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 Post subject: John Taylor Gatto
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:15 pm 
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I recently (finally) read my first John Taylor Gatto book (may God rest his soul).
It was Dumbing us Down. Since it is a series of speeches he gave - of course there were no citations or footnotes.

He repeatedly made the claim that basic literacy and numeracy skills can easily be taught in less than 100 hours - allowing a person to be self-educated thereafter.

Does anyone know where this figure/theory comes from?

It certainly is at odds with my experience! (it did take me less than 100 hours to teach DD to sound out words and add on her fingers - but . . . . )

Any ideas of the source or reasoning behind these statements?

Any thoughts on Mr. Gatto's work in general?

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 Post subject: Re: John Taylor Gatto
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:33 pm 
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Anna1111 wrote:
I recently (finally) read my first John Taylor Gatto book (may God rest his soul).
It was Dumbing us Down. Since it is a series of speeches he gave - of course there were no citations or footnotes.

He repeatedly made the claim that basic literacy and numeracy skills can easily be taught in less than 100 hours - allowing a person to be self-educated thereafter.

Does anyone know where this figure/theory comes from?

It certainly is at odds with my experience! (it did take me less than 100 hours to teach DD to sound out words and add on her fingers - but . . . . )

Any ideas of the source or reasoning behind these statements?

Any thoughts on Mr. Gatto's work in general?


I remember when his book/s were popular and always intended to read one but i never did. I would *assume* this theory comes from his own teaching experience. ???


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 Post subject: Re: John Taylor Gatto
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:22 pm 
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Hmmm - that might make sense - - -

except that he didn't teach the basics - he taught mostly high school (I think) where, presumably, students had already had years of exposure to the basics - whether or not successful.

His book was entertaining - and had several good points. But, of course, I took issue with some of it, too.

I've noticed amongst homeschool theorists two common threads that go something like this:

1) "Back in the (undefined) old days, everything was relaxed and easy and undisciplined - and children had a magical childhood in which they effortlessly grew up to be responsible adults. Traditional school ruined all that."

I would buy into that better if I hadn't been a history major I guess. Or if I had never seen that picture of my father, age approximately 11, fresh from working in the fields in a pair of worn overalls. Too poor to afford a shirt under the overalls. I don't think there was EVER a time in history when children always had easy, magical childhoods.

AND

2) Authority is bad. We should rebel.
- Which I'd be cooler with if I was unfamiliar with 1 Samuel 15:23 https://biblehub.com/1_samuel/15-23.htm

But, other than those common fallacies, he DOES make some other excellent points.

(btw - I got his book on digital loan from the library : )

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 Post subject: Re: John Taylor Gatto
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:53 pm 
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Well, i am NOT a history major but i agree with you. People in general respected authority more "back in the day". It was a fact of society. You pretty much counted on the police being the "good guys".

Personally, i think a lot of our problems in the public school system stem from HOW things are taught. I'm not analytical enuf to figure out what the problem is but it seems some kids fall thru the cracks while others excel. (I also disagree with the THINGS that are taught in public school.)

I always go back to my own fortunate participation in an educational experiment. I may have talked about it before here? I was in a class of about 100 students with 3 teachers. This was for math and science. We were split into 3 groups and the teachers taught in circuit. I don't know what they learned from the experiment but what *I* learned was that i easily learned from one of the teachers. The others seemed to be speaking a different language. Having that teacher only a third of the time, i didn't do especially well that year. But it taught me that not all of us learn the same.

That same year i had a wild and crazy art teacher. She was young and full of energy, wore mini-skirts and short spiky hair with lots of makeup. She was probably "fun" but i didn't do well with her. She taught wild art! LOL I actually FAILED art that semester!!! My parents were all astonishment! The regular art teacher returned for the second semester and he taught perspective drawing. I got an A in his class. Ponderous.

This was also during the late 60's when there was a lot of revolt going on. I was only mildly revolted. ;)

I think another part of the problem is the segregation of ages/grades. I really like the "pace" system of learning. You might excel in one area and be quite behind in another but you are not held to one "grade level" in all because you are slow in one or two subjects. Also, the students of different levels help one another. As a teacher i'm sure you know that teaching a subject helps you know it better than just being the learner. ;) The one room school houses were so much better, imho.

I'm sure there's a lot of truth to Gatto's observations, at least of that time period. Educational platforms HAVE changed since then but i couldn't tell you what is so different. I know i was never asked to work in a "team" to complete a project and maybe that was bad. There should be both kinds of projects. It seems they rely on the group projects more now.

??


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 Post subject: Re: John Taylor Gatto
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:50 pm 
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If you have the time/patience to read/skim this - these are his 7 points - and I think they're GREAT points.

Interestingly, since you mentioned "paces" - I went to a Christian school that taught that way for 2 years (ACE/Alpha & Omega - one year of each) and YES - it DOES fix many of his problems! I LOVED the "Paced" learning - and I love it even more in retrospect, knowing how much good it did me : )

http://www.swaraj.org/multiversity/gatto_7lesson.htm

With your experimental education, is it possible that what you were observing or experiencing was not entirely "learning differences" but one good teacher & two ineffective teachers (for most of the students) ?

In my public, traditional high school, OTOH, I observed a lot of Gatto's 7 points!

The teamwork projects were THE worst, IMO - no one ever worked as a team! *I* did the work, *they* got the grade. Pure and simple. No "teamwork" ever existed. And, now, they do even more of that than they did then. I think it's educational communism - you know, making sure that no matter HOW little one tries or works, one still can get rich off the work of the guy next to him :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: John Taylor Gatto
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:57 pm 
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His book reminded me why I hated school yet retained my love of learning. Finishing high school was agony, it was so boring, the disconnected learning, overcrowded (two shifts, 2000 students each). Best thing my dad did for us was get us a library card and take us there every week. My dad balked at my wanting to homeschool. I gave him Gatto's book. My dad never said another word except to brag about how smart his grandkids were.

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 Post subject: Re: John Taylor Gatto
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:04 am 
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Briva wrote:
His book reminded me why I hated school yet retained my love of learning. Finishing high school was agony, it was so boring, the disconnected learning, overcrowded (two shifts, 2000 students each). Best thing my dad did for us was get us a library card and take us there every week. My dad balked at my wanting to homeschool. I gave him Gatto's book. My dad never said another word except to brag about how smart his grandkids were.


I LOVE that!

I, also, hated high school - couldn't wait to get to college where I could study what I chose instead of being forced into a false set of interests, and a rat-in-a-maze schedule. I hated it so much that I took a full schedule plus summer school, so I could get out a year early. I still have the occasional bad dream in which I am back in high school.

And, those adults who kept saying "Don't rush it! These are the best years of your life!" were SO wrong. I don't think they MEANT to lie, but still . . . .

So glad you had your Dad's support : )

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 Post subject: Re: John Taylor Gatto
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:32 pm 
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Anna1111 wrote:
I still have the occasional bad dream in which I am back in high school.


You mean nightmare! That is a recurrent one for me, too. I finished a year ahead ;)

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 Post subject: Re: John Taylor Gatto
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:52 pm 
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Briva wrote:
Anna1111 wrote:
I still have the occasional bad dream in which I am back in high school.


You mean nightmare! That is a recurrent one for me, too. I finished a year ahead ;)


Kindred spirits! :)

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