Good tutors learn a great deal from their students. Each student is different, requiring the tutor to be flexible, patient, and creative. I always enjoyed the challenge of a new student because it required much ingenuity on my part. And because I was being paid for my services, unlike the public schools which are "free," I had to show that my teaching was producing positive results. One of the most challenging students I ever had was 14-year-old Neal Pulovsky, a 9th grader....
Tutoring is undoubtedly the most effective way of teaching anybody anything. It is the method that has been used since biblical times for fathers to teach their sons. In the Middle Ages nobles hired tutors to teach their heirs long before schooling was invented. Indeed, schooling did not become the dominant mode of education until the industrial revolution when the state got into the education business. In the United States, schooling started in New England with the common schools and private academies. Protestant denominations created schools which have become today’s prestigious prep schools for the rich. But because of the egregious failures of American public schools, tutoring is now being used by more and more parents who want their children to get the education they need.
In my previous column I wrote that it is almost impossible to become a good, innovative teacher in today’s public schools. I base that statement on the experiences of one of America’s great teachers, Marva Collins, who tried to teach her students to read with intensive phonics in a public school in Chicago, and was finally forced to leave the system and create her own private school where she could teach in the one traditional way that produces high literacy as opposed to the public school way that produces functional illiteracy.
There is a world of difference between classroom teaching and one-on-one tutoring. I’ve experienced both and know the difference. Classroom teaching is more a job of mob management, endless record keeping, mandated testing, and following government instructions rather than actual teaching. A room full of rambunctious children out to defy you can turn teaching into a game with winners and losers. Frustration is the main emotion experienced by classroom teachers. Besides, most of today’s teachers have been badly prepared by their colleges of education. Which is why they are so poor at teaching the basics and why test scores continue to reflect the lack of genuine learning that takes place in too many of today’s public schools.
Back in the early 1900s, when the professors of education were working overtime to find “scientific” justification for changing reading instruction in American schools from alphabetic phonics to the look-say, sight, or whole-word method, many studies were done to see what type of effect the new teaching method would have on children’s reading ability.
I am writing you and your colleagues this open letter in order to help you achieve your stated goal of improving American public education so that Americans can face the future with confidence and creativity.
Apparently a large majority of American parents believe that the exclusion of God from the public schools is not very important and has had little effect on how and what Johnny learns. Otherwise, they would not have so easily acquiesced to the takeover of the schools by the atheists. In other words, for many parents God is a meaningless, ineffective, but comforting concept that need not interfere with anything as important as education. After all, atheist teachers are only interested in education, not religion, and they really care about the children in their charge.
Everything you ever wanted to know about teen depression is on the Internet. Just type in the words “teen depression,” and it’s all there. In a website entitled Teen Depression, I found the following: "Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States among teens and adults, and can have a serious impact on the lives of the many teens who suffer from depression." The fact that neither parents, therapists, nor educators will even admit that removing God from education can produce depression is a sign of how spiritually perverse our society has become.
The two killers at Columbine High School, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were excellent readers and writers. They were intelligent, clever, and self-motivated. Yet, lacking a foundation in biblical studies, or moral ethics of any kind, the moral absolutes of the Bible had no meaning for them.
Preschool teaching in America is a horrible mess. Most of the products on the market are of the Mickey Mouse variety that view children as brainless idiots who have to be taught by cute little animals who are more intelligent than the children. Their main teaching tool is pictures. The more pictures the better. The bigger and more colorful the pictures the better. No one in preschool or primary education seems to know how children actually learn.