Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Coloring Book World

Apparently, there is controversy in every field of study, including education! So, one of the current topics of debate for Utah educators/parents/and students, is whether we should, (sorry haven't picked up all of the official terminology yet), use creative teaching, or traditional teaching. For example, in one camp we have educators who say, we are damaging our students with coloring books because we are giving them a form, and telling them to use their creativty within it, and color only inside of the lines, sending the signal that there is only one correct way to do something, and stiffling origional thought. This same camp is argumentative as well about cut-out-forms for making snowmen art projects, so that all kids have to have three round circles, arms and buttons and noses all uniform. This camp says, tell them to make a snowman, and let them choose how many "waists" it has, where the arm-sticks should go, ect.,ect. The other camp says, if we don't give them the basic form of the snowman to work within, we are not giving them the proper formula for a correct snowman. No joke, this is a current debate! On the larger scale the same arguement is currently inflaming the state over public and private education, because of the creative math movement, that currently is in the legislatrue, and currently used in grades 1-6. They want to force teachers to use it and use it through the 12th grade. I listened to mad parents this week say, we don't want our children to be having to open a box of cherios to count how many cherios there are per box to find out the value per dollar. Or have to lay apples out on the floor to add. They argue for the continuance of rote memorization for things like times tables, saying creative math makes losey math, and non-college prepared students...Anyway, there has been a surge for enrollment in private schools this January (for next fall) simply over the "math movement." And public schools are worried about losing students and money.

I don't have kids, or my own oppinions fully formed, but it is an interesting controvery, over whether using these new methods of teaching, may in some respects teach better, but in many respects teach much, much less.

7 comments:

aquamarine said...

As a homeschooling parent I would agree with both sides to some extent. It completely depends on the subject. Math to me is not one of them. It has specific ways of doing things, it can't be thought up by those with very little knowledge of how the world works, i.e., children. Now let them be creative in art, music, even science to some extent where it allows, but come on people. We need to keep our focus on the children and actually see if they are developing, learning, and expanding those wonderful brains that they have been given. Progress means that we are still growing not reverting our ways to lose what has already been accomplished. Sorry long post. I have very passionate views on children, if you hadn't noticed...;).

Esperanza said...

I like to hear the views so I can help form my own!

Scully said...

I'm with Walking. Why does it have to be one or the other? I mean, if you are doing multiplication tables, you might want to visually explain the concept of how multiplcation works and why we use it (shortcut addition). But afterwards, rote memorization is the best way. But learning things like pints and quarts and tablespoons would be a lot more fun with hands-on work. I hate how people tend to go to extremes. If a method works for one thing, it doesn't mean it will work for everything and vice versa.

SJ said...

The thing is both parties seem to be wanting what they want without even testing to see which method is the most effective for what they want to accomplish. These educators haven't taken the time to educate themselves.

Scully said...

Exactly, SJ. Research is important and so is moderation. Let the teachers experiment with how much of each method they want to employ and see how effective it is. And how individual children respond. Some children are frightened by having no structure, while others rebel against what they perceive as 'being bossed' and there is a whole spectrum in between. True story, I once baby-sat for two little girls who asked me what I wanted them to do and when I finally made them choose, they chose coloring and then, when I found crayons and blank paper, requested coloring books, because they didn't like not having lines. As far as I can tell, they have grown up to be happy, normal individuals.

Esperanza said...

Coloring books used to be one of my favorite things on earth! I think I get 1/2 of my fashion sense from all of those Barbie Doll outfits I colored as a kid....jk. But, I don't think my creativity was stiffeld by having to color within the lines! I turned out normal....well, mostly! ;) I can also quote you all of my times tables quite nicely...although, converting from metric system and back again....I can't do it to this day. Possibly I shouldn't be admitting that....!

Scully said...

E, no one can mentally convert between the English and Metric system. It is all this multiplication involving decimals that no one wants to deal with.