Response to Gee


Week Two of CEP 812 asked us to dive into an honest and exciting book written by James Paul Gee entitled The Anti-Education Era:  GeeCreating Smarter Students through Digital Learning that poses many questions and strikes up several challenging thoughts.  I was asked to write a response based on Gee’s explanation to answer the big question:  What limitations prevent us from solving big, complex problems smartly?

In my response linked below, I answer the big question with information from one of Gee’s chapters, Flight from Complexity.  Check out my response to see how society runs from complexity in search of something simpler for their own benefit rather than solving our world’s complex problems.

Response to James Paul Gee

I leave you with this powerful quote for pondering.

More and more in our highly competitive societies, it is each of us for ourselves or our families alone.  And we often fail alone when we could have succeeded together.” -James Paul Gee, The Anti-Education Era

Gee, J. P. (2013). The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning.

Image:  James Paul Gee, The Anti-Education Era, January 25, 2014 via Google Images,  Creative Commons  License


3 responses »

  1. Chelsea, I can completely relate with what you are saying about how students only want to complete the minimum required and shut down when you present them with challenging, problem solving tasks. I constantly remind my students that math is not a spectator sport. I ask them if they believe Michael Jordan became a great basketball player by watching the game from the stands, which of course sounds ridiculous. We know he became a skilled player through failed attempts, practice, and dedication, yet students have no interest in practicing math skills. Yes, I will admit becoming a skilled basketball player sounds much more appealing that a becoming a skilled mathematician. However, many of my kids today aren’t motivated by grades or standardized tests. They just don’t care. One of my students once told me, “I’m just trying to survive.” Sometimes I forget how complex the realities of their home lives can be. I wish I could find a way to motivate my kids to invest in their learning and understanding. I reflected on how my students complete tasks as a means to an end rather than for understanding as well as the fact that they struggle with reflection. It sounds like we are facing some of the same issues. Nice work on your response to Gee. It was an interesting read.

  2. Chelsea,
    I really enjoyed reading your response to Gee. I especially identified with your discussion of student effort. I too find that most students in my classroom simply complete the minimum requirements, despite my efforts to minimize risk for them. I think that this also relates to what I like to call “helpless hand-raisers.” Many of my students are petrified to complete assignments on their own for fear of failing. Instead of completing the work independently, they raise their hands so often that I feel that I am completing the work for them. I wonder if the switch to standards-based grading will help students to overcome these fears and focus on the learning experience.

    I am sure that you do a wonderful job creating a supportive learning environment in your classroom. You are right to assume that many of your students’ former teachers probably did not do this, leaving a lasting impact on your students’ psyches. This certainly is a limitation for students! Great job Chelsea!

  3. Chelsea,
    I can definitely relate to the feeling of idiocy, selfishness, and failure in the education system. I really relate, as well as the others do, to your student’s effort. In our school we have a 0-4 system for effort and for work ethic. It is really helpful, but takes students a long time to get used to. This also helps with the “recycle bin” work, that ends up in the recycle bin. In this system they are allowed to return work for a higher grade if they choose to put the effort in. A 0 is “inadequate” for incomplete work. A 1 is “Developing” for students who did the assignment but had incomplete or incorrect parts. A 2 is “Basic” for students who have some parts incorrect, but completed the assignment. A 3 is “Mastery” for students who followed directions, and completed the assignment with all parts correct. Lastly, a 4 is “Above and Beyond” meaning that a students completed the assignment correctly and went above and beyond the directions, giving more detail and more to the assignment than necessary. Everything is graded on the 4 point scale making students accountable for the work. If they want a B grade, then they have to do what the assignment says. For an A grade they have to work harder and push themselves more. This system of grading is hard for parents to understand because of the system that we currently have. A C is an average grade, parents with average kids want their kids to get A’s but it is impossible unless they put the work in. Most students are B/C kids, but our society and grading system allow for them to get “points” based on homework and things, that bring their true grade up to an A. Back to your post, I hope they are afraid of failure as well, but we need to teach that failure is not a B or a C. Failure is an F. Let me know if you have more questions or want to try this out in your classroom as I would love to help you out! Thanks for the great read!

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