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Do All The Children Learn?


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I am hoping there is a teacher here.  I have a question for teachers.  I  have been pondering the fact that young students take to the  electronic technology with ease while older people struggle with it.  Andy Rooney had a good answer for that.  "The reason we elders have trouble learning new things is that our minds are already full of all the wonderful things we learned years ago."   Very good.  I do not think that is an alibi.  Our memories are with us.  Our brains are already working full time.

 

However, there are also older people who take to  this technology with relish and have no trouble with it.  How to explain that?  Suddenly, a thought came to me.  Back fifty years ago, no matter how hard teachers tried, there were always some students who "just did not get it".  Try as they might, they could not grasp what was being taught.

 

So, here is my question.  Among all those elementary school students who do grasp electronic technology with no trouble, do you have students who "just do not get it"?  students who panic with the computer when it goes awry and who do not understand how to deal with it, no matter how much you explain?  Students for whom all those buttons are  overwhelming and leave them failing?

 

I thought that, perhaps a teacher - or maybe a few parents - might have an answer.  Thank you.

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A lot of it has to do with neuroplasticity.


Older people tend to lose plasticity, most likely as an evolutionary mechanism: it takes a LOT of calories to keep the human brain running, so any corner that can be cut to save a few calls here and there ends up being cut. Same way if you don't actively work-out, you lose your strength and muscle mass. Use it or lose it. There's an Australian documentary series that goes a long way towards "fixing" common issues.

Some people(even kids) are just...deficient in plasticity. That makes it hard to learn and "make connections" in both the figurative and literal sense. Weather it's from some ASD issue, or a nutrient issue, or an injury.

Narrowing it down to computers: They are so common it's crazy so kids will be exposed constantly, practice constantly, and form transferable skills. The point-and-click and "icons" are common "skills" between smartphones weather they're android or apple, computers weather they're windows or mac or linux, etc... Same time most of them will never see what a command-line is and be utterly frustrated if they're put in front of one, and don't even think of asking most people to program a register on an MCU as that's also not a common transferable skill even among modern computer programmers.

Moving to generation-gap skills: Most modern kids cannot drive manual transmission. The very idea is frightening to them, so much so that a manual transmission is more effective than common anti-theft devices. A lot of them also cannot properly do things that used to be common knowledge like setting a choke or changing fluids; those are not really transferable skills from what they're exposed to, so stuff like electric mowers/clippers/blowers are more common and attractive to them.

There's a whole library about that kind of stuff if you dig into it. So in short; old people that take to new things usually have some comparable skillset they already learned they can base things off of. Young people that just can't learn probably have an "issue" that needs treatment.

A weird side-effect of the above: modern texting on cellphones often ignores punctuation. That has caused an interesting skillset division. Periods and proper grammar are perceived as "formal to the point of being rude" by a significant part of the upcoming generation. It's scary that movies and books predicted that.
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Ah!  Thank you, GAHD.  Plasticity, of course.   I seem to be analyzing the problem without considering the cause.  Same as with the body.  You can't cure (or learn to deal with)  the problem if you do not know the cause.  And that gets back to the doctor's (and my) complaint.  We are bucking the trend and, as the doctor said, maybe it really is too late to"fix it".  Should we even be thinking of fixing it?   And I see that as my years advance.  Early on, I had no trouble at all accepting what the next generation was doing.  I actually defended them against complaints.  Now?  Don't even ask.

 

But, before I sign off:  "Plasticity" brings to mind "rote learning".  The bugaboo of my generation.  We rote-learned arithmetic.  Most of us, I suspect, will never leanr advanced mathematics.  Or physics.  <G>

 

Thank you.  A side issue is hopping around in my brain right now but it leads into a whole new issue.  I'll skip it. 

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I am hoping there is a teacher here.  I have a question for teachers.  I  have been pondering the fact that young students take to the  electronic technology with ease while older people struggle with it.  Andy Rooney had a good answer for that.  "The reason we elders have trouble learning new things is that our minds are already full of all the wonderful things we learned years ago."   Very good.  I do not think that is an alibi.  Our memories are with us.  Our brains are already working full time.

 

However, there are also older people who take to  this technology with relish and have no trouble with it.  How to explain that?  Suddenly, a thought came to me.  Back fifty years ago, no matter how hard teachers tried, there were always some students who "just did not get it".  Try as they might, they could not grasp what was being taught.

 

So, here is my question.  Among all those elementary school students who do grasp electronic technology with no trouble, do you have students who "just do not get it"?  students who panic with the computer when it goes awry and who do not understand how to deal with it, no matter how much you explain?  Students for whom all those buttons are  overwhelming and leave them failing?

 

I thought that, perhaps a teacher - or maybe a few parents - might have an answer.  Thank you.

Here is a thought for you. Why do some people panic when sitting down with a musical instrument? And others pick it up and want to learn it and learn it fast, even on their own. I think it all boils down to that we are all different and people have talents in different things. Some things come naturally to some people and easy to learn and other things are hard for some people to pick up. The truth is though, anybody can learn anything they put their mind to. There is also a lot of laziness that can factor in. If somebody wants to learn something, they will and if they don't they won't.

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Here is a thought for you. Why do some people panic when sitting down with a musical instrument? And others pick it up and want to learn it and learn it fast, even on their own. I think it all boils down to that we are all different and people have talents in different things. Some things come naturally to some people and easy to learn and other things are hard for some people to pick up. The truth is though, anybody can learn anything they put their mind to. There is also a lot of laziness that can factor in. If somebody wants to learn something, they will and if they don't they won't.

I am not sure I can agree with that, Thoth.  Halfway up the "I'll try" scale are those who keep at it but end up doing a very mediocre job and no amount of more trying improves them.  Each end:  failure (giving it up) and success (fist class producer).  No, if we all have given talents, then it stands to reason there are some things each of us cannot ever learn.

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Ah!  Thank you, GAHD.  Plasticity, of course.   I seem to be analyzing the problem without considering the cause.  Same as with the body.  You can't cure (or learn to deal with)  the problem if you do not know the cause.  And that gets back to the doctor's (and my) complaint.  We are bucking the trend and, as the doctor said, maybe it really is too late to"fix it".  Should we even be thinking of fixing it?   And I see that as my years advance.  Early on, I had no trouble at all accepting what the next generation was doing.  I actually defended them against complaints.  Now?  Don't even ask.

 

But, before I sign off:  "Plasticity" brings to mind "rote learning".  The bugaboo of my generation.  We rote-learned arithmetic.  Most of us, I suspect, will never leanr advanced mathematics.  Or physics.  <G>

 

Thank you.  A side issue is hopping around in my brain right now but it leads into a whole new issue.  I'll skip it. 

Rote learning is actually quite beneficial for almost everyone AFAIK. It tends to make thing extremely boring but from what I know of how the brain works, constantly repeating an action or "skill" reinforces the associated neural pathways and makes it very likely to "stick." It's that same "use it or lose it" philosophy in action: constantly going over the process of maths reinforces the process and makes the brain consider it to be "important" so it's less likely to be discarded as "a waste of resources" to maintain. The issue with some rote often was/is concentrating on results rather than process. Just memorizing a multiplication table is far less useful than doing he actual multiplication itself by rote. (not to throw shade at memorizing tables, they are extremely useful as long as you already have the process itself ingrained by rote as well)

 

Depending on what issues you and your doctor are trying to "buck" you really should try and track down that Australian documentary series I linked. They dedicate each episode to different areas of mental performance, the ways of benchmarking them, and ways to train and rehabilitate any that have atrophied. I stumbled across it a little while ago trying to put to words an issue I had noticed. I found out the name itself was "attentional blink."

Ex:When I was much younger i could readily notice individual frames in a lot of media and to some degree notice scan-lines in CRT, but going back to the same old hardware out of a garage I wasn't able to perform at the same level. I could still notice the things that were probably happening by the "humm" of the electronics but not catch them as often(if at all) in the actual visual output. Quite an interesting thing that. I should probably be less lazy about the exercise regime I found to "fix" and retrain that.

 

It's very much worth finding a way to watch the whole series and then check into the information they water-down for mass consumption. By hook or crook I highly recommend finding a way to get ahold of it. I personally think it should be mandatory viewing and yearly review for every single k-12 teacher.

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I am not sure I can agree with that, Thoth.  Halfway up the "I'll try" scale are those who keep at it but end up doing a very mediocre job and no amount of more trying improves them.  Each end:  failure (giving it up) and success (fist class producer).  No, if we all have given talents, then it stands to reason there are some things each of us cannot ever learn.

Can you give an example of something that can't be learned? According to this, anything can be learned with the right amount of brain exercise. Like a muscle a muscle can grow if you put the work into it.

 

Scientists have recently shown that adults can grow the parts of their brains that control abilities – like the ability to do math or juggle. In one study, scientists found a group of adults who were not jugglers. They taught half how to practice juggling in the right way. These people practiced for a long time and got much better at juggling. The other half didn’t practice, and didn’t get better. Next, the scientists used a brain scanner to compare the brains of the two groups of people. They found that the people who learned how to juggle actually grew the parts of their brains that control juggling skills – the visual and motor areas. Their brains changed, so they actually had more ability. This was surprising because these people said before the study that they couldn’t juggle – just like some people say they’re “not good at math.” But when they learned good strategies for practicing and kept trying, they actually learned and grew their brains.

 

The truth about “smart” and “dumb”

 

People aren’t “smart” or “dumb” at math. At first, no one can read or solve equations. But with practice, they can learn to do it. The more a person learns, the easier it gets to learn new things – because their brain “muscles” grow stronger. This is true even for adults who have struggled for a long time to learn something. Dr. Wittenberg, a scientist from Wake Forest University, said “We used to think adults couldn’t form new brain connections, but now we know that isn’t true… The adult brain is like a muscle, and we need to exercise it.”

 

People who don’t know this can miss out on the chance to grow a stronger brain. They may think they can’t do it, or that it’s too hard. It does take work to learn, just like becoming stronger physically or becoming a better juggler does. Sometimes it even hurts. When you feel yourself get better and stronger, you realize that all the work is worth it.

 

Read on:

https://www.cmich.edu/ess/oss/Documents/Prepare%20for%20Success%20d4.pdf

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Rote learning is actually quite beneficial for almost everyone AFAIK. It tends to make thing extremely boring but from what I know of how the brain works, constantly repeating an action or "skill" reinforces the associated neural pathways and makes it very likely to "stick." It's that same "use it or lose it" philosophy in action: constantly going over the process of maths reinforces the process and makes the brain consider it to be "important" so it's less likely to be discarded as "a waste of resources" to maintain. The issue with some rote often was/is concentrating on results rather than process. Just memorizing a multiplication table is far less useful than doing he actual multiplication itself by rote. (not to throw shade at memorizing tables, they are extremely useful as long as you already have the process itself ingrained by rote as well)

 

Depending on what issues you and your doctor are trying to "buck" you really should try and track down that Australian documentary series I linked. They dedicate each episode to different areas of mental performance, the ways of benchmarking them, and ways to train and rehabilitate any that have atrophied. I stumbled across it a little while ago trying to put to words an issue I had noticed. I found out the name itself was "attentional blink."

Ex:When I was much younger i could readily notice individual frames in a lot of media and to some degree notice scan-lines in CRT, but going back to the same old hardware out of a garage I wasn't able to perform at the same level. I could still notice the things that were probably happening by the "humm" of the electronics but not catch them as often(if at all) in the actual visual output. Quite an interesting thing that. I should probably be less lazy about the exercise regime I found to "fix" and retrain that.

 

It's very much worth finding a way to watch the whole series and then check into the information they water-down for mass consumption. By hook or crook I highly recommend finding a way to get ahold of it. I personally think it should be mandatory viewing and yearly review for every single k-12 teacher.

Yes, there is a place for rote.  But, as you mention, process needs to come - I really believe - first.  Just a good glimpse so the student realizes what it is he is memorizing.  Skipping this is why so many don't get it.  They never realize that multiplication is just a fast way of adding and division is nothing more than a fast way of subtracting.    I do remember someone once telling me that learning  the process made it unnecessary to memorize the tables.  He/she was saying that they would automatically remember the combinations without ever going through the rote exercises.  I could see that, yes.  But how long would it take?

 

That gets me to "why is it so many people nowadays cannot balance their checkbooks or reconcile a bank statement?  The answer to that?  I'd almost go with Thoth on this. Because they don't want to.  A friend had a better answer.  Learning by rote leaves out all the beauty of math.  The answer from those who "can't"?  As one young lady said to me:  "I just trust the bank."  OK?

 

Yes, I am hoping to get to that Australian link.  The past week or two have been dedicated to fighting a monster called "computer" or "internet" or "the  beast".  Have a good day. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/28/2020 at 6:14 PM, hazelm said:

I am hoping there is a teacher here.  I have a question for teachers.  I  have been pondering the fact that young students take to the  electronic technology with ease while older people struggle with it.  Andy Rooney had a good answer for that.  "The reason we elders have trouble learning new things is that our minds are already full of all the wonderful things we learned years ago."   Very good.  I do not think that is an alibi.  Our memories are with us.  Our brains are already working full time.

 

However, there are also older people who take to  this technology with relish and have no trouble with it.  How to explain that?  Suddenly, a thought came to me.  Back fifty years ago, no matter how hard teachers tried, there were always some students who "just did not get it".  Try as they might, they could not grasp what was being taught.

 

So, here is my question.  Among all those elementary school students who do grasp electronic technology with no trouble, do you have students who "just do not get it"?  students who panic with the computer when it goes awry and who do not understand how to deal with it, no matter how much you explain?  Students for whom all those buttons are  overwhelming and leave them failing?

 

I thought that, perhaps a teacher - or maybe a few parents - might have an answer.  Thank you.

I am an official teacher. 

I can say that not all of the children are same. 

to be honest,This will be a bit religious idea at the backgroung if we pay attention to its originality says: "only willing / demanding people can obtain a knowledge if we would like to speak more accurate"

....

interestingly,I realised that this was correct.

in fact, this is being satisfied with two direction: both ethical and rational.

I do not think that it conform with ethics if you try to make someone learn in case he/she obviously states his unwillingness across that thing.

and it is also irrational ...because consent will be problem and geerally people are successful on the issues they are just willing to learn or they aim. 

Edited by balagna
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