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Re: [Phys-L] honors students

This is precisely because the current system heavily rewards students for
parroting back exactly what they were told. This is enbedded in the state
standards under "curriculum". And it is enforced by multiple choice
questions with only one right answer. MC tests can be useful, but are not
good as the only evaluations.

An example of this is a physics teacher of my acquaintance who took a
workshop on programming physics simulations. She got into some of the
terminology and started to insist the "directory" was the correct term to
use. But "folder" has now become more common while some of us still
occasionally use the term directory. Her teaching was probably extremely
rigid. When you have several terms for a particular thing that indicates
you may have different ways of looking at it and that is all to the good.

Teachers who do use inquiry and give students more freedom run risks, but in
the process the students do learn more. I have seen that when I had to
clamp down with an iron fist that learning became much less. And such
teachers are often let go in favor of one who will follow the program.

But mental agility can be promoted. There was an evaluation of computer
systems used in math by ETS as I recall. They found that students who used
computers as exploration tools improved in math, but when students only used
them for drill and practice, their ability was worse. Isn't mental agility
and understanding what PER is all about?

John M. Clement
Houston, TX

On 09/30/2012 07:33 AM, Jeff Bigler wrote:

As an amusing aside, honors students tend to cling more
tenaciously than
average students to ideas they were taught by their
previous teachers.

Hmmmm. Perhaps we have been "honoring" the wrong things.

Perhaps it is time to change the rules of the game, so that
we honor mental agility and critical thinking.

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