Thought experiment on Teachers and Students problem

Hi Bruce !

I'm glad that you read and comment my thoughts about "equilibrium". I have
found your answer about school problems quite intriging. So if you don't
mind I have some questions. I'll try to be as short as I can. I like your
style of "essence" in messages.

Bg; I have been concerned with this problem for many years. One way I have
expressed it my colleagues is to say that wheh students enter a classroom
the are confronted by a set of problems. These problems often have little to
do with the problems the teacher tries to address.

B.H. : Very interesting. In general I agree with you. But do you know maybe
what could mean that student's are "confronted by a set of problems". What
does it, by your opinion, mean to have a problem ?

Best, Boris

[From Bruce Gregory (2010.07.26.0758 EDT)]

Hi Bruce !

I'm glad that you read and comment my thoughts about "equilibrium". I have
found your answer about school problems quite intriging. So if you don't
mind I have some questions. I'll try to be as short as I can. I like your
style of "essence" in messages.

Bg; I have been concerned with this problem for many years. One way I have
expressed it my colleagues is to say that wheh students enter a classroom
the are confronted by a set of problems. These problems often have little to
do with the problems the teacher tries to address.

B.H. : Very interesting. In general I agree with you. But do you know maybe
what could mean that student's are "confronted by a set of problems". What
does it, by your opinion, mean to have a problem ?

BG: Problems usually involve expectations. When a student enters a new class, the first challenge he or she faces is to determine the teacher's expectations.

What does this teacher expect of me?
Is this teacher a taskmaster or a "good guy"?
How much work will I have to do?
What will it take to get by? To get a decent grade?
Is this class going to be as boring as I think it will be?

Bruce

···

On Jul 26, 2010, at 3:06 AM, Boris Hartman wrote:

[Martin Lewitt July 26, 2010 0627 MDT]

Bruce,

You totally forgot the peer culture expectations and goals. Am I going to get teased because I have a different hair cut, or because I have zits or don't have designer clothes or won't pull that girls hair or because I try too hard in school, or because I don't have a rubber or because I haven't had sex yet, or don't know what the word f**k or the word kotex means, etc.

Of course, I was part of the nerd sub-culture in grade school and went to a school that gave two grades for each subject, one for achievement and one for effort. Even though I got A's in both, I recall having to work the teacher hard to try to get my grade for effort lowered, since I really didn't try that hard. The subculture I was part of had decided that the highest grade would be an A for achievement with an F for effort. Who cares what the teachers expectations are.

I've heard that the peer culture has gotten more control in the decades since I was in school.

regards,
     Martin

···

On 7/26/2010 5:59 AM, Bruce Gregory wrote:

[From Bruce Gregory (2010.07.26.0758 EDT)]

On Jul 26, 2010, at 3:06 AM, Boris Hartman wrote:

Hi Bruce !

I'm glad that you read and comment my thoughts about "equilibrium". I have
found your answer about school problems quite intriging. So if you don't
mind I have some questions. I'll try to be as short as I can. I like your
style of "essence" in messages.

Bg; I have been concerned with this problem for many years. One way I have
expressed it my colleagues is to say that wheh students enter a classroom
the are confronted by a set of problems. These problems often have little to
do with the problems the teacher tries to address.

B.H. : Very interesting. In general I agree with you. But do you know maybe
what could mean that student's are "confronted by a set of problems". What
does it, by your opinion, mean to have a problem ?

BG: Problems usually involve expectations. When a student enters a new class, the first challenge he or she faces is to determine the teacher's expectations.

What does this teacher expect of me?
Is this teacher a taskmaster or a "good guy"?
How much work will I have to do?
What will it take to get by? To get a decent grade?
Is this class going to be as boring as I think it will be?

Bruce

[From Bruce Gregory (2010.07.26.0938 EDT)]

[Martin Lewitt July 26, 2010 0627 MDT]

Bruce,

You totally forgot the peer culture expectations and goals. Am I going to get teased because I have a different hair cut, or because I have zits or don't have designer clothes or won't pull that girls hair or because I try too hard in school, or because I don't have a rubber or because I haven't had sex yet, or don't know what the word f**k or the word kotex means, etc.

Of course, I was part of the nerd sub-culture in grade school and went to a school that gave two grades for each subject, one for achievement and one for effort. Even though I got A's in both, I recall having to work the teacher hard to try to get my grade for effort lowered, since I really didn't try that hard. The subculture I was part of had decided that the highest grade would be an A for achievement with an F for effort. Who cares what the teachers expectations are.

I've heard that the peer culture has gotten more control in the decades since I was in school.

regards,
   Martin

Your points are well taken. I would add the observation of a colleague of mine at Boston University. "My students and I play a little game. I pretend to teach, and they pretend to learn."

Bruce

Hi Bruce and Martin !

BH : What does it, by your opinion, mean to have a problem ?

BG : Problems usually involve expectations. When a student enters a new
class, the first challenge he or she faces is to determine the teacher's
expectations.

What does this teacher expect of me?
Is this teacher a taskmaster or a "good guy"?
How much work will I have to do?
What will it take to get by? To get a decent grade?
Is this class going to be as boring as I think it will be?

M.L. : You totally forgot the peer culture expectations and goals. Am I going
to get teased because I have a different hair cut, or because I have
zits or don't have designer clothes or won't pull that girls hair or
because I try too hard in school, or because I don't have a rubber or
because I haven't had sex yet, or don't know what the word f**k or the
word kotex means, etc.

Of course, I was part of the nerd sub-culture in grade school and went
to a school that gave two grades for each subject, one for achievement
and one for effort. Even though I got A's in both, I recall having to
work the teacher hard to try to get my grade for effort lowered, since I
really didn't try that hard. The subculture I was part of had decided
that the highest grade would be an A for achievement with an F for
effort. Who cares what the teachers expectations are.

I've heard that the peer culture has gotten more control in the decades
since I was in school.

BH : I agree with both of you. Thanks Martin for a really good example of
"different thinking" individuals and groups inside classes. Can I say that
Bruce have in mind some students who really come to study and Martin some of
those, who come to school for other reasons and other motivation. Can we say
that different student have different expectations, sometimes grouped in
subcultures ?
Are expectations enough to define problems teachers and students have in
school ?

Best,

Boris

[From Bruce Gregory (2010.07.26.1303 EDT)]

···

On Jul 26, 2010, at 12:41 PM, Boris Hartman wrote:

BH : I agree with both of you. Thanks Martin for a really good example of
"different thinking" individuals and groups inside classes. Can I say that
Bruce have in mind some students who really come to study and Martin some of
those, who come to school for other reasons and other motivation. Can we say
that different student have different expectations, sometimes grouped in
subcultures ?
Are expectations enough to define problems teachers and students have in
school ?

BG: When students and teachers have similar expectations, there are likely to be few problems. This is the situation in many surburban schools in the U.S. (Which is why many parents are concerned about the quality of education in the country as a whole, but give the schools their children attend an A or a B grade.)

Bruce

Hi Bruce !

BG: When students and teachers have similar expectations, there are likely
to be few problems. This is the situation in many surburban schools in the
U.S. (Which is why many parents are concerned about the quality of education
in the country as a whole, but give the schools their children attend an A
or a B grade.)

B.H. : Thanks Bruce for providing me with informations about American school
system. I have some problems with term "surburban schools". I don't quite
understand what can it be. And I'm interested if teachers expectations are
of their own, or they are obliged to present also the expectations of higher
level organization for example government. How schools and teachers work is
regulated in America ? Are there any programs which have to be realized in
classes or teacher decide for themselves what they will do ? What is A or B
grade ?

Best,
Boris

[From Bruce Gregory (2010.07.26.1533 EDT)]

Hi Bruce !

BG: When students and teachers have similar expectations, there are likely
to be few problems. This is the situation in many surburban schools in the
U.S. (Which is why many parents are concerned about the quality of education
in the country as a whole, but give the schools their children attend an A
or a B grade.)

B.H. : Thanks Bruce for providing me with informations about American school
system. I have some problems with term "surburban schools". I don't quite
understand what can it be. And I'm interested if teachers expectations are
of their own, or they are obliged to present also the expectations of higher
level organization for example government. How schools and teachers work is
regulated in America ? Are there any programs which have to be realized in
classes or teacher decide for themselves what they will do ? What is A or B
grade ?

BG: Answering your questions fully would require a very lengthy response, and one that I would not be qualified to undertake. However, here is a short response.

Suburban schools are located in the communities around major cities such as New York or Boston. They serve the upper two-thirds of the socio-economic strata in the U.S. Parents expect their children to be prepared to enter college on graduation from high school. Teachers and school administrators share these expectations. Curricula are typically defined by the textbooks adopted by the school districts. Text book publishers share the expectation that students using these texts will go on to college. An A or a B grade are the two top academic levels. Students normally need at least a B average if they expect to be accepted at a four-year university.

Bruce

Hi Bruce !

B.G. : Suburban schools are located in the communities around major cities
such as New York or Boston. They serve the upper two-thirds of the
socio-economic strata in the U.S. Parents expect their children to be
prepared to enter college on graduation from high school. Teachers and
school administrators share these expectations. Curricula are typically
defined by the textbooks adopted by the school districts. Text book
publishers share the expectation that students using these texts will go on
to college. An A or a B grade are the two top academic levels. Students
normally need at least a B average if they expect to be accepted at a
four-year university.

B.H. : I think this short description is enough for understanding that
community, parents, school, teachers, school administrators have almost the
"same expectations". We could say from your point of view and Martin Lewitt
that expectations of students are quite different or they can be the same as
teachers (community).

B.G : When students and teachers have similar expectations, there are likely
to be few problems.

B.H. : So, can we say conditionally that more the teachers (community)
expectations are different from students, more conflicts or disturbance to
teaching process we can expect ? We can't expect that all parents, students
and teachers have similar expectations (goals).

Best,

Boris