South Africa Flag logo

South African Skeptics

October 14, 2019, 13:00:26 PM
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
Go to mobile page.
News: Please read the forum rules before posting.
   
   Skeptic Forum Board Index   Help Forum Rules Search GoogleTagged Login Register Chat Blogroll  
Pages: 1 [2] 3  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic:

SA teacher "forced to quit" after teaching evolution.

 (Read 9794 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Online Online

Posts: 3094



« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2012, 09:30:34 AM »

Well OK, there's woo and there's also downright incompetence. A colleague of mine recently ranted about his daughter's mainstream school who had this moron science teacher. She told kids various gems that had to be righted by said colleague personally (because teacher vehemently fought the daughter's assertions).

These included:

* Earth has an atmosphere because it has gravity. Other planets do not have atmospheres, because they do not have gravity. Conclusion: The Earth is the only planet with gravity.

* When you apply a force to something and it doesn't move, it applies an equal and opposite force back. BUT that only holds for stuff that isn't the earth, in the case of standing on the earth, the surface of the earth does NOT apply an equal force to you that opposes gravity. (how she believes this works is a mystery)

Now, the first assertion alone has so many things wrong with it that my brain hurts. And this is from a "trained" science teacher that DOES teach evolution, etc. Exactly HOW evolution is taught, is another matter I'm sure...
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3752


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2012, 10:39:47 AM »

Palaeontologist Dr Jurie van den Heever weighs in on the flipside of the situation where certain teachers refuse to teach evolution.

Incompetent teachers are just one aspect of the problem.  Equally incompetent parents constitute the more important issue.  Everybody is so busy shouting to be heard that nobody is listening anymore — not that they could hear anything above all the clamour even if they wanted to.

'Luthon64
Logged
Rigil Kent
Clotting Factor
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-3
Offline Offline

Posts: 2460


Three men make a tiger.


« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2012, 10:49:52 AM »

Everybody is so busy shouting to be heard that nobody is listening anymore

Quite. Maybe Newton's third law holds for shouting forces too. Sad

Rigil
Logged
Faerie
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +10/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2112



« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2012, 11:33:41 AM »

my brain hurts.

Quite.

Reflecting back on my eldest's years at school, I'm gobsmacked at the amount of teaching I personally had to do. How much I had to coach (and still does with my youngest) as to absorb the correct facts but still being able to appease the teacher with responding with the "correct " answers in order to pass set exams. It was (is) a constant juggle to make sure they understood exactly what is right but simultaneously being able to manipulate the system. Thank goodness that I'm a reader and we had endless sessions with encyclopedias spread open on the lounge floor cross-referencing facts.
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3752


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2012, 12:27:02 PM »

According to the article I linked to earlier, “the [CAPS] document [for life sciences] also recommends two weeks for learners to be taught about alternatives to evolution, including creationism and intelligent design.”

I’m both puzzled and alarmed that this provision should be included.  Neither creationism nor intelligent design is science in any rigorous sense of that word.  Creationism isn’t science because it isn’t falsifiable.  Intelligent design isn’t science because it lacks objective standards for distinguishing designs that are the result of directed intelligence from those that are not.  In any case, “god” (or whatever name you wish to give the ostensible creator/intelligent designer) is not any kind of useful, illuminating and/or fruitful explanation for anything.  It merely defers the questions by being a placeholder for “I don’t know”.

I very much doubt that these powerful criticisms of those alternatives even make it into the life sciences syllabus.

No, this inclusion smells suspiciously like an appeasement gambit so that religious teachers and parents are mollified that their origins beliefs aren’t simply elbowed aside as they rightfully should be.  The dark and dangerous side of this clause is, of course, that it legitimises creationism and intelligent design in the minds of pupils … er, I mean lennahs.

'Luthon64
Logged
beLIEf
Full Member
***

Skeptical ability: +1/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 245



atheistinafrica
WWW
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2012, 19:22:47 PM »

Wow I wonder how long I've got left then not only am I still waiting (9 months??!!!) for my work visa, that's a whole other thread... but when lennehs are asking a lot of questions I have a handy stack of accessible guides to evolution which I give out like candy.  One thing that does give me a lot of encouragement is the kids that are forced to go to church at home actually ask really interesting, relevant, critical questions about the world and have long discovered that no-one is answering their questions at home. I never tell them "they are wrong" but that they must question everything and make up their own minds and not dismiss anything just because their parents/ church disagree with it. In my defence- if I ever need it - critical thinking is in my school ethos, despite the fact that the head and board of governors have a disturbing love affair with Jesus.
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Online Online

Posts: 3094



« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2012, 19:33:09 PM »

Quote from: beLIEf
disturbing love affair with Jesus

Me and a fellow critical thinker often get weird stares at parties when we announce we're gonna be millionares after making a porno called "Coming to Jesus". Which will give us enough budget to make our epic follow up: "Jesus: The second coming."

I can go on all night....Wink  but often we're asked to stop.  Sad
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1837



WWW
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2012, 19:49:13 PM »

According to the article I linked to earlier, “the [CAPS] document [for life sciences] also recommends two weeks for learners to be taught about alternatives to evolution, including creationism and intelligent design.”


I am presently "studying" to be a teacher. I put the word studying in quote marks because I have never in my life seen such a load of meaningless drivel as the post-grad certificate in education, and it remains to be seen whether I will complete it or decide to just give up and leave the field, but that's another story.

Anyway, I wasn't aware of that little clause in the CAPS document. But I can tell you now, if they expect me to teach creationism in science classes, I will flatly refuse. They are most welcome to fire my ass. I ain't teaching that crap.
Logged
Benjammin
Newbie
*

Skeptical ability: +2/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 36



« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2012, 20:35:04 PM »

I did Biology for matric and if it wasn't for outside reading would never have learned anything about evolution. Which, given it's centrality to biology, is incredibly sad. Is anyone being taught it?
Logged
Hermes
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +18/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 1137



« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2012, 22:37:43 PM »

I am presently "studying" to be a teacher. I put the word studying in quote marks because I have never in my life seen such a load of meaningless drivel as the post-grad certificate in education
It used to be called a diploma in Spoeg en plak.
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3752


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2012, 22:45:43 PM »

… I have never in my life seen such a load of meaningless drivel as the post-grad certificate in education…
Explain?  Is it lots of touchy-feely developmental psychology and counselling techniques, rather than focussing on the subjects you’re aiming to teach?

Which institution are you attending if I may ask?

'Luthon64
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1837



WWW
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2012, 05:40:35 AM »

… I have never in my life seen such a load of meaningless drivel as the post-grad certificate in education…
Explain?  Is it lots of touchy-feely developmental psychology and counselling techniques, rather than focussing on the subjects you’re aiming to teach?

Which institution are you attending if I may ask?

'Luthon64

I study through Unisa. It is difficult to explain what the courses are about, because the material reads pretty much like the stuff that online post-modernist essay generator creates: much of it is entirely devoid of any discernible meaning of any kind. Just reams of vague, politically correct statements about how evil the old education system was, and how essential change to OBE is, complete with examples in which they create and then destroy the most ridiculous strawmen versions of evil, apartheid-style educators (some of whom WERE rather evil, but at least produced literate and numerate matriculants, a trick few schools nowadays seem to manage).

I can begin to see why the poor in South Africa are, schooling-wise, apparently worse off today than they were under Bantu education.

But like it or not, you could have two Ph.Ds and a Nobel prize in physics, but in South Africa they will not appoint you as science teacher until you have completed the silly certificate. You are in fact not even allowed to study for it while you work as teacher - you are after all "not qualified." So now we have a situation in South Africa where thousands of people with B degrees are jobless, and even more thousands of kids do not have any teachers at all, not even "unqualified" ones, but the department of education's idiotic policies prevent us from bringing these two groups of people together. Except of course in some private schools, or some of the semi-private Model C schools. I.e. once again kids from rich families get great teachers (who are actually qualified in the subjects they teach) while kids from poor families go to state schools where there either aren't any teachers at all, or not enough teachers so that there are seventy kids in a classroom, or the teachers hold pseudo-qualifications in education and know zilch about their subjects.

Even worse, the new OBE methods, while they may work very fine in Scandinavia, basically assume that kids have access to libraries, the internet and literate, educated and willing parents. Thus it once again favours kids from middle class backgrounds while greatly hindering the progress of kids from poor households. I.e. if the government had wanted to specifically design a system that would ensure that the "previously disadvantaged" never catch up, they couldn't have done a better job of it than the current system.

Jeez, if a guy with a B.Sc., in almost two years of looking around, cannot find a job as primary school science teacher, then how serious can the "shortage of teaching staff" really be?
Logged
Faerie
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +10/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2112



« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2012, 07:50:41 AM »

I ran into this little letter in the community paper last night:

I quote:

"What I am about to tell you is going to blow your socks off. Some school have been teaching the wrong way of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions and in fact whole numbers for decades.

If your child is in Grade 6, he or she will learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions using the BODMAS system. This system is supposed to remind them of the order in which to do these operations. That is, first do ‘B’, the numbers in Brackets, then do ‘O’, or ‘of’ (eg. 1\4 of 12), then ‘D’, Division and ‘M’, Multiplication, and lastly ‘A’, Addition and ‘S’, Subtraction. 

The important point to remember is that the BODMAS system tells you to do division and multiplication before addition and subtraction, and then to work from left to right. It does not mean that you must do division before multiplication and addition before subtraction. In fact in many cases, if you do addition before subtraction, you will get the wrong answer. And this is where many schools are getting it wrong. They are taking BODMAS to mean that you do Division first, then Multiplication, then Addition followed by Subtraction.

The following example will demonstrate how some schools are getting it wrong:
Eg.  3/4 - 3/8 + 1/8

According to the incorrect interpretation of BODMAS, you do addition first.
So,  = 3/4 –( 3/8 + 1/(8 )) = 3/4 - 4/8=  3/4 - 2/4    = 1/4 ,
which is absolutely the wrong answer.

According to the correct mathematical method, you do subtraction first.
So,   = ( 3/4 - 3/8 ) + 1/8  = ( 6/8 - 3/8 ) + 1/8         =  3/8 + 1/8   =  4/8      =  1/2  ,
which is definitely the correct answer.

(For the more mathematically minded, the + and – signs must not be treated as an
operation between two numbers, but rather as a positive or a negative sign belonging to the number after it. So by putting brackets after a negative sign, you are making everything within the brackets negative.)

The situation gets even worse when you consider the Afrikaans ‘help you to remember’ sentence, which is : “Hier Vlieg My Dooie Oom Andries”. Taking the first letter of each word gives you: H V M D O A, which gives the order: Hackies (brackets), Van (of), Maal (multiplication), Deel (division), Optel (add), Aftrek (subtraction).
Or in universal language: ()  ‘of’  ×  ÷  +  - .

Now the unfortunate and disturbing thing about this is that this Afrikaans order is different from the English BODMAS order, which is: ()  ‘of’  ÷  ×  +  -  . This should make no difference if it is used correctly, by doing multiplication and division before addition and subtraction and then working from left to right. But if it is used by following the order in “Hier Vlieg My Dooie Oom Andries”, as some schools are doing, you will sometimes get the wrong answer, by doing Multiplication before Division.

The following example will demonstrate how some Afrikaans schools are also getting sums involving multiplication and division wrong.
eg. 5/8 ÷ 3/4 × 2/5

According to the incorrect interpretation of the Afrikaans method, you do multiplication first.
So,  =  5/8 ÷( 3/4 × 2/5 )      =  5/8 ÷  3/10       =   5/8 ×  10/3      =  25/12  ,
which is absolutely the wrong answer.

According to the correct mathematical method, you do division first.
So,  = (  5/8 ÷ 3/4) × 2/5  = ( 5/8 × 4/3 ) × 2/5     =  40/120

( or, if you cancel first; =  1/3 ) , which is definitely the correct answer.

Schools should stop using the BODMAS system or “Hier Vlieg My Dooie Oom Andries” system, as pupils are using it incorrectly and teachers, in many cases, are not correcting them as they are not aware of the error.

If students always use the order: Division, Multiplication, Subtraction, Addition, as the order of operation in which to calculate sums, they will always get the correct answer. To help remember the order, teachers and students need only to remember the mnemonic: “Disciplined Maths Students Achieve”, and take the first letter of each word. (i.e. D M S A). Or pupils may prefer: “Dead Mice Smell Awful”. Or, if you want to include the bits about Brackets and Of, then use: “Bits Of Dead Mice Smell Awful”."

Unquote
http://www.tametimes.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4789:1--1--2--schools-get-it-wrong-or-beware-of-bodmas&catid=37:schools&Itemid=200

The problem is, even if the kids and parents take notice of this guideline, if they implement it, it is likely that the teacher in question willl mark their results as incorrect.  Its a no-win situation.
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1837



WWW
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2012, 08:33:28 AM »

The following example will demonstrate how some schools are getting it wrong:
Eg.  3/4 - 3/8 + 1/8

According to the incorrect interpretation of BODMAS, you do addition first.
So,  = 3/4 –( 3/8 + 1/(8 )) = 3/4 - 4/8=  3/4 - 2/4    = 1/4 ,
which is absolutely the wrong answer.

Indeed, but this is not how I was taught the BODMAS system, in the good old days of evil apartheid education. The correct step to remember here is that 3/4 - 3/8 + 1/8 = 3/4 + (-3/8 + 1/8), and then you get the right answer. I have noticed though that virtually all pupils initially make exactly the mistake the writer mentions here. Thus one cannot teach BODMAS until pupils also understand negative numbers.

Quote
The following example will demonstrate how some Afrikaans schools are also getting sums involving multiplication and division wrong.
eg. 5/8 ÷ 3/4 × 2/5

According to the incorrect interpretation of the Afrikaans method, you do multiplication first.
So,  =  5/8 ÷( 3/4 × 2/5 )      =  5/8 ÷  3/10       =   5/8 ×  10/3      =  25/12  ,
which is absolutely the wrong answer.

According to the correct mathematical method, you do division first.
So,  = (  5/8 ÷ 3/4) × 2/5  = ( 5/8 × 4/3 ) × 2/5     =  40/120

( or, if you cancel first; =  1/3 ) , which is definitely the correct answer.

And indeed, if you type the whole thing into a calculator: (5/8) / (3/4) * (2/5) you get 0.333... which is correct. You have to add in the brackets though; if you just type 5/8/3/4 * 2/5 you get something completely different. And this makes sense: when we did BODMAS when I was in school we were taught that the line between numerator and denominator in a fraction is treated as a bracket, so that has to be worked out first.

Quote
Schools should stop using the BODMAS system or “Hier Vlieg My Dooie Oom Andries” system, as pupils are using it incorrectly and teachers, in many cases, are not correcting them as they are not aware of the error.

BODMAS works fine if applied correctly. Oom Andries apparently doesn't.  :-)
Teachers who cannot teach BODMAS correctly have no business standing in front of a math class in the first place, and the situation cannot be remedied by a simple policy change. The department of education has made extensive policy changes every frickin' year for a decade now, and all they have achieved is that the system is worse than ever, and embattled teachers have absolutely no clue at all what they're supposed to be teaching anymore.

Of course, the only teachers who would make an elementary BODMAS error are ones that are "qualified" in education instead of mathematics. Suppose you wanted to study astronomy at university, and you are told you can choose between two professors: the one has a doctorate in education (plus another doctorate in developmental psychology and is a qualified social worker and registered with SACE and several internationally acclaimed teachers' organizations and has done extensive work in human rights and gender equality in Africa and the Middle East) and the other one has a B.Sc degree in astronomy.

Which one would you choose to teach you astronomy?

Quote
If students always use the order: Division, Multiplication, Subtraction, Addition, as the order of operation in which to calculate sums, they will always get the correct answer.

Indeed, but in many sums they will then run into a situation where they need to understand negative numbers (E.g. 2 - 5 + 6 = -3 + 6 = 3). And if they do, the existing BODMAS system will do fine.

Quote
To help remember the order, teachers and students need only to remember the mnemonic: “Disciplined Maths Students Achieve”,

They won't understand the term "disciplined student," because such a thing has not existed in South African schools for a good two decades now.  :-)

Quote
The problem is, even if the kids and parents take notice of this guideline, if they implement it, it is likely that the teacher in question willl mark their results as incorrect.  Its a no-win situation.

Yes, but the students will learn at least one valuable lesson, namely to always mistrust authorities. :-)
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3752


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2012, 08:49:13 AM »

Thanks for your explanation, brianvds.  Very interesting.  I’ve always viewed OBE with considerable suspicion because I’ve seen the mess it wreaks, even among well-to-do kids, in subjects like science and mathematics where you simply can’t escape certain rigours that are integral to those subjects.  In mathematics and science, it very much does matter exactly how you analysed a problem before proceeding to solve it.

Postmodernism for the aspiring educator!?  I suppose it makes a weird kind of sense when one takes into account that “offend no one” and “respect all ideas and cultures” (as long as you pay your taxes) are central tenets of this government.  The only mystery is why they don’t do away altogether with objective competency assessments like matric and teaching diplomas because after all postmodernism is based on the idea that objective truth simply doesn’t exist.



That is shocking, Faerie!  That there are mathematics teachers who get it so solidly wrong shows that they are not competent to teach their subject.  The problem with mnemonics like BODMAS is that they neglect to make clear that certain operations are at the same hierarchical level and should be performed in the order they are encountered.  Multiplication is the inverse operation to division:  Dividing a number a by a number b is the same as multiplying it by b’s reciprocal, i.e. a ÷ b = a × (1/b).  A similar thing is true of addition and subtraction where subtraction is the same as adding a negation: ab = a + (–b).

Thus, the “DM” and “AS” in BODMAS should be replaced by a single letter that encapsulates the above ideas about hierarchical equivalence.  Moreover, the “O” is also at the same level as “DM” since it boils down to a multiplication (“2/3 of 9” is logically equivalent to “(2/3)×9”, which is equal to 2÷3×9).

If nothing else, this issue illustrates the dangers of relying on a shorthand rule without actually understanding the rule.  And of course BODMAS completely neglects exponentiation (i.e. powers), which take precedence over multiplication and division.

'Luthon64
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 09:03:43 AM by Mefiante, Reason: Hierarchical formatting precedence rules... » Logged
Pages: 1 [2] 3  All   Go Up
  Print  


 
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Page created in 1.463 seconds with 23 sceptic queries.
Google visited last this page March 15, 2019, 16:33:17 PM
Privacy Policy