Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

Should School Be Out for Summer?

EDUCATION Gap 1Contrary to the opinions of Roger Waters and David Gilmour, we do, in fact, need education. In fact, according to President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, we need more education. This weekend, the two of them floated the ever-unpopular ideas of expanding the school day and eliminating or shortening summer break.

Now, since I am no longer in school, I can admit it: They’re right. There is no reason for the school schedule to remain as it is. The current academic schedule is based on the socio-economic conditions that were prevalent when public schools were being established, over 100 years ago. But things have changed; as Duncan put it, “Not too many of our kids are working the fields today.”

Ignoring Duncan’s blatant disrespect for the <1% of the country that still farms, he’s right that the calendar should be changed. But simply expanding the length of the school day or school year is not all that should be changed. Continue reading

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Give the Tutorial System a Chance

The Lecture and Its Drawbacks:
The lecture is a systemic feature of the American university system. Let me be clear: I have a fairly broad definition of the lecture. It could consist of anywhere from 15 to over 1,000 students. The primary feature of the lecture is that the professor controls all of the talking, and each individual student only participates when called upon or when he needs to clarify points made in the lecture. Sure, there are seminars and independent studies available, but the basis of the American university system is the lecture.

The lecture has two obvious advantages. First, it’s efficient: A single professor can teach many students at once. Second, it reinforces what you learn: Some students are not as good at learning information from textbooks, so having them learn a solid chunk of the material from a live lecturer may be beneficial.
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