haha yeah and they are probably ivy leaguers too, right?
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:08 (2 years ago) Permalink
the one that trips me out is when the annenberg foundation went to harvard and interviewed a bunch of science majors leaving their graduation and just asked them "where does the mass of a plant come from as it grows" and 95% of them didn't know the answer
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:09 (2 years ago) Permalink
haha enough of them are for it to be embarrassing
like, dude you have an MD, why can't you divide by 5
― thuggish ruggish Brahms (DJP), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:11 (2 years ago) Permalink
on the other hand, if we treat high school science class as an opportunity to learn science in a way where the kids have a more level playing field - making it not about learning specialized vocabulary and memorizing the names of the parts of the cell, but instead making it about "what do you notice about the world around you" and "how can we think about systems of things and categorizing things and making conclusions that are repeatable and confirmable" then maybe this is something that would help
i don't know, the problem is that the second type of science class i describe is in the "pie in the sky" stage, and if you back off of rote / procedural learning for a second in this current political climate you immediately open yourself up to accusations of not preparing our kids to compete w/ china or something like that
― the late great, Friday, March 16, 2012 8:52 AM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
well, yeah. ideally, a good science curriculum does both: teaches about the scientific method in an accessible manner, and also drills important basic information into kids' heads so that they don't have to take high-school level classes in college. and i do think that high expectations and a strongly competitive emphasis on college prep are good things in a general sense. our schools should work to cultivate excellence wherever possible, as well as provide a basic level of educational service.
― Fozzy Osbourne (contenderizer), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:13 (2 years ago) Permalink
I'm not sure the code-switching thing has to be taken as classist/racist. business-speak is exactly as 'restricted' as the language inner-city kids use with each other. and people have access to 'elaborated' code and certain types of analytic thinking due to their life experience, not due to some innate ability. isn't the opposite be far more problematic?
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:16 (2 years ago) Permalink
wouldn't the opposite be*
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:17 (2 years ago) Permalink
re: discussion of "elaborated" vs. "restricted" codes
some social groups (of whatever "class") probably do promote the idea that "code-switching" is important, and that elaborated codes are important. others probably do not. to the extent that certain contexts - such as school, for instance - require a comfortable familiarity with elaborated codes, those who have such familiarity and/or can code-switch easily, may well be more successful in general. i do not see this as in any way a "classist" idea, even if it seems to be true that certain supposedly "lower class" cultural groups tend to stress the importance of restricted codes.
― Fozzy Osbourne (contenderizer), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:20 (2 years ago) Permalink
^ some questionable comma placement there
i also don't buy into the idea of a "restricted" vs "elaborated" code
chemists and auto mechanics both use complicated shorthand for what they do
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
yeah iatee i think the position you are taking is more reasonable than what i posted though. the quote above really made it sound like poor kids only have access to a language which makes it difficult for them to formulate new ideas as such.
― lukas, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:22 (2 years ago) Permalink
Elaborated codes have a longer, more complicated sentence structure that utilizes uncommon words and thoughts. In the elaborated code there is no padding or filler, only complete, well laid out thoughts that require no previous knowledge on the part of the listener, i.e., necessary details will be provided. According to Bernstein (1971), a working class person communicates in restricted code as a result of the conditions in which they were raised and the socialization process. The same is true for the middle class person with the exception that they were exposed to the elaborated code as well.
FFS how is this not offensively classist?
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:24 (2 years ago) Permalink
haha yes, middle-class people speak w/o padding, in well laid out thoughts that require no previous knowledge, just like most real estate agents, land developers and investment bankers i know
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:25 (2 years ago) Permalink
ok this sounds much better
It is not primarily about restricted-code users' inability to understand elaborated code. They are exposed too much to the media for that (although some tabloid newspapers and radio stations affect a particular restricted-code style to suggest intimacy with their readers). It is however about their unfamiliarity with using it (speaking it rather than hearing it) to explain complex ideas.
Don't over-simplify: it's patronising. Remember that when teaching the misunderstandings may come not from your use of elaborated code, but from your use of your restricted code, adapted to your own speech community (jargon, abbreviations, etc.), rather than a properly and appropriately elaborated code.
this is a HUGE issue in science and math education - we call it "the expert blind spot", or "why your engineer dad got so frustrated trying to help w/ your math homework"
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:30 (2 years ago) Permalink
tbf i think that is saying that middle-class people can communicate in their own restricted code but were also exposed to the elaborated code and so can use that too?
but it's still offensively classist
― uh oh i'm having an emotion (c sharp major), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:30 (2 years ago) Permalink
it absolutely is, but i don't care about messengers. the basic idea, once removed from that sort of bullshit framing, strikes me as both valid and interesting. communication within groups of close peers does tend to be "restricted" in a sense. otoh, the kind of communication employed by most entry-level textbooks is relatively well "elaborated". it's code-switching that i'm most interested in, as an idea. i would imagine that those taught from a young age to be comfortable with a wide variety of code types and varying degrees of restriction and elaboration will have a leg up in school.
― Fozzy Osbourne (contenderizer), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:32 (2 years ago) Permalink
how can people who understand baseball statistics not be able to understand "real" statistics
how come people can do math in their head w/ dollars and cents but not w/ numbers or variables
because they find understanding the context easy, and because they ALREADY understand the context they can work out how to look at it in complicated ways?
whereas with "real" (textbook) stats and maths they have to understand the complications straight off
― lex pretend, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:34 (2 years ago) Permalink
why your engineer dad got so frustrated trying to help w/ your math homework"
OMG ONLY 25 YEARS TOO LATE
― drawn to them like a moth toward a spanakopita (Laurel), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:34 (2 years ago) Permalink
would 'working class people are *more likely* to commuicate in restricted code than, idk, the children of academics' still be classist? like I agree that the way it's written there is pretty awful but if you look at this as a theory w/ soft edges and not "all working class people are always like this. all upper class people are always like this." it doesn't seem particularly offensive to me. like there's nothing magic or innate about access to elaborated code, it's just due to having life and cultural experience.
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:35 (2 years ago) Permalink
it's just due to having life and cultural experience.
well, certain types of life and cultural experience, right?
― Fozzy Osbourne (contenderizer), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:37 (2 years ago) Permalink
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:38 (2 years ago) Permalink
i guess it is an open question, the extent to which a "real textbook" is an elaborated code and the extent to which it is a restricted code
i think "real textbooks" tend to basically be in "restricted code" from the start, because they start w/ "adult thinking" and work their way down toward "student thinking", whereas a "constructivist" teacher (like myself) would want to start w/ "student thinking" and work up to "adult thinking"
that would hopefully redress the gap between people who had been exposed to the restricted code of adult thinking (like me learning about hydraulic lock because i was lucky enough to have a mechanical engineer for a dad)
newer textbooks seem to be doing a better and better job of doing that ... the problem or drawback with that then is that it can be interpreted as doing a disservice to kids who already have an in to that "restricted code" which comes back to the question of whether education is a race with an end-goal (a race to the top?) or whether it's a life-long process w/ no "ahead" or "behind" in the race
the second idea is a tough one to sell though because we're used to comparing ourselves and our kids with other people and their kids
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:40 (2 years ago) Permalink
as a math teacher i always have a problem with that, because people are like "i want my kid to be in multivariate calculus by the time he is in 11th grade" and i want to be like "i got an A in that class at berkeley and i only really figured out the geometric proof of the pythagorean theorem at age 29"
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:42 (2 years ago) Permalink
people are like "i want my kid to be in multivariate calculus by the time he is in 11th grade" and i want to be like "i got an A in that class at berkeley and i only really figured out the geometric proof of the pythagorean theorem at age 29"
those two statement don't seem at all oppositional to me. they have their desires, and you have your experience.
― Fozzy Osbourne (contenderizer), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:52 (2 years ago) Permalink
yeah but their desires are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of mathematics and my experience is based on many years of professional and personal engagement w the field
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:58 (2 years ago) Permalink
their desire is for their kids to "get into good schools and have the choice of pursuing science & tech careers"
those two things are contradictory
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
baseball stats are pretty much just ratios, right? things like independence and covariance and sampling error and fat-tailed distributions and whatever don't figure in like they do once you dive into the "real" stuff. On the other hand, I do think we could make real stats more widely taught and accessible, and it would be very useful to people in all walks of life.
― s.clover, Friday, 16 March 2012 19:03 (2 years ago) Permalink
even the popular scientific press likes these "guys! power laws!" stories when often it turns out there aren't power laws involved at all, but other, less sexy distributions.
― s.clover, Friday, 16 March 2012 19:05 (2 years ago) Permalink
...their desire is for their kids to "get into good schools and have the choice of pursuing science & tech careers"
― the late great, Friday, March 16, 2012 11:59 AM (10 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
first line seems a bit presumptive, and i strongly disagree w the second. basically everyone i know that has a career in the sciences went to a "good school" (i.e., a high competitive one). and i know lots of people doing that kind of work.
― Fozzy Osbourne (contenderizer), Friday, 16 March 2012 19:11 (2 years ago) Permalink
My brother's finishing up his PhD in computer engineering and he got his undergrad at BYU-ID. The only people who are competing to get into there are Mormons who couldn't get into regular BYU.
― Marilyn Hagerty: the terroir of tiny town (Abbbottt), Friday, 16 March 2012 19:16 (2 years ago) Permalink
Oh, one other thing I would say about law schools, is that for a large law firm (and maybe for a certain kind of smaller one too) it's partly a marketing thing to hire from "top" law schools, you know, so you can say to Citigroup "The associates we have working on your deal graduated from Harvard, Stanford, Columbia" etc. That said, I don't completely discount using law school as a proxy for ability. It's hardly a perfect proxy, but when you have to do a lot of hiring at once you go with the easiest measure that gives you the best odds of getting someone good. Someone from Brooklyn Law School might be smarter and harder working than someone from Harvard, but the odds are better that the opposite is true and how the hell are you going to choose otherwise? Interviews are notoriously bad determinants, and anything else would be too time-consuming. So you hire 20 kids from Harvard and one from Brooklyn rather than the other way around or 50/50. Yes, a few of the Harvard kids will turn out to be entitled little shits who don't want to do any work, and the BLS kid who just missed the cut might have been the dark horse who would have headed up a practice group one day, but they're still using the best and most cost-effective methods they have of choosing.
― the prurient pinterest (Hurting 2), Friday, 16 March 2012 19:36 (2 years ago) Permalink
basically everyone i know that has a career in the sciences went to a "good school" (i.e., a high competitive one)
many people i know who work in the sciences went to third or fourth tier schools (or even community colleges) for undergrad and elite schools for graduate school
in fact one guy i know who is now a prof at davis was a HS dropout who did not start at a community college until 23 or 24, when he got tired of getting high all day
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 19:49 (2 years ago) Permalink
things like independence and covariance and sampling error and fat-tailed distributions and whatever don't figure in like they do once you dive into the "real" stuff
in high school it's ratios, standard deviation and possibly chi-squared
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 19:51 (2 years ago) Permalink
which should go great w/ baseball, video games, etc
also contenderizer i don't think it's presumptuous at all
i don't presume to know what my parents want, i know what they want
i don't presume to understand the difference between "school mathematics" (based on memorizing and repeating procedures) and "real mathematics" (based on intuition, persistence, looking for patterns, approaching new questions, approximating, combining approaches, etc), i know the difference
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 19:53 (2 years ago) Permalink
i mean it may not be widely true but it is true where i work, and given that it's a large part of the national dialogue about what constitutes good math education (specific pieces of info vs specific skills vs specific practices and habits) i think it's probably true across many schools
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 19:55 (2 years ago) Permalink
newton wrote that
i can tell you that what parents want re: math is high SAT scores and good state test results
the fastest way to good results is to teach to a test (ask anyone who teaches or has taught an SAT prep course), memorizing shortcuts and learning tricks
the problem is when you get to college, you realize suddenly that you need to be able to "reason judiciously", something our students get very little preparation for, even the "elite" students
i have always thought this is why there are declining numbers of american students at every level of science and math education - fewer students finish science degrees than start them, even fewer get into graduate degrees, even fewer get into and finish post-doctoral studies, etc etc
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
also the other side is that in countries that routinely kick our ass on math and science tests, the students are actually asked to learn fewer things than in american schools and they learn them more slowly ... but somehow they kick our ass when those students come to american school
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:03 (2 years ago) Permalink
they are also generally going to cost more to train at the undergrad level, so universities have little reason to push people into the fields
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:05 (2 years ago) Permalink
cost more? why?
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:07 (2 years ago) Permalink
i'm not following what you're saying iatee
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:08 (2 years ago) Permalink
I teach in the humanities at a public uni & a few years back had a Vietnamese immigrant who struggled hard with written & oral English, didn't understand well the Western debates on monotheism, etc. She ended up kicking every other student's ass. The difference was partly that she actually came to office hours, unlike the others. But I don't really know what else it was: intrinsic smarts? work habits? I dunno, but it was eye opening.
― Euler, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:08 (2 years ago) Permalink
science students require expenive labs, interaction w/ higher-paid faculty, humanities students require chalkboards and grad student teacher who you're paying 15k a year
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:11 (2 years ago) Permalink
not math faculty
― Euler, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:11 (2 years ago) Permalink
yeah I mean it's not true across the board but it's a partial explanation why there's not internal pressure to make science ed more accessible at any given university. it costs money and doesn't bring immediate benefits, unless your university is starting out w/ a surplus of science resources.
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:16 (2 years ago) Permalink
well they do generally charge lab fees for the labs
― the late great, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:17 (2 years ago) Permalink
trying to find a breakdown, I remember reading it somewhere http://blogs.sciencemag.org/sciencecareers/2012/01/university-of-f.html
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:20 (2 years ago) Permalink
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:25 (2 years ago) Permalink
science research otoh can bring in defense $$$$$ (and also other industry $$$$) while good luck getting grants for your novel interpretation of milton.
― s.clover, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:36 (2 years ago) Permalink
yes, on the research level the opposite is true
― iatee, Friday, 16 March 2012 20:38 (2 years ago) Permalink
My late father was a mechanical engineer by training, but it's amazing how the field hasn't changed. Sure, they use computers a lot more. My dad worked part-time up to the last month of his life, he adapted to the CAD programs just fine!
Engineers must maintain their math schools their entire life! My dad used to sit down at night with a math book! I envied him, people think math is hopelessly dry, it's interesting if you view it as an expression of spatial relationships! If you're into art or design or photography you might want to maintain some math skills.
My dad put a lot of pressure on me to learn math. It keeps your brain sharp and doesn't have any ideological bullshit in it. I like doing the odd math problem.
We had a math test in design school and I got a C! I got a high score on my math SAT but I hadn't practiced in a while.
Math and science don't discriminate based on background, but sometimes a student's social climate discourages them from learning math. i.e., if you struggle with math you are stupid! Conceptually, it is easier than philosophy or literature...doing the problems is difficult.
― โตเกียวเหมียวเหมียว aka Got Gym (Mount Cleaners), Friday, 16 March 2012 20:41 (2 years ago) Permalink