Thursday, October 28, 2010


Dan Meyer gives an example from "The Real World":
Santa Cruz Sentinel, today:
The City Council will consider a proposal today to establish a citywide pay-by-cell phone system that would allow motorists to start, finish and extend time for meters or fee-based parking spots. [..] Consumers would pay a fee of 35 cents per transaction, or 25 cents for frequent users if they are willing also to pay a monthly access fee of $1.75.

"Is pseudocontext a failure of imagination or is it a symptom of laziness? Because this sort of thing just isn't hard to find."
I think it's pretty lame of him to toss out this false dichotomy like that. (My browser settings and his comment system don't seem to be on speaking terms, so I'll mention this here.)  And I notice that he's been teaching for how long and only now noticed this gem? (I know that's unfair, but so is the original question.  I withdraw my snarky comment.)

No, the real problem here is one of timing, of not having this pop up in your newspaper on the day you need it, at the time you're doing the lesson planning. It's got little to do with a lack of imagination.  In fact, a lack of imagination is probably the best trait for someone doing lesson plans.  Teaching takes imagination -- why waste this limited resource on something as foolish as lesson plans?  What God in whichever Heaven you stare at when you can't see a ceiling decreed that you must know what the kids will be doing during the 13th minute of your class period? What if you needed to repeat something or -- swoon -- got off on a really good tangent?

Besides, not everyone spends every waking moment solely focused on teaching and mathematics. Sometimes, I just read.

It does take a certain frame of mind to watch for these things ... an old teacher friend of mine used to clip articles ... this is similar.  I never could get the hang of it with newspaper, but I do find it easier on the Internet. Now that I have been using the thumbdrive method of file transport, I have amassed a large library of these types of things, neatly sorted into the classes and folders so I can find them later when I get around to it. (Yeah, right)

Having said that, this "Real-World" problem is no more or less engaging to students than the cellphone plan that charges by the month or by the 100 minute-block or the psuedocontextual dreck in the book.

[So I had a five-minute bit of Photoshop fun at Dan's expense. Don't think nothing of it.]

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