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Sometimes bigger classes doesn't mean better in local schools

• Mar 20, 2019 at 2:00 PM

NOTE: The following letter to the editor was submitted by Richard Missler of Norwalk.

All parties in education agree that class size is a significant challenge and that the ideal is one on one.

In the 60’s and 70’s, education started moving away from having students seated in desks paying attention - a centered passive learning model. A small groups methodology sprung up that was activity oriented. Children were not seated at desks and quiet, but involved in a noisy, chaotic, learn-from-each-other atmosphere, focused on a project.

This group mode is favored locally as a means of developing citizens with social skills, problem solving abilities and employability.

It is true that modern research institutions are group oriented - quantum physics and cancer being examples. However, the history of civilization demonstrates that hard-headed, difficult individuals working solo have led to revolutions across the disciplines. As creative individuation is at stake, group think was not for them.

For youngsters with various learning curves, group work ends up dumbing down education. Groups also exacerbate what a teacher should be on top of and therefore aggravate the class size dilemma. Further, the chaos supplants structure to some degree. 

There is in addition a frivolity issue as some group projects are self evident, perhaps even inane. That this is a problem in education is further evidenced by PI and dress up days, which take school and homework time, with minuscule educational benefits. This is babysitting.

Ohio is on a “minutes” in school timetable. Engagement is crucial. The ideal is to do projects individually and screens are the means. These ‘great teacher’ modules also can provide individualized (one on one) instruction by using refresher clicks and Q/A formats.

Your child should leave school perplexed (in Piagetian disequilibrium) driven to find an answer. Some teachers can be a mesmerizing one person play each period, most not. The ones that can should be on screen for all students.

And the best students - they know the “right” answer, will show it to you in the book - but they refuse to own it. Group think undermines these students.

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