January 5, 2020

Replacing the high school gym class with outside-of-school exercise monitored with a fitness tracker.

This is a great idea! I'm reading "Gym class without the gym? With technology, it’s catching on" in The Boston Globe (where I'd gone to check out what Boston people were thinking not about participatory sports, but that spectator sport where "It’s the end for the Patriots, and perhaps, for Tom Brady").

When I read the headline "Gym class without the gym," I thought maybe it was about the school facilities. Is a gym really needed? But no. It's about students who want to fill up their schedules with substantive courses — such as extra languages and music and art — and would like another slot to fill. That was me in high school, forced to take gym, but dropping the highest level math and science courses, because it was important to me to learn Spanish as well as French, to have an art class, and to not to miss the excellent Speech and Theater course. They let me avoid Calculus and Physics, but I had to go down to the gym, put on a gym suit, and get into the crab position to kick a cage ball or wait my turn to hit a softball and scamper to first base.

I would have loved the opportunity to take another substantive course — including the math and science I skipped — and I would have had a much more positive attitude toward athletics if I controlled my physical activities (which, unlike cage ball and basketball, could have become part of my life after high school).
Though a physical education instructor isn’t shouting from the sidelines, teachers do guide assignments by setting goals such as fat burn, cardio, or peak, relying on the technology to be their eyes and ears..... Teenagers who play soccer, swim, or dance all year may satisfy the workout requirements without doing anything extra.....

It’s not clear how many schools are embracing the trend, which comes with some cautions. Technology and the collection of any student data always raises the specter of student privacy concerns. And some worry that students exercising on their own may miss out on important social concepts such as teamwork....
They can teach the social concept of teamwork in the academic courses. Just have more group projects! Nothing like teamwork to make high school sing. Anyway... I don't remember any teamwork in high school gym class. Maybe for the girls who chose to do after-school sports, but not the class. I do remember being lined up and interrogated about whether we had our periods, which was important information in case we were to take a shower, though we were never once told to take a shower, and it was never clear why a girl on her period couldn't take a shower. But that was 50 years ago. As a person who, after 50 years, is still irked over gym class, I love the new after-school Fitbit-monitored alternative.
“They work with their PE instructor to set a fitness goal and then they get their workout however they want to,” [said Nichole Lemmon, the creator of the program, called Launch. "]It really does promote lifelong fitness because it’s about working out the way they want to, not they’re required to do a particular activity in gym. . . . We have a lot of kids — a locker room is their worst nightmare. It’s not where they want to be.”
I'll just gesture at the next step: You could argue that students have a right to substitute outside-of-school monitored exercise for the traditional gym class. It's about physical autonomy and the power to resist demands that you do something with your body that you don't want to do, including taking off your clothes.

101 comments:

Oso Negro said...

Perhaps students could do more than just gym class outside of school hours. As a parent, it’s not clear to me what they were actually accomplishing during nominal instructional hours. Certainly not teaching algebra in the case of my kids. Maybe they could drop the socialist indoctrination and let kids get that on their own as well. Come to think of it, just eliminate high school entirely.

rhhardin said...

On math and teamwork for women, via Maggie's Farm,

"On average, males tend to be more dominant, assertive, risk-prone, thrill-seeking, tough-minded, emotionally stable, utilitarian, and open to abstract ideas. Males also tend to score higher on self-estimates of intelligence, even though sex differences in general intelligence measured as an ability are negligible [2]. Men also tend to form larger, competitive groups in which hierarchies tend to be stable and in which individual relationships tend to require little emotional investment. In terms of communication style, males tend to use more assertive speech and are more likely to interrupt people (both men and women) more often– especially intrusive interruptions– which can be interpreted as a form of dominant behavior."

Renee said...

Offer PE classes before and/or after the school day. Lots of adults exercise prior to work. My son's school does this. I think a formal class, that at the very least being trained to use equipment safely, is best even for the non competitive types.

rhhardin said...

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/taking-sex-differences-in-personality-seriously/

Seems to be Scientific American, surprising since they do leftist science exclusively.

Renee said...

My daughter's high school abruptly went from all girls to co-ed, it will be devastating for girls in STEM. The all girls school has a reputation and track record in this. Now it's just gone. Single sex education at the high school level addresses the gender equity paradox that in egalitarian societies women don't go into STEM.

rhhardin said...

Blood is a biohazard, though I don't know that it was in the 60s. You can pick up hepatitis or something from a cut on your foot.

lgv said...

I'm sure no one would cheat the system. I can see an enterprising person going to the gym and getting on a treadmill while wearing 10 Fitbits.

tim maguire said...

I didn’t like gym in school either, but that’s because if how it was run, not because it was gym (gym back then was an exercise in humiliation for the less athletic kids).

That said, this is a terrible idea. It’s not just important that kids get exercise, but that their sedentary day is broken up by exercise. This won’t just hurt the kids’ physical health, it will hurt their mental health. And Igv is right that this system will be gamed.

tim maguire said...

Just as I hit post, I realized what is probably my biggest objection of all—this is just one more way for the schools to regulate what kids do outside of school. There’s already too much of that going on.

John henry said...

I'm confused.

I thought homework was supposed to be a bad thing? At least that's what I was taught in ed school.

As the prof assigned us homework.

Never believed it myself. My kids had 2-3 hours a night of homework most of k-12. I think it did more good than school itself.

It also taught them how to manage and organize time and the value of work.

John Henry

rehajm said...

My top ranked high school used gym to shape GPAs- up
and down depending on the goal

Ron Winkleheimer said...

They can teach the social concept of teamwork in the academic courses. Just have more group projects!

Group projects usually mean the lazy people don't do anything because they know the strivers will take up the slack. No teamwork is learned, at all.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Single sex education at the high school level addresses the gender equity paradox that in egalitarian societies women don't go into STEM.

I don't understand this statement. If women don't want to go into STEM, why is it so important to force them to do so?

Rory said...

"We have a lot of kids — a locker room is their worst nightmare. It’s not where they want to be.”

There's a lot of kids who feel this way in the classroom six periods a day.

rehajm said...

While enjoying your Patsfreude this morning- Brady has had his house by The Country Club for sale since summer and had move his family to the burns north of the Meadowlands. Romo was right- Josh is probably gone, too.

Unrelated: Giants searching for a head coach...

rhhardin said...

Women don't find STEM emotionally interesting. They can do it but other things are more interesting to them.

Guys can be consumed completely by STEM.

rehajm said...

it will be devastating for girls in STEM

Just an observation: despite best efforts there will be boys in STEM after high school, too...and they’ve been to gym class.

mockturtle said...

It was beautiful to see the Patriots lose! The look on Belichick's grumpy face was priceless. Brady is a great QB but not a team guy. Yelling at your receivers all the time isn't the best way to win their support and cooperation.

mockturtle said...

I confess to disliking gym class--the mess of clothing changes and showers before the next class, the butch gym teachers, the really ugly gym outfits and baring all in front of our classmates--but enjoyed the actual sports. It would have been better if everyone had gym class at the end of the school day.

Kids today don't get much exercise and Fitbits are not the solution. Taking away their phones would help.

Renee said...

Because the job market demands it. People didn't want to work on farms or in the factories either.

Also the lack of women in STEM is a factor in the wage gap.

Be careful you don't want to end up concluding that women shouldn't learn math and science, because as 14 year old girls they prefer writing and reading?
Of course not. Right.

The gender differences in math and science/reading and writing starts in 9th grade.

It's like saying why do 14 year old boys need to take English, if they hate reading and writing?

We all want boys to do as well as the can in reading and writing.

Because single sex education works both ways and benefits both men and women.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-gender-gap-starts-in-ninth-grade-2018-08-20


It's not about hate on boys- I have sons as well. My oldest son goes to an all boys schools, where they can excel the humanities in their own way.

If you look at almost all the English AP classes- the majority are women. Then look at a Computer AP class in high schools. Mostly all boys.

High school should be a foundation, so teenagers need a foundation in both and shouldn't be 'sliding' into what is easiest for them.




Temujin said...

Oh I don't know. They'll miss the gym teacher who breaks his clipboard over the head of students who won't stop talking. Ah...the early 60s.

By the way- back then, no one even thought twice about it. That was just Mr. _____, and most of us knew not to piss him off.

rhhardin said...

It's not what's easiest. It's what's most interesting.

Sydney said...

I can see an enterprising person going to the gym and getting on a treadmill while wearing 10 Fitbits

LOL. A lot of companies around here use Fitbits to track employee exercise. Some get insurance discounts for meeting goals, some get penalized for not meeting goals. (Same thing, I guess, just framed in different ways) A lot of my patients tell me they game it. Run it through the dryer for an hour in the evening, wear it while knitting, or while playing piano, The dryer one is most popular, though.

Renee said...

There are boys in high school, after high school they are men.

There are girls in high school, after high school they are women.

The distinction is that both teenage boys and girls are going through puberty, still developing, especially their brains.

rehajm said...

The look on Belichick's grumpy face was priceless

That’s also his happy face.

rehajm said...

Also the lack of women in STEM is a factor in the wage gap.

The gender pay gap is a myth.

Renee said...

No it what comes the easiest, that's just our brains working.

My daughter is excelling in the writing and reading aspect of her education, but she is choosing a hard science for college. It takes a bit longer to understand the concepts of physics, and it's her only 'B'. Would she be deterred from science and math, because it would affect her GPA?

The fact is our GPAs are joke if we are only taking what is interesting in high school. If you are not taking anything challenging, did you really earn that GPA. We need more people in the STEM field, even if those are only going to a B in an honors science class.

So because she gets all As in her non STEM classes she shouldn't consider a STEM field?

rehajm said...

It’s infuriating how easily it rolls off the tongue as if it was fact, used to support another campaign.

Renee said...

Ok, so the college major gap isn't a myth?

It's not a myth, because women are choosing not to go into STEM. Understand why, without any 'hate' on boys is a perfectly fine way of addressing the issue.

If girls are diverting away from math at the age of 14, then they are limited in their choice of college majors in high school.

If we not fulling out obligation to teenagers in all subjects science/math and writing/reading, then high schools are not fulfilling their jobs.

Also getting back to the subject, we need to fulfill out obligation to physical education. Even for the non-competitive types.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Renee

The whole point of allowing teenagers to choose some of their courses in high school is to allow them to concentrate on subjects that interest them. Should that be eliminated and all the students forced to study the exact same curriculum?

Renee said...

'out' should be 'our'

Understanding how in the early teenage years, we are not addressing real sex differences is proper way to correct the problem, later on in life with choice of fields and wage differences.

Again with no hate on boys. I have a husband and sons.

Bob Boyd said...

I get my Fitbit data from the same guy who sells me clean piss.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

So because she gets all As in her non STEM classes she shouldn't consider a STEM field?

Maybe. I'm reminded of a comment made by some journalist. Her first job was working in the computer field. She was talking to colleagues on a Monday morning about what people had done over the weekend. She told them about going on a date, meeting some friends for brunch, that sort of thing. The guys all looked at her as if she was speaking a foreign language. Then someone else mentioned that he had spent the weekend setting up a fiber optic network in his apartment which prompted an animated discussion. And that's when she knew that she needed to get into another profession. Because to her it was just a job and she was competing against people who happily spent all their free time studying and getting better because to them, it was fun.

iowan2 said...

Great concept. Expand the idea. Maybe for Drama, and Chorus, Diversity Training. The possibilities are endless. Composition, Algebra, Chemistry. Business, Computer class.

Maybe...just home school?

Let's allow students to test out of whole classes.

Great concept.

Renee said...

"The whole point of allowing teenagers to choose some of their courses in high school is to allow them to concentrate on subjects that interest them. Should that be eliminated and all the students forced to study the exact same curriculum?"

Great question.

Looking back at my own high school experience, and now that I have teenagers.

Yes. All students should be required to take everything.

I get that I am probably in the minority on that, but looking back in college I was required to take two lab sciences for my non-STEM major, when I transferred colleges. At the time I thought it was stupid, soon after I was very proud of those Bs, compared to my 1st college that had non-lab science requirements. I look back and maybe I should have challenged myself more in high school, in areas that I didn't come easy to me.

So when I have a daughter getting literally an A+ in every subject, an A- in math, and a sad B in physics, in many cases a student would drop it for their GPA. Or worst claim gender discrimination, but because she is in an all girls school (which will change) guess what? She can't blame gender discrimination or the boys for her B. Hah!

And that is the great part about single sex opportunities for teenagers (boys and girls), you can't blame the other sex!

Wince said...

They let me avoid Calculus and Physics, but I had to go down to the gym, put on a gym suit, and get into the crab position to kick a cage ball or wait my turn to hit a softball and scamper to first base.

I don't see the substitutability.

Calculus and Physics would have taken way more time than two periods a week of gym entailing no home work.

Fernandistein said...

sex education

But, at least in legal high-schools, sex education is meta and not "hands-on" like physical education, without which one remains physically ignorant.

Kevin said...

And that is the great part about single sex opportunities for teenagers (boys and girls), you can't blame the other sex!

Imagine if we just had the good sense to adopt that rule everywhere.

Everyone might similarly benefit.

Fernandistein said...

They let me avoid Calculus and Physics,

#metoo. But it didn't really matter since high school was boring and irrelevant, so I dropped out and took those subjects in college instead and ended up majoring in both.

Renee said...

There are trade offs.

My daughter knows she isn't at the 'top' in STEM, but very capable of it. In college selection, that means she has to choose a lower tier school to be a STEM major. The trade off is worth it, if the choice of major means more opportunities in the job market.

For both young men and women, I feel we are losing a lot of potential STEM majors because if you're not at the 'top' then don't bother. We need more pathways for the average students to find their spot, even if not the highest paying positions, a better wage than what the non-STEM major has to offer.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I do remember being lined up and interrogated about whether we had our periods, which was important information in case we were to take a shower, though we were never once told to take a shower, and it was never clear why a girl on her period couldn't take a shower.

Apparently someone has never seen Carrie...

Kevin said...

It's about physical autonomy and the power to resist demands that you do something with your body that you don't want to do, including taking off your clothes.

Why limit that to your body?

Why not argue you can’t be forced to learn a foreign language, how to solve quadratic equations, or revisionist history?

The idea that the body is sacred but the mind belongs to the collective is at the heart of leftist orthodoxy.

It creates the illusion of freedom until the raping and genocide can begin.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

They let me avoid Calculus and Physics...

Any yet, oddly enough, your vote still counts as much as the rest of ours.

Fernandistein said...

so I dropped out

...and worked at the ammo dump for about a year before going to college. No regerts!

I also learned how to torture Japanese soldiers.

Bob Boyd said...

If you support this program, why are you opposed to charter schools?

stlcdr said...

What’s the penalty for not exercising out of school hours?

What is a ‘passing grade’?

There is more to gym than just exercise - and while AA hinted at the teamwork aspect in academic disciplines, it is not the same kind of teamwork.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

We need more pathways for the average students to find their spot, even if not the highest paying positions, a better wage than what the non-STEM major has to offer.

I worked for years in the computer field before I ever got a degree. And the only reason I got a degree is because it got to the point that if you didn't have one the HR department would just trash your resume. I then got a Masters, but that was in something that interested me. Most people in IT don't need degrees to do what they are doing. IT is a trade. Most employers are looking at certifications now, and that is going to increase while the requirement for a degree decreases.

Paco Wové said...

Sounds like a way to pack even more stress onto kids. You need two more language courses to even be considered for Yale! What are you doing running around in a field!?

Michael K said...

Most of this is because girls don't want to change clothes for gym.

Using something like a fitbit will, of course, result in gaming.

My teenage grandchildren are all in sports. The two older in varsity sports. Gym is insignificant. They like it or they don't. The issue is that kids don't exercise out of school. They play video games or watch TV.

As for STEM, my high school girlfriend got her BS in Chemical Engineering in 1960.

Josephbleau said...

You can’t cancel regular required gym classes because you need to pay a lot of coaches for your varsity sports teams.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm sure no one would cheat the system. I can see an enterprising person going to the gym and getting on a treadmill while wearing 10 Fitbits."

They need a Fitbit that's more like the ankle monitor bolted onto criminals. Or just embed a chip down under the skin.

Roughcoat said...

Gym class was a necessary rite of passage. It's where guys learned about penis size -- their own, and others. Curiously, an Irish kid had the biggest one I ever saw, before or since. It was awesome. We all talked about it.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't see the substitutability. Calculus and Physics would have taken way more time than two periods a week of gym entailing no home work."

It was about the number of slots in the schedule in a school day. I had things I wanted to take and there were some things that were required and could not be replaced by the extras I wanted (a second foreign language, art, and speech/theater). Gym HAD to be one of the slots, but Calculus and Physics did not. They were elective in senior year. I wanted to take them and would have done the homework, but I wanted some other things more, and those too had homework. In short, it was about schedule slots, not total work.

mockturtle said...

Gym class was a necessary rite of passage. It's where guys learned about penis size -- their own, and others. Curiously, an Irish kid had the biggest one I ever saw, before or since. It was awesome. We all talked about it.

With girls it was boobs. Both the underdeveloped and the overdeveloped were embarrassed.

Ann Althouse said...

"... way more time than two periods a week of gym ..."

In my high school, "Physical education" took up a slot every single day. They alternated weeks, so that one week would be gym and another week would be "health" class, taught by the phys ed teacher. We learned that sperm fertilize eggs and other "health" facts that you could learn in a few minutes without a gym teacher purporting to share knowledge. I remember getting an essay answer of mine marked in red because I'd used the word "ovum" (used it in the singular). That was just not a word as far as the gym teacher could see. The word was "ova." Still annoys me to this day to think of that correction.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Still blaming The Authorities for the low priority you gave to learning math and science?

You're smart; if you were really interested you could have made your own "slot" -picked up the texts and learned on your own. That's what genuinely interested people do. Surely the gym teachers weren't assigning homework, let alone extensive time-consuming homework, so it's unlikely that the time wasted at gym devoured every minute you had to devote to independent study.

Failing that, why did you pass up the opportunity to take calculus in college?

Rob said...

Why isn’t there a right to choose a sedentary lifestyle? We let teenagers choose their gender but insist that, whether in the gym or remotely, they be active and fit? Personal autonomy and self-determination are valued only in highly selective spheres.

Renee said...

"As for STEM, my high school girlfriend got her BS in Chemical Engineering in 1960."

In 1960, less than 1% of engineers were women.

Fun fact: The first woman to earn a doctorate in computer science was a nun.

------

FYI sorry to reiterate to everyone, my comments are not about hating boys. Simply understanding sex differences to get the most out of one's education, leading to more options later in life.

tcrosse said...

High-school locker-room bullying is probably responsible for a lot of the thirst for revenge which underlies much gay activism.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

In my high school, "Physical education" took up a slot every single day.

Yeah, mine too. Didn't prevent me from taking the calculus class in high school. I wanted to study two languages, too, but not enough slots to do both. So I studied the second language on my own time.

Fernandistein said...

High-school locker-room bullying is probably responsible for a lot of the thirst for revenge which underlies much gay activism.

That probably applies to many bureaucrats, especially pudgy judges 'n' cops. People who want to get paid for being mean to other people typically don't work in the private sector.

Texas Duck said...

if we can argue for physical autonomy, why not mental and intellectual autonomy? why isn't every subject optional? should I be allowed to opt out of biology, algebra, history, composition, etc and just substitute poorly monitored outside activities? when a school delegates an area to only outside activities it decrees that subject unimportant.

Gahrie said...

They can teach the social concept of teamwork in the academic courses. Just have more group projects!

Doesn't work. You actually need to have teamwork on teams. (athletic or academic). Group work is one person actually doing the work while the rest of the group is on Instagram.

Gahrie said...

Still annoys me to this day to think of that correction.

Anyone here surprised?

Gahrie said...

They need a Fitbit that's more like the ankle monitor bolted onto criminals. Or just embed a chip down under the skin.

Or for the price of doing this, they could hire someone to monitor the kids in large groups. He could take attendance to see that they are there, ensure that they are participating, and teach them how to perform physical activities properly.

Renee said...

Gahrie,

Group projects are the worst, if there are no lessons/guidelines on how to be a team. At least with sports, all the players have a position to play and know their role on the team.

A few years ago, my son was doing a group project and the teacher told the students "they all had to agree on the team name". Well, my son decided to not agree to anything by his own idea for a team name. He ended up working on his own.

Gahrie said...

Just for the record, I teach in a suburban co-ed high school, and I support single sex education. I believe that every district large enough should offer co-ed schools, and at least one male only high school and one female only high school. Give the parents a choice.

Yancey Ward said...

Tim Maguire wrote:

"Just as I hit post, I realized what is probably my biggest objection of all—this is just one more way for the schools to regulate what kids do outside of school."

I came here to this thread to write something similar.

reader said...

My son’s high school had something similar, though there was only a two year gym requirement. If a student participated in an approved activity (dance, martial arts, yoga, dressage, etc) with parental approval and a supervising adult the high school waived the course requirement. Also, if the student participated in school athletics/sports (again with the parental approval and the coach’s approval) the high school waived the course requirement. School athletics/sports didn’t count as gym class.

The latter was a gamble for kids that played a spring sport their freshman year. They would have to waive the fall semester with the expectation of making the team the spring semester. If they failed to make the team they would have to participate in freshman PE as an upper classman. Also, to offset two years of gym the students needed to participate in four years of a single sport or multiple sports.

Fernandistein said...

Fun fact: The first woman to earn a doctorate in computer science was a nun.

She was either the first of second person to earn a doctorate in CompSci: "In an amazing coincidence, Keller and Tang received their doctoral degrees at commencements the same day, June 7, 1965."

Tang later went on to work for NASA in their juice department.

Mark said...

It's about physical autonomy and the power to resist demands that you do something with your body that you don't want to do, including taking off your clothes.

Does that include girls having the power to resist demands that she take off her clothes and shower with girls who have penises?

Original Mike said...

Math and science learning is not suited to working in teams. You have to work things out for yourself.

Renee said...

"Math and science learning is not suited to working in teams. You have to work things out for yourself."

This is why math/science taught in a cooperative strategy for girls in their teenage years helps them stay with math. Naturally I think this would also drive a good group a boys nutty, so I wouldn't want to subject that to them either.

rcocean said...

Poor Althouse. She wanted to live free but was forced into a cage - with a ball.

Gunner said...

I had gym first period one semester. I used to come in 20-30 minutes late a lot of times because I didn’t think the teacher/coach would care. I got away with until halfway through the semester.

rcocean said...

Physics was interesting. Chemistry/Calculus a bore.

I liked my PE classes when we played soccer, volleyball, basketball, or touch football. We also swam. Something active and fun. Baseball was boring because there's too much standing around. Sports were played to keep people interested while exercising, most kids aren't interested in getting on a treadmill for 45 minutes - 4 days a week.

rcocean said...

Some nerds were traumatized by PE class. In my High School, the only ones that got bullied were the gammas who didn't try and adopted an aura of superiority. Even if you were a complete washout, it was Ok - as long as you tried your best.

Michael said...

So why not learn physics (or whatever) on your own and just test in for credit?

Actually, I was glad I had to take gym because I wasn't good at it (as opposed to actual classes), and interacted with guys I would not have particularly known otherwise. I think I learned a lot from it.

Narayanan said...

Maria Montessori was first woman doctor in Italy. She would not be allowed to practice medicine and was put in charge of daycare for children. She developed education methods which advance kids in her care beyond expected. She is not popular with pedagogy professionals.

I would like to see discuss comments from Who knows about her.

JaimeRoberto said...

My daughter was able to opt out of PE because she was training for gymnastics about 25 hours a week. Before she opted out she was kicking everybody's ass in the fitness tests, including the boys'. In fact, the teachers usually had to tell to stop.

mockturtle said...

This sounds pretty reactionary but I think:

Schools should be single-sex
Students should wear uniforms
The curriculum should be rigid in its academic requirements.
By high school, non-academic alternatives should be offered for the non-college bound.
Courses in basic economics and finances should be required for HS graduation.

Freedom is for adults, not for children.

mockturtle said...

And 'No Child Left Behind' was one of the worst and most destructive federal requirement of schools amid many. When the federal government commandeered our educational system in the 60's it rapidly tanked.

Seeing Red said...

Swimming first class was not fun.

Seeing Red said...


"I'm sure no one would cheat the system. I can see an enterprising person going to the gym and getting on a treadmill while wearing 10 Fitbits."

They need a Fitbit that's more like the ankle monitor bolted onto criminals. Or just embed a chip down under the skin.


Bwaaaaaa

Says the Constitutional Lawyer.

That’s funny!

n.n said...

Ankle bracelets. That said, Alexa, Siri, Google, get a room.

n.n said...

reactionary (adj.)

1831, on model of French réactionnaire (19c.), from réaction (see reaction). In Marxist use, "tending toward reversing existing tendencies," opposed to revolutionary and used opprobriously in reference to opponents of communism, by 1858. As a noun, "person considered reactionary," especially in politics, one who seeks to check or undo political action, by 1855.


reaction (n.)

"action in resistance or response to another action or power," 1610s, from re- "again, anew" + action (q.v.). Modeled on French réaction, older Italian reattione, from Medieval Latin reactionem (nominative reactio), noun of action formed in Late Latin from past participle stem of Latin reagere "react," from re- "back" + agere "to do, perform" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move").

-- etymonline.com

Progress: monotonic [unqualified] change.

Darrell said...

During the 1950s and 60s (and 1970s in some parts of the country), we used to collect the girls' shower water for resale. Menstrual blood--which witches use to control people--made the water unsaleable.

Sebastian said...

So, the principal told Althouse to stick to the dress code, and they made her take off her clothes for PE, and a teacher miscorrected a word, and by having to take gym she missed out on the calculus that she would have loved.

Which raises the question, is feminism anything more than the rationalization of girlish resentment?

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Renee: This is why math/science taught in a cooperative strategy for girls in their teenage years helps them stay with math.

Really? Not calling b.s., but I am skeptical.

I went to an all-girl high school - a rigorous, old school kind of school.

I am very, very glad that "co-operative strategies" for math were not in vogue. I always loathed "group work", and I don't think the super-bright girls in my calculus class would have appreciated having to slow down to "strategize co-operatively" with the less-than-brainiac kids in the class (including me) who were perfectly happy to work it out at their own slower (if adequate to standards) pace.

Naturally I think this would also drive a good group a boys nutty, so I wouldn't want to subject that to them either.

I liked my all girls high-school, and I think single-sex schools are good environments for some kids, at certain stages of development. But I would have been a complete juvenile delinquent if subjected to a "girls prefer co-operative environments" regime, instead of the old school approach that I (mostly) got. (In fact, I *was* a complete juvenile delinquent to one or two young new hires who had the misfortune to get me in their class, who went in for the former.)

mockturtle said...

I am very, very glad that "co-operative strategies" for math were not in vogue.

Et moi, Angle. Almost as bad as the Californian strategy of the 90's of 'the whole class gets the same grade'.

mockturtle said...

Teaching geared to the lowest common denominator has made us a stupid and uneducated nation which will only get worse with future generations, unless radical changes are made.

Michael K said...

So why not learn physics (or whatever) on your own and just test in for credit?

Teachers would rebel. I took second semester Inorganic Chemistry by exam. I was already accepted to medical school so didn't care about the grade

Original Mike said...

"Failing that, why did you pass up the opportunity to take calculus in college?"

I didn't take calculus until I got to college and still ended up as a physicist and UW faculty. Not taking calculus in high school is not limiting.

Narr said...

See? We. Are. Doomed.

I'm trying to recall whether our required JROTC (two years) in high school exempted us from PE, as the required two semesters of ROTC did when we got to the overgrown teachers college down the street.

I honestly can't remember--I'll have to ask my dwindling band of old pals.

Gym class [7th-9th for sure] was mostly a bore, humiliating only if you cared. I detested the coaches, who were a feeble and in some cases pervy crowd. I avoided pariah status only because I was willing and able to play football--and not that badly--when we had a choice. The others soon learned that despite my height I was lousy at basketball and had no desire to get better--which I could see leading to an endless spiral of playing basketball--so I was chosen last and played little.

Academics weren't much different when I think about it. My standardized test scores were always REALLY HIGH (in all modesty, if they hadn't been I never would have gotten into Podunk U) but in the female pattern: better on verbal than math. My grades were Bs and Cs usually, with a sporty A or F once in a while . . . I figured out averages real quick.

My wife on the other hand was a scholarship girl at a RC girls' school, and by dint of sheer grind was 6 or 7 of 42 in her class by GPA. (I was in the top half of mine, and I took the least challenging courses I could and still graduate; I only skipped class once, but I did a lot of 'inner immigration' in class.)

Certainly, when I hear rhetoric like Obama's from politicians about "remembering that great teacher you had in high school" I go, "No, I barely remember them as individuals at all, and greatness dwelled not therein."

Narr
"A university is a collection of buildings around a library."

Narr said...

Oh, as to tracking and all that-- fuhgeddaboudit. Just another techtopian snare.

Narr
Snare, for user and usee

Renee said...

Angle,

The classes are taught like regular classes, but after the lesson they can engage with each other to work on problems.

This was attempted in my son's middle school class and just ended up in chaos. Too "chatty". It only works with motivates teens, not eleven year olds. I think it's more about the ability to give a chance to get figure out the problem.

I am not about holding kids back one way or the other, I felt at a certain point it wasn't worth the bother to learn maybe or science because I wasn't a fast learner. They just dumbed it down. Now somethings I may never get, but let me figure out what I can in a high school setting.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Renee: The classes are taught like regular classes, but after the lesson they can engage with each other to work on problems.

This was attempted in my son's middle school class and just ended up in chaos. Too "chatty". It only works with motivates teens, not eleven year olds. I think it's more about the ability to give a chance to get figure out the problem.


I don't understand what's special or "girly" about this. Didn't you ever just spontaneously get together with friends after school or in "study hall" to "engage with each other to work on problems"? You really needed a formal program with official approval to do this? Or never see the teacher after class for guidance in approaching a problem you were having difficulty solving?

Again, are there really data showing these programs work to keep girls in STEM fields?

Nichevo said...

Sebastian said...


Which raises the question, is feminism anything more than the rationalization of girlish resentment?


Need you ask?

The only question is whether the thing Althouse does is feminism.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...I'll just gesture at the next step: You could argue that students have a right to substitute outside-of-school monitored exercise for the traditional gym class. It's about physical autonomy and the power to resist demands that you do something with your body that you don't want to do, including taking off your clothes.

Wouldn't the next next step be asking why students who don't want their bodies to be in the school building at all couldn't apply the same logic and substitute out-of-school monitored learning for traditional class attendance? Take classes A-C in the classroom in the morning and complete coursework for classes D-G at home/at the library/outside of school (online, etc).

Isn't it a violation of bodily autonomy to be forced to be anywhere you don't want to be?
Isn't it a violation of bodily autonomy to be forced to do something like read or learn when you don't want to (being forced to engage your eyes and brain against your will)?

I remain unconvinced that "bodily autonomy" is actually a primary concern--that preserving bodily autonomy is actually the highest principle of people who invoke it most often in arguments.

RobinGoodfellow said...

“ Blogger mockturtle said...
This sounds pretty reactionary but I think:

Schools should be single-sex
Students should wear uniforms
The curriculum should be rigid in its academic requirements.
By high school, non-academic alternatives should be offered for the non-college bound.
Courses in basic economics and finances should be required for HS graduation.

Freedom is for adults, not for children.”

I like the cut of your jib, sir.

Mark said...

The classes are taught like regular classes, but after the lesson they can engage with each other to work on problems

Problem-solving by committee -- where everyone works on the entire problem at the same time, as opposed to team members each working on their own particular part -- has never worked anywhere and is often used as an example of how not to do things.