Friday, June 10, 2016

School's In

homeschool blog

John John has been at a local public high school this month taking driver's ed. That's about three weeks worth of classroom, driving simulator, and behind-the-wheel time. This class represents the very first time John has been in a formal classroom, the first time with a school teacher, the first time he has had to take notes in an actual classroom, the first time he has been in a classroom among other students, the first time he has been formally graded on work, the first time he has taken a test in a class, and the first class that resulted in an earned grade. Aren't you looking forward to hearing about his impressions of these firsts?

The Formal Classroom

The school that hosted this summer class offering is a fairly old school, probably built in the 1940's. We've been on campus a couple of dozen times for their public hours of swimming in the pool so John felt pretty comfortable being on campus. He was always on time for classes but he says that it was very common during this session of driver's ed for students to come in late or to miss class all together.

The Professional Teacher

This course was team taught, one instructor for the classroom days, one for the driving simulator days, and a couple of instructors on behind-the-wheel days. Each teacher, of course, had their own personality and teaching style. Many days John came home with comments about how unpleasant one of the instructors was.

One instructor was a guy who didn't seem to like teenagers much and who, specifically, didn't seem to know or care to know how to engage a classroom full of them. The other instructors, though, according to John, were pretty good, but boring.

Taking Notes

John has learned note taking skills here at home so he knows what he is doing there. After one lesson he was to turn in his notes to the instructor! He was concerned because the class had been a list of things and his note taking wasn't word-for-word, but rather key words to jog his memory, using some tricks to help himself to remember the content of the class.

He's seen the notes from several other students and his notes were quite different. John was nervous that the instructor wouldn't appreciate his notations but he did get the check mark feedback from the instructor that everyone else got who turned in their class notes. 

Being in a Classroom

Oh, the socialization.
Each day I would ask him about meeting people and participating in class and yada yada yada. And each day he would tell me that people don't talk in class, no one interacts with anyone else, and no one, I mean No One volunteers information in class. By the second week he started wearing an ear bud during class, just like everyone else.

He was somewhat disappointed that people weren't really open to talking or meeting new people.

Formal grading

In this class John was graded on two different things: driving simulators gave a computerized score and a final multiple choice test resulted in a grade. According to John John, the driving simulators were as poorly calibrated and as poorly functioning as you remember from your own high school drivers ed class. Every single simulator in the world must be at least sixty years old. I remember my own experience with them at the end of the 1970s when I thought the darn things must have been at least thirty years old. 

He tells the story of how he was on the simulator and he forgot to take the car out of gear for the entirety of the simulator session. He got a 72 out of 100 possible points.

Test Taking

I can't say the tests in this class even remotely represents true high school tests. The only tests John took were multiple choice except for a single occasion of drawing sketches of turn lanes.

Earned Grade

He did get an "A" in the class.

My Impressions

The class seemed pretty laughable to me. I can't say I recommend taking this class through this school district. John did feel that he learned a few things through the course. But most of the time in these past few weeks John has often commented on how odd classes are. 

John's Impressions

There is this artificial period of time for learning a set amount of material and it is highly imperative to dump the entire content of the course onto the student during this artificial time period. Furthermore, learning in the actual environment of the student, i.e. in the world-at-large, makes more sense than sitting in a classroom. Taking information apart and separating it from real life seems to make it difficult to find meaning in the content. And, lastly, classrooms seem to be places of spoon feeding information rather than places of discovery and true learning. 

Just one kid's observations. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment!