Could School be Both Too Easy AND Too Hard?

Posted the following comment to Anthony Cody’s Living in Dialog blog at EdWeek in response to his post “Could School be Both Too Easy AND Too Hard?


Hi Anthony. Your post underscores multiple challenges involved in a public education system designed to serve an amazingly diverse population, especially if there is an expectation for a unified view of any one course, teacher, school, and etcetera, much less similar outcomes. I say ‘amazingly diverse’ since student differences span cognitive, emotional, social, cultural, economic / class, and physical domains, to name a few. In addition, concepts such as learning styles and multiple intelligences show increased uniquenesses in students, which manifest themselves in classrooms.  Given the vastness of these process inputs, is it no wonder process outcomes, or observations about the process, itself, differ? Is it even possible to meet the same perception of anything from a set of students, whether they be adults or adolescents?  Other than for an extreme act, or single event, I cannot recall any classroom where the distilled perception of the course or teacher was the same for all students. Does anyone?

In terms of what students perceive as hard versus easy, I experienced a similar phenomenon to the Oakland science teacher whose students perceived their prior year teacher’s methods to be easier than his reasoning and sense-making approach.  It took a while, however, these same students came to realize that a broader approach is superior to a more narrow approach if true understanding is the goal.

About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Independent consultant and junior college adjunct instructor. Former secondary math teacher who taught math intervention, algebra 1, geometry, accelerated algebra 2, precalculus, honors precalculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Statistics. Prior to teaching, I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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3 Responses to Could School be Both Too Easy AND Too Hard?

  1. Dave ( also a career changer Math teacher ),a few years ahead of you. says:

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …


  2. Dave ( also a career changer Math teacher ),a few years ahead of you. says:

    I’m teaching summer school where about 20% of those who took IA passed. So if I teach a subset of the same kids and 50 % pass in August, will that make me a genius ?


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