At Montessori, a teacher gives a lesson, and then, when the children comprehend the lesson, she has them practice it immediately so that they principles they’ve just learned “set.” Public school, so far, has been different.
Now that they’re in public school, the children bring me homework, complaining that they have no idea what to do. Once I’ve corrected the grammatical errors that render the questions incomprehensible, and the children can actually understand the question, they still can’t do the work. Why not? The teacher hasn’t actually taught a lesson on the matter at issue in the homework, or the lesson was taught first thing in the day — which is a lifetime for children. And in the latter case, they weren’t given the opportunity to practice immediately, which is the way to “set” a lesson, even for adults.
Once they struggle through this rather pointless homework, they take it back to school, where it’s marked incorrect. Once the demoralization is complete, they are then either taught the lesson for the first time or taught again how to the lesson. In either event, the lesson is taught in the abstract, through a lecture, with the hands-on practice coming hours later, at home.
The children bitterly resent having the “learning” process center on their ignorance, rather than having it be an adventure in learning something new. I find myself grateful that I’m an intelligent person, since I’m spending a ridiculous amount of time teaching them things that the teachers apparently either haven’t gotten around to or are incapable of communicating lucidly. My time teaching, of course, is entirely separate from all the rewriting I’m doing to make things intelligible.
I continue to be unimpressed.