I am genuinely saddened to read this! What a shame when you love singing so much. I'm glad you have learned other, more comfortable ways to get the sound you want (or are working on that).
I can't think of too many things I was actively taught wrong. I've been told wrong things by people who couldn't stand to say, "I don't know," but they weren't usually authority figures.
That would make me feel sad too, and maybe sort of achey. I'm glad, though, that you are getting some of it sorted out, and things will start getting better.
Is it okay to ask what kinds of things your choir director taught you that turn out now to be wrong?
I'd certainly like to know. I have excellent pitch, but no technique with which to make use of it; I'd like to be a much better singer than I am.
I will show you some of the rest that can't go as easily into my comment above at WFC if we get the chance.
Er, below. Comment wound up below, in response to other comment above. Right then.
She had us singing with our heads way down, chins down. Look at someone singing sometime. Whether it's a musical theater singer or a pop star or a classical soloist, when they're reaching for more, the head goes back so the airway is further open.
There were a couple of other things, but that was the big one.
Oh, yeah. That's so easy to do, and so wrong.
What a frustrating-in-retrospect experience.
Also: The Pentagon on the Acropolis? I can see how a person would say that, but not how they wouldn't catch and correct themselves.
When some nerdy classmates and I corrected him, he did not know what we were talking about.
Oh dear. It wouldn't, I think, even take a nerd; plenty of people would say "No, the Pentagon is in Washington" whether or not they knew about the acropolis and Parthenon.
The one I always have to stop and check myself on is Pantheon vs. Parthenon. I know which one is where; it's just that I can't trust my brain to grab the right word if I don't supervise the process.
2011-09-17 11:23 pm (UTC)
I get those two crossed up also.
That sort of reminds me of the European history teacher who tried to teach us that it was mandatory for Catholics to do all seven sacraments. When I pointed out to him that Marriage and Holy Orders were generally incompatible, and that Holy Orders were not open to women, he just gave me the most pained, "Oh, there you go, bringing reality into it again" look.
My husband and I have spent the last ten years actively unteaching me high school. And some college. And a lot of the lower grades too.
At least I'm finally learning lambda calculus, but don't get me started on my knowledge of chemistry or physics.
Well I'm glad for the success though I'm sorry for the letdown. I'm a bit surprised that you've only had one person teach you technique for that.
I'm also somewhat surprised at the electron shells thing. What grade was this? I mean, straight word substitution is one thing. I get that level of being wrong, but absolutism in science? In physics? (if it was after streaming and not in general science courses) Generally speaking almost all of the stuff of that nature in the sciences side of things came with the codicil that these are beginner stories, when you learn more, you will learn more accurate models, but this is one of the ones that we start with. With atomic models in particular, this was a step on learning the history and development of various models, the experimental data that their development explained, and the limitations of their explanatory power. Yes it was a bit harder on the people who came at the subject matter from above down, whether from their own reading, or family dinner conversation, since they would have to use what they knew to be false in order to fulfil test requirements, but the basic principle was to teach with respect of the process and progress of knowledge development, including that of the students, not just the field. I mean, how can you teach with the assumption of students not learning more? It would seem kind of pointless wouldn't it? (Yes, yes, I know, sheltered.)
Sheltered? Oh yes. The thing is, in some circumstances you have to teach with the assumption of students never formally learning more. Half a high school chemistry class at least will never take another chemistry class, but of course they'll continue to encounter chemistry in their daily lives, as we all do. Most high school chemistry classes have to teach to an uncertain mix of that and future chemists (engineers, etc.). This sucks, but it's the way of the world: public high school teachers, in particular, are the last bastion between many of their students and total ignorance of their subject (or difficulties in further study, and isn't that a balance).
The electron shell thing was my sophomore year of high school, but at least a third of the class was juniors. It was the highest chemistry class offered in my public school system, and I know for a fact that it was not taught as "this was past theory" because I had friends who went on to take chemistry classes in college and get completely blindsided, and because when I challenged the teacher on it, he considered it "nitpicking," because it was "easier this way," rather than responding that this was an early approximation and we'd get more accurate later or etc--no codicils were offered. I did not like or respect that teacher at all. He felt that asking the chemist's daughter to pronounce "molybdenum" was in some way a challenge and was disappointed when I just said molybdenum like a person does.
Sheltered? Oh yes. The thing is, in some circumstances you have to teach with the assumption of students never formally learning more.
True. And I knew that to be the case. The dropoff between S5 and OAC in physics, chemistry, and biology wasn't half, but it existed. And having had our decade reunion recently (something interesting to talk about in Montreal if you have time, yes, I'd like to converse with you, Tim, singly and several, etc… Things haven't been going that well for me in the last while so I've been having difficulty with even pressing non-at-a-distance things like keeping up with laundry, or unintentionally passing my record of longest period between going to sleep and getting up (~49 hours) and perforce eating and drinking (~53). Not excuses, but characterizing my situation.) we ended up with fewer science and engineering professionals and more doctors and lawyers than I expected from where people's interests were in high school and undergrad, so further drop-off has also been vividly illustrated. Moreover, I have an imagination and I read a lot. I'm also aware that our school is unusual. In the roughly 2/3rd sample of the class that was either present or mentioned we end up with, at the time of the reunion, about 10% of the entirety of the grade having either started, or about to start post-doc work, not including MDs, whose categorization varies, with an unknown number of people still doing thesis work. But nonetheless part of what I was aiming at was that public high school or not, my understanding of how one teaches the subject itself, as one of the research oriented fields where fundamentals of theory change in response to said research is the explicit foreground principle that in many ways anything that anyone can teach you is only going to be partly right because the field is always changing (granted, not at a fixed rate), with the history as illustration, regardless of whether said progress is going to personally involve any individual student, because that's one of the core attributes of the subject. The students may not formally study the subject again, but as a teacher you have to believe that at least a portion of the class will learn what you are teaching them, that it will advance their knowledge, and shape their further learning, whatever form that takes, and that therefore that the limits to the usefulness (i.e.: correspondence with actual data, a.k.a.: accuracy) of what you are teaching them should at least be pointed out, if not sketched. The point of teaching is not to close off the students to further education, or make them more resistant to it anyway. Which is one outcome when one presents something as being true without limit.
Or to put it another way, one should teach the subject (and students) in accordance with its nature.
I believe you with respect to your experience and those of others that you relate, I just don't understand why one would responsibly design a curriculum that would teach that particular subject that way. It just feels so fundamentally wrong.
So yes, I share your lack of respect for teachers who use that method. And that to a greater degree than those who made naming errors.
Re: molybdenum. *blink blink* I don't even.
In Montreal there will be the hanging out, and there can certainly be the reunion-discussing. Yes.
But the short version here is that I think you may be giving these curricula too much credit for being planned.
I look forward to it.
Very possibly, but... okay, this gets complicated very quickly and I'm seeing you soon, so perhaps later. (...teachers' college, industry associations, civil servants, state and national standards, subject teacher associations, competence)