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tanagrabeast comments on Book Review: How Learning Works - Less Wrong

35 Post author: whales 19 January 2014 08:45PM

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Comment author: tanagrabeast 20 January 2014 03:22:11AM *  18 points [-]

This looks like a valuable book, and as a teacher I will probably read it soon. That said, at the high school level, it often feels like we are already swimming in "best practices" but being pushed under by crushing workloads. Better practices generally mean higher loads -- sometimes not in the long term, but always in the short term.

Think of it this way. When you have 180 students per day, anything you do that relates to individuals gets multiplied by 180. Did you design a killer rubric that lets you read and give useful feedback on a submitted paragraph in just one minute? You're amazing, but you will still need three solid hours to go through them all. And remember that this is on top of all of your other lesson planning and parent communication and extracurriculars and meetings and administrative paperwork etc etc.

And you have school again tomorrow.

In the same dangerous motion of not quitting after my first year, I privately swore to doggedly accumulate true effectiveness without sacrificing my personal life on the altar of public education. In the eyes of many, this makes me a bad person. How dare I draw boundaries around teaching as though it were just a job? Six years later, though, the tortoise is clearly winning this race. The corpses of the hares smolder by the side of the road; they were never as fast as they looked.

I will no doubt find some useful gems in this book, but they will be vastly outnumbered by the tears I shed for all of the great techniques I won't see any realistic way to implement.

Thank you for writing this review.