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Re: Opening at East Central College

I find this post appallingly arrogant. Assuming that the poster from ECC
was legitimate, he/she was describing a nightmare situation where the
only concern of the Dean was that the students pass the courses so they
will sign up for more. To suggest that the lack of use of PER
invalidates any complaints by that poor faculty member is the height of

(Unless, of course, PER lowers the bar so low that everyone passes.)

Bob at PC

You will also notice that I thought that it is difficult to believe that a
dean would not understand that engineers need to be qualified. If the dean
is really leading the students on, then this is extremely reprehensible. I
have heard that music schools do that by telling students they have a
promising career even when it is not true. I have been told that this is to
support their programs and keep a pipeline of paying students.

PER actually raises the bar by forcing students to think, and by promoting
higher level thinking skills, something that these students sorely need. My
question about this post is whether the writer has actually tried strategies
that actually work to improve student thinking skills. Has the writer
looked at what works, read the literature, attended extended workshops ...
My impression is no. Of course my impression could be wrong.

Essentially what I am hearing is typical teacher griping about the quality
of the students and the admin. attitudes. These complaints are typical of
what is going on in most secondary schools in the US, and I hear them all
the time. Meanwhile the teachers and administrators do not really look at
what actually works. Now, when one actually implements a program that
works, then the real flak really begins. I have gotten more than my share.

My sympathy would have been a lot higher if the writer had shown some
knowledge of the research and had indicated they had tried to use it. Then
the writer would have been part of the solution. As it is, I see both the
writer and administrators as part of the problem. I have also heard
complaints from faculty who are knowledgeable about PER, and I really have
much more sympathy for them.

Maybe this is arrogant, but from what I have seen there is a great deal of
arrogance from people who think they know how education works, but are
unwilling to read the research in depth. Would you take seriously a person
who said they understood quantum theory but said the research was wrong and
refused or neglected to read it? I can't claim to have read everything, but
I have read every article that I could get my hands on in both PER and other
science and math. ed. I have also implemented a variety of strategies, and
have achieved good Hake gain. I might even know a thing or two about
science and physics education.

Now if you want a good complaint, I will have to attend a pop psychology
session about multiple intelligences. This is the second time I have seen
this speaker, and the first time he gave a lesson plan on Boyle's law that
was flat wrong and promoted misconceptions, but may get the students to
memorize the name "Boyle". All of the teachers at our school consider this
to be a worthless 6 hour waste of time. Then of course the administration
has just purchased another electronic whiteboard at great expense. The
school is running a high deficit, and we have all had to tighten department
budgets. Of the 4 new boards purchased, only 2 are working (1 has not been
put into service, and 1 is broken). Meanwhile there is absolutely no
evidence that this type of technology improves student learning. Maybe the
author of the post should spend a couple of years teaching secondary school.
Then they would have many more things to complain about.

John M. Clement
Houston, TX