sister/sister-in-law Ann. Because we (I) thought it was cute, we named her "Wheezy" to recognize her effect on our breathing from alergic reactions. That changed to "Mrs. Jefferson" because her nickname sounded like what George Jefferson called his wife, Louise, on the TV show "The Jeffersons." On her official vet record, she is "kitty." I mostly just call her "cat."

We used to feed her an anti-hairball food formulation, but have switched to Purina Cat Chow Complete®. I guess the Purina people are suggesting she doesn't need to go outside to chase and capture birds, moles, voles and mice. But, of course, she does.

Perhaps we should see about buying a food which recognizes her unquenchable urge to hunt. Though, I suppose they would still charge us just as much per bag.

cat chow
Mrs. Jefferson looking for lunch

posted at: 13:18 | path: | permanent link to this entry