Friday, January 22, 2010

January 2010 VDA Newsletter

Once again and because education is so important here is the latest newsletter from the VanDamme Academy.

Pedagogically Correct Volume 4, Issue 2
January 22, 2010

"Pedagogy": The art and science of teaching.
:: Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
:: Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!
:: Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog

Follow this link for the latest VanDamme Academy Newsletter, which features the following article entitled "What Did You Learn Today" (Written by Kyle Steele-ME)

I was sitting on the floor, fixing a desk, when one of my students and her mother came into the room. They were unaware of my presence as the mother helped her daughter gather her homework. Looking at the board, she said, "Nothing is written down for math. What did you do in math today?" Her daughter's response was, "Well... basically, we drew a mountain and that's about it."

If her summary of the day's events hadn't been so comical, I would have been mortified by her answer. Was this all she remembered from my complicated lecture on long division? Though I was tempted to hide myself further under the desk, I stood up and probed my student's memory further. With the right questions, she was able to tell me that the mountain was a metaphor for the steps involved in learning long division and that we'd spent most of the class discussing quotients and remainders.

Her mother was satisfied with this but I was not. My student, quite understandably, remembered the most unusual and silly part of the class and not the lesson. While I'm happy that my students have vivid memories of the metaphor, it is useless unless they recall the metaphor's meaning! I was concerned that this might be the typical kind of answer parents received to that age-old, important question, "What did you do in school today?"

At the end of the next day's lesson, I decided to ask that question myself. "If I were your father and I asked you what you did in class today, what would you say?" The response I got was interesting. Most children could give a vague answer, but not as specific as I would have liked. They could tell me we did long division problems, but it would have been more accurate to say we did problems with a four-digit dividend. I helped them to form this more precise answer.

This exercise, naming what we've learned at the end of each class, has become a routine part of the class and the kids love it. Each of them is eager to come up with the most precise answer. They strive to capture the finest detail that separates today's lesson from previous lessons. I love it, not because it prepares my students to be questioned by their parents, but because my students are refining their own understanding.

It's very easy for a student to let the activities of the day become a blur. Even the best students in the best classes can go through the routine of the day without taking a moment to reflect. But by taking a few minutes each class to discuss what we've learned and give a name to the work we've done, the knowledge they've gained is no longer a blur, but a firmly held concept. It becomes a hard piece of knowledge with clear edges.

Furthermore, this exercise helps the motivation of my students. Naming what we do helps them to remember that each day holds a new lesson. It is very satisfying to look back on a class and say, "We've accomplished this." One of the things that sets VanDamme Academy's curriculum apart from others is that we want our students to hold their knowledge conceptually; knowledge that can be put into words and has a clear connection to reality. It is a goal we pursue doggedly. Naming each lesson is one more way we achieve that goal.

Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
Now Anyone Can Understand The Fundamental Principles of Science Better than Most Scientists
"Fundamen tals of Physical Science: A Historical, Inductive Approach"
By David Harriman, Historian and Philosopher of Physics

Learn all about it at our brand new website.

Here's what other Pedagogically Correct Readers are Saying:

"I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in physics, and I was amazed at how much I learned from David Harriman's course. This course stands head and shoulders above any other course or textbook I have encountered."

"It's perfect for someone relatively new to physics like myself; it's perfect for even advanced people who want a deeper historical perspective than is usually taught...I found Mr. Harriman's physics course to be an exciting walk through the fascinating world of physics."

"I think this type of course is needed for everyone, as in my experience, it's so far above the courses I've had throughout my life as far as the actual transmittal of knowledge is concerned...In short, this course has made science and math much more intelligible for me, and was completely worth the time and cost - I highly recommend it."

I was a physics major when I entered college, yet I can easily say that my actual understanding of physics is much greater as a result of this course than I can credit to any other class I've taken.

With this course you will:
* Finally understand the world around you, the world of science and technology, in a way you never thought possible. (No, you don't have to be a math wiz.)
* Learn the thinking methods of the greatest minds in history.
* Understand what all those physics equations and formulas you once memorized really mean.
* Be inspired by scientists' amazing 2500-year quest to unlock the mysteries of the physical world.
* And have a great time in the process!

All thanks to a one-of-a-kind science teaching methodology available in no other course or textbook.

Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!
Lisa VanDamme's educational career began when a group of parents, disillusioned with standard public and private schools, hired her to educate their children. In 1998, she chronicled her successes homeschooling and explained the methods that made them possible in a lecture, "Reclaiming Education." The audience, fascinated by her insights about education, and inspired by the stories she told, gave her a standing ovation. In 1999, she made "Reclaiming Education" available in written form, to the delight of thousands of readers. Since 1999, the essay version of "Reclaiming Education" has been unavailable. Until now.

For the first time in almost 8 years, we will make this remarkable work available. And we are giving it away for FREE as an e-book to those who help us grow Pedagogically Correct by recommending it to their friends. Just send enter the email addresses of at least five friends who might appreciate an invitation to receive PC--along with a brief personal note, or our standard note below. We will not add anyone to our email database without their permission.

Click here to refer five friends and get your copy of "Reclaiming Education."

Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog
Check out our 'blog, which will contain much (but not all) of the material we sent out in our newsletters. Spread the word!

VanDamme Academy encourages you to forward our newsletter to your friends or post it on your website or blog. If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can sign up to receive Pedagogically Correct for free, at www.vandammeacademy. com.

Happy Learning!

VanDamme Academy--Experience the Power of a Real Education

VanDamme Academy
phone: 949-510-4861