Why Math Instruction Had to Change

 

If you’ve read a newspaper lately, or watched the news, or even had conversations on social media related to snippets of instruction, you’ve no doubt read or heard something about the “new math” and how it is complicated, confusing, and utterly unnecessary. Those comments can often be attributed to the parents of students in K-12 settings; but the changes in math education are affecting all students. At the core of these challenges and concerns are the questions, “Why did instruction have to change? How is this better?” These concerns are often brought up as examples of ‘new math’ instruction is demonstrated, often without context or explanation. 

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Understanding the High School Equivalency Options

En Español

Currently, there are three main assessment options for individual who wish to earn their High School Equivalency Certificate, commonly referred to as the HSE. The tests range from the GED(r) , HiSETTM, and the TASC TestTM. Each state determines which assessment is used, with many states offering multiple options. Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 12.02.57 PM.png

So, as a student, where do you begin preparing for your HSE? As an instructor attempting to meet the CCR Standards, include job-skills training, and prepare students for life beyond the HSE, where do you begin?

While each assessment differ slightly with each other, they are all grounded in the College and Career Readiness standards. i-Pathways is an approved curriculum for the GED(r) and HiSETTM. Let’s explore the commonalities in each assessment area.

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Is Grit the Golden Ticket?

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 2.02.20 PM.pngDeveloping grit in students appears to be the golden ticket to higher retention and increased student goal attainment.

As we welcome the new semester of 2016, adult education programs enter the new semester with classes full of excited students only to find participation dwindling by mid-February. Grit and the idea of helping students build resiliency sounds like the ideal answer.

Role models and road maps are incredibly important. Helping students become aware of the ‘soft-skills’ needed to be successful in school or the workplace certainly has value in the teaching / learning environment. This is why grit is so widely accepted as the solution. The Grit Scales created by Angela Duckworth turns non-cognitive skills into measurable and teachable outcomes. However, while grit and an open mindset can be a starting point for student / teacher conversations, these ideas do not convey the students’ entire story. Grit fails to take into consideration social, economic, and racial injustice often experineced by students marganized in society.

Grit and an open mindset are not the solution to student retention. Teaching strategies related to perseverance can lead to some positive outcomes. The reality of student motivation, perseverance, and goal achievement is a complex combination of grit, emotion, environment, and social justice.

There is no single solution to student retention. Understanding the role of grit and the deliberate development of an open mindest only work when combined with relevant instructionand and advocacy for social justice and an absense of ‘victim blaming’ for students’ who lack the qualities identified as valuable in the grit scale and open mindset.

i-Pathways: An Oasis for Corrections’ Education

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by Richard Chamberlain

I have written about the i-Pathways project and its extremely successful use in corrections’ education using an Internet-connected model to provide computer-based instruction to classrooms in 33 facilities throughout the Illinois Department of Corrections. We have since expanded to a county facility in Maryland using that same model and have begun using a new delivery model called Oasis.

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The Value of Page One

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.57.11 PMHave you ever played the game Monopoly? You move your game piece around the board while attempting to acquire property and wealth. Teaching is a lot like running a Monopoly game. Instead of buying properties, students move through the learning process and acquire knowledge. However, unlike the Monopoly game where everyone starts at the same space, students begin studying and often attempt to skip the “first box”, or page one. But why is page one so important? It’s the starting point and it’s important to teach students how to read the first page of any text.

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