If Math Were a Movie Title: There Can Only Be One

As a child and a teen I was heavily into science fiction and of course comic books. As an adult and a parent I find that my imagination still boarders on the fantastic as well as fantasy. This helps me when dealing with children; I can relate and have much to draw on. I consider my love of comics, movies and computers as well as games to be a big plus since I work in the school system – after all I deal with children and teachers a like. In a recent conversation with a teacher on the subject of math and the many changes our county schools are faced with, such as the integrating of technology and common core. I jokingly broke down my opinion on the subject to a movie title: There can only be one.

Working in the school system I see all sorts of children and experience firsthand the challenges and the changes that are occurring. For instance our school takes part in the Leader in Me program. The goal is to teach children how to be leaders, to work together and to think of and in terms of “win win” scenarios. The problem is, due to lack of time in the day, shortage of resources, growth in classroom size – the schools (and teachers) are moving towards allowing children to learn online. By this I mean more and more learning is done on computers, not to say whether this is good or bad but rather simply stating a fact.

There has been a growing concern such as an article I read about the possible negatives of allowing children under the age of two to use an iPad for extended periods of time for the fear of possibly stunting their developmental progress. I have also read about the concern of aggressive parents pushing their children to fast, too far, to soon. With that said, the real dilemma is the failure of our system of education and how do we solve it. To which I have come to one conclusion – children are individuals. As such, we as parents should focus on helping our children understand that the only person who can truly determine their destiny is them, the individual child. There can only be one – that one is you, the individual.

In 2013 our school started an online tutoring program to help children to learn, to progress and to meet state standards. The program was expensive and we could only afford to help a small group of thirty children. I was tasked with making sure the children stayed focused and to insure any technical difficulties were taken care of. For an entire year I watched several students interact with an online teaching program as well as receive help from an online teacher. The teacher dealt with three to four students at a time, but the bulk of the work was done by the program. I was amazed to see how well some of these students did. Especially those, who at the beginning, (sadly) I had discounted as a loss. To my surprise even the most difficult child, the most distracted or least interested in the program were found to be improving in their work.

Sadly enough in 2014 the tutoring program was canceled due to lack of funding. Our school still has many online learning programs such as iready, accelerated reader, programs through Pearson and others. But these programs rely on the desire and the intention of the individual, which brings me full circle, my movie title: There Can Only Be One. As a parent I believe we need to teach our children the importance of an education, to teach our children to love learning, to find learning interesting and essential. The question to our failure in education stems from the idea that we think we need to do something. I personally believe that the answer to our failing educational system is in the individual. I have seen it in the school, I have seen it with my own children – if you can instill in a child a love of learning, the importance of an education, with the help of technology, not only will they learn they will grow in leaps and bounds.

iPads may harm development of children  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11382711/Using-iPads-to-pacify-children-may-harm-their-development-say-scientists.html

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Happy, crazy loving father of two who believes the world is a bit off kilter. I spend a lot of time trying to teach my children to be better than me - I hope they appreciate it.

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