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Re: [xmca] comognition some more

Thank you all for your responses, and David K for trying to answer my
questions a couple of days ago. I will respond to David in spearate note.
Here i will
try to explain again the general problem which I take this and prior note to
be symptomatic

This example is the second of two meant to point to a GENERAL phenomenon
I have been seeking to address (along with Peg and others) for many years:
The problem
of children who reach 3-4th grade and are about TWO GRADES behind in
important constituent skills (here I will stick with math because these are
the examples I have

In each of the two examples, this and the one involving a child tackling a
multiplication problem,
the major concern is that the child is unable quickly and confidently to
solve constituent kinds
of problems which the current level of instructions assumes they have
mastered. The dozens of
examples extracted from fieldnotes collected by my students (who are not
teachers in training as a
rule, but (in some sense) know basic arithmetic operations and are often
ingenious in their instructional efforts when kids struggle) show this
consistent gap between the knowledge/skill level presupposed by the homework
assignments and what children could possibly deal with effectively on their

The problem shows up in 3-4th grade in standard US instruction where there
is a marked change in the nature of the material the children are supposed
to learning and their ability to deal with presupposed
"prior knowledge."

Here is my question: What literature exists documenting the prevalence of
this kind of knowledge gap
that goes beyond standardized grade-level scores to specify what is missing?
What programs of
re-mediation exist for which evidence of effectiveness also exist?

I greatly value the considerations that people have brought to the examples,
and for sure I believe
that the general issue can be addressed through a variety of seismic shifts
in society and education.
But the only seismic events among the children among whom I work at present
are decreased adult
employment, increased gang activity, a long summer facing them, and the near
certainty that when fall arrives they will be further behind than they are
at the current moment.

I plan to try yet another assault on this problem for these children. I
would like to do it as well informed
as possible. Hence my call for assistance in identifying a literature that
tackles this problem. I feel it
must be there, but I am being blind to it. -- And doing a lousy job of
explaining my concerns to you all!!

On Sun, May 24, 2009 at 7:36 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Well, my reading of this, Mike, is that A has not firmly fixed the two
> operations, + and -, and is simply getting them mixed up sometimes, about
> which rules she has to apply. Maybe at some point she has moved too fast
> from learning adding to subtracting while adding was not firmly learnt. I
> would take subtraction practice off the schedule for a little while.

(Yes, Andy, I see the problem in a similar way. No sure I agree on the
solution, but want to get the general issue on the table or be persuaded to
change entirely the way I think about the issues).

> Andy
> Mike Cole wrote:
>> Another example of a struggling kid and how the strugggles manifest
>> themselves in talk and action.
>> They were the same as the problems I had helped her with the week before.
>> I
>> asked her if she remembered how we added the two easy numbers together and
>> then added the third umber to that answer. She nodded yes and so that’s
>> what
>> we did for all the problems. For example, if the problem was 3 + 3 + 7 we
>> added 3 + 3 first, which is six and then added the 7 to six, to get the
>> final answer. One thing I noticed, which I noticed before, is that A seems
>> to subtract a lot of times instead of add. So if I ask her what 7 + 3 is
>> she
>> blurts out 4 really fast and then says, “no…” (Counts on her fingers) and
>> then says 10. I’m not sure why she wants to subtract but this seems to
>> slow
>> her down a lot because she has to really think it through.
>> Again, ability presupposed by school and teacher are absent.
>> mike
>> _______________________________________________
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> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden (Erythrós Press and Media) http://www.erythrospress.com/
> Orders: http://www.erythrospress.com/store/main.html#books
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