by Lucy Lynette
by Lucy Lynette
I don’t remember any of the content from my 9th grade history class. I couldn't tell you a single thing we were taught or put my finger on any of the events, dates, or people we studied; what I can remember though is the educational horror that was “cooperative learning”
I'm aware that most educators these days are familiar with this teaching method but for those of you outside the educational world, let me give you a little overview: the concept is to get kids to interact with their peers and think outside the box by giving them countless group activities and constantly putting them in front of the class to do “creative presentations.” Sounds great, right? Wrong. Let me give you a student perspective.
Public school is a mash up of kids from all different backgrounds and values. Now personally, education is very important to me and my schooling means a lot. Not everyone feels that way and before, that was all fine and dandy. They did their thing and I did mine. But then they started this cooperative learning stuff and suddenly my grade depends on the people that sit next to me; aka a bleach blonde vanity queen and a clueless stoner that probably can't find the right side of his marijuana pipe half the time.
Further more, even if you do have a good group, not all people work well with other people because they have a specific learning style that works for them. As for me, I have ADHD and am attempting to attend school unmedicated [Mom's note: this is being done for very good reasons and with a plan in place]. This is not easy and takes a large amount of structure and self-analysis. I have a specific way I need to operate to learn or I get distracted and cannot finish my work. This strategy does not in fact include scrambling to organize a last minute “creative presentation” we have to do in front of the class at the end of the period. It's horrible and stressful and humiliating and distracting and all together terrible for anyone actually trying to learn something. Also because of my ADHD, I sometimes cannot gain focus on a class activity and I have to step back and slow down and carefully think everything through. This is not and option while in the cooperative learning program because everything is in a group and must be completed by the end of the period so that your teacher can shove you in front of the class to present it.
I like history. I love to learn about past events and people and all that jazz but I hated that class. I struggled through it and dreaded it everyday. The cooperative system ruined the content and distracted from my learning.
P.S Please do not pass this off as a kid with a learning disability struggling with the content. I got straight As that years and am NOT the only one who feels this way.
I know this is a hot-button topic for many. Your thoughtful comments on this would be very much appreciated by both myself and my daughter. Also, she did tell me this morning that she is planning to talk to the teacher about her concerns.