Thursday, April 03, 2008

Learning Their Lessons Well

A couple more education stories got my attention this week.

The residents of Waycross, GA got the shock of their life to discover that a group of their third graders had devised an elaborate plan to kill their teacher.
The plot by as many as nine boys and girls was a serious threat, Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said Tuesday.

The students allegedly brought to school a broken steak knife, a roll of duct tape, handcuffs, ribbon and a crystal paperweight in a bid to kill their teacher, Belle Carter, the paper reports. . . .

The children, ages 8 and 9, were apparently mad at the teacher because she had scolded one of them for standing on a chair, Tanner said.
Here is the interesting part:
Tanner said the scheme involved a division of roles. One child's job was to cover windows so no one could see outside, he said. Another was supposed to clean up after the attack.
With the de-emphasis of substantive knowledge, and paramount importance given in today's classrooms to students "learning" to work together in groups, have these kids learned their lessons well, or what???

More traditional lesson-learning is revealed in the story of a 5th grader from Michigan. It seems that Kevin Stufflebeam was touring the Smithsonian in the Nation's Capital and noticed on a 27 year old exhibit that the "Precambrian" was erroneously called an "era" rather than a dimensionless period of time extending from the beginning of the earth to the beginning of the Cambrian period. (For more on Geologic Time see this from U Berkeley.) He notified the museum which admitted its mistake. His teacher must be proud!

Which kind of lesson do you want your kids to learn?

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