Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hungry Hearts

New York Times Opinion

My response:

I think teachers often lose sight of the ways in which they squash the “hungry heart.” While it is true that not everyone is geared for or interested in having a higher education, there are a lot of bright, curious children who have some difficulty absorbing auditory information (and hence, paying attention) and writing clearly, quickly, and well (i.e. handwriting problems) for whom standard approaches to homework interfere with their education and their love of learning. These kids are obviously curious and bright, but rather than get supported for those qualities, that get criticized under the mantra, “You’re so bright. You would do so well if you just tried harder.” They actually try, at first, but the demand to get all of their work done without time limits, causes them eventually to learn to dislike school. I understand that we have requirements and that we want children to do what they are told and to respect authority. But without true time limits on homework (rather than estimates of how much time it should take), there will be numbers of children who will be perceived by Professor Edmondson as lacking hungry hearts, when in fact, their hearts were traumatized and starved at an early age. Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D. author of The Homework Trap.

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