Friday, March 7, 2014

What's Wrong with Teachers

One of the little incidents that I took a lot of flak for back in university was the day I stood up to ask if any of my classmates had as much trouble as I did in following the type of PowerPoint presentations which were popular with most of our profs. I was immediately howled down from all sides. It seems everyone was fine with the Prof just standing there and reading off the bullet points from his power point slides.

It turns out I'm not the only one who thinks there's something wrong with teaching by Powerpoint. Here's someone who posted a pretty good article on Slate Magazine in the form of a mock PowerPoint show. I think she makes some pretty good points.

I'm not saying this article proves I was right. I'm just saying it shows that this is the kind of thing people should be looking at when you're taking a course called Philosophy of Education. And I wonder why I was the only one out of fifty students who thought it was worth talking about?

And it's not like it wasn't even part of the curriculum. We had to memorize this little pyramid thing, which you see everywhere:

I think the way I asked the question was: where did other people think PowerPoint presentations should fit on this pyramid. Because for me they're pretty much off the scale. (You may remember one of the haters critcizing me for "putting other students on the spot"...this is the only possible thing she could have been talking about.)

Like I say, the point isn't whether I was right or wrong. The point is why aren't any other students asking this type of question? And why am I earmarked as a troublemaker because I'm the kind of guy who does?

POSTSCRIPT: The haters, who have been consistently claiming to not remember any specifics...even claiming that their  "general impression" have more credibility than any "factual details"... have jumped back in the fray with a vengeance, suddenly claiming to remember long-repressed particulars of my outrageous conduct.  Now they're playing the "rudeness" card. They would have more credibility if it weren't for Mrs. Cantor's testimony at my criminal trial, where she admitted that her original charges of outrageous rudeness were based on nothing more than the hysterical reaction of a few girls in the class to my perfectly polite and respectful behavior. Not to mention that these newly-graduated professional teachers who hold themselves up as arbiters of proper conduct can't resist calling me "prick" and "asshole" and much worse, all the while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.


  1. Why are you earmarked as a troublemaker?

    That's easy to answer. It is because you were interrupting the class. Yes, it doesn't matter if you were right or wrong, its just that noone wants to hear interruptions.
    If you have additional material to contribute, the reality is that only a few people want to hear it.

    You should have announced to the class that you have additional material and comments, and if they want to hear them, they can talk to you after class, or go to your blog or whatever.

    The reason is that interruptions shorten the time available for instruction by the teacher. Imagine if the comments on this blog would result in your original blog post being shortened. How would you feel about a comments poster who kept posting and shortening your blog post?

    1. How do you know no one was interested? Were you there?

  2. Lots of people, including anonymous 4:38, don't want to think very much. They are content to passively inhale whatever the teacher provides. If digestion takes place, it is a side-issue, and regurgitation is the norm.

    There have been reports about Powerpoint and how poor it is as a teaching tool for years ! It seems quite appropriate to discuss this in a so-called Philosophy of Education course at a university. But I don't think most students, perhaps especially Education students, have the curiosity or bandwidth to actively participate like you do Marty. Maybe they are anxious about passing or getting a good mark, or thinking about something else.

  3. Many of us were content to passively inhale what they provided and move on to worry about what was really important, our practicum. I had to student teach right after those classes and wanted to get the heck out of there. All of our profs openly stated, the practicum is where you gain the real knowledge. I would have rather been planning for my lessons than have some interrupt class and make us stay there sometimes beyond the class time with his ramblings.

    Dave also said, yes this class will be lecture based around powerpoints which isnt the best but for the sake of his class it worked and as stated in the above post, what would be an active way to teach that lesson of "most effective ways to teach". Keep in mind there were tight time constraints and while it wasnt the most exciting it was effective. you would think that ed. students could sit and soak in a lecture based around a powerpoint and gain the basic understanding of the information. Not Marty though.

    1. And even though PowerPoint isn't the be-all-end-all, it's still better than just scrawling on a blackboard or overhead projector (at least it can include clear, accurate diagrams and animations), which other profs still like to do from time to time.

      It's a great way to emphasize things that you want to have written down. As long as it's all emphasized with other learning methods (which all of the good profs did at least a little), it's a useful tool, that's all.

      And with tight time constraints (tighter than in a school classroom), it's easy for professors to fall back on. And frankly, they expect more of us. We should be smart enough to learn from a time-efficient, but less-than-perfect method.

      Would it have been nice for them to use a better method? Certainly.
      Did it cripple anyone's learning? Not if they deserved to be there at all.

    2. I think your memory is a little faulty Marty. As I remember the situation, it was more like this; You wagged your finger and then asked the class if anyone else found this kind of lesson a waste of time? Perhaps not the exact words, but damn close. I distinctly remember how insulting you were. Hmmm....

      You really expected others to jump up and say, 'Why yes Marty. Dave's power points suck. And while we are at it, Dave, your class seems like a bit of a bore."

      You insulted your prof and expected others to jump on your train. The train to hell, I might add.

      Dave did a pretty good job of keeping us involved in the lecture. Some of it was a little dry, but how would YOU have taught the learning pyramid in a better way? He provided some demonstrations... visuals... The power point was to provide an overall look. I appreciated the power points and didn't feel obligated to scribble down every slide, because his actions and demonstrations were powerful enough ensure retention.

      Once again, you like to retell things in a distorted way... I was there. I just told you how it went down. Period.

    3. Why are you ear marked as a trouble maker, you ask? You aren't. You are earmarked as a guy that doesn't know how to tactfully ask a question without insulting someone, coming off as an arrogant, superior a******e and assuming you are always right.

      Troublemaker? Not so much.

    4. I don't have any sources outside of this blog for anything related to Marty's case or the accusations against him, but based on his attitude, I can see all of the accusations against him (including the "home invasion," the sketchiest of them as far as I can see) being 100% within character, all the while with him believing he did nothing wrong.

      Given this blog is my only source (I'm interested, but really don't care that much), I can't comment on the facts of the situation, as they are all highly biased (not to mention a little fuzzy as far as recent posts go, it was 2 years ago after all), and could have easily been fabricated, but based on a personality profile? I'd give a guilty verdict.

  4. OK ... I admit it ... I wasn't there to learn, I was there to start a lawsuit aided and abetted by a loser politician on his last legs trying for a final disdainful hurrah to stiff it to you all. Bwahahahahahahahaha.

    There you have it.

    Hah hah hah ... no, I guess not ... not unlike the axworthy blog idiocy, this was false advertising.

    So here is the truth: I have an EQ smaller than my shoe size, I have a secret desire to meet Bruno in cell block C late at night, and I never had a career, I just spent my time assessing sewage lagoons which smelled an awful lot like home to me.

    As I stated before I am having fun being an absolute a-hole because that is all I know how to do.

    Don't forget I am superior to all of you ... I am one of the chosen people ... the master race so to speak. Heil!

  5. No I'm not! I'm a chronic masturbator who has secret desires too awful to share. Let's just say sheep and goats know me very well, never mind my popularity at the local hog farm.

    Yessiree - teaching - I have taught everyone just how brilliant I am ... hah hah hah hah.

    I am better than you all!

  6. No I'm not - I'm as stupid as a moo-cow, with apologies to moo-cows.
    Yes I am.
    No I'm not.
    Damned schizoid merde between my ears ... when will those voices in my head ever stop ...

  7. What the hell is that disgusting smell? It keeps following me around ... echts!

  8. Don't you just love how Marty shuts right up in the face of criticism? He either ignores it, or makes a snide dismissal or sarcastic return, nothing productive.

    Do you evade your taxes too?

  9. To use a pop culture metaphor here...

    By repeatedly interrupting the class, you have become "Kanye West" and your profs are "Taylor Swift". It doesn't matter if "Beyonce's album is better" (or "PowerPoint sucks"), they hate Kanye West for interrupting, and thats whats happened to you. Of course Kanye apologized profusely, and now is marrying a Kardashian, so maybe there's a road to redemption.

  10. I have a theory ...

    I'd be willing to bet that Sidney Green QC, Marty's father, is the one who drafted the lawsuits. Apparently ol' Sid is hanging about in court advising his brain-damaged son, plus the chances of Sid's misbegotten offspring having the wherewithall to be respectful enough to gather the data required to correctly write up such a lawsuit is about nil.

    That criminal son of Sid's is, I suspect, riding on dad's coattails.

    I wonder if Sidney Green is supporting Marty's quest for money because ol' Sid baby can see how useless his offspring really is, and Sid must know that Marty would starve to death left to his own devices.

    That's just my theory, but maybe old Sid would care to comment?

  11. I'm not one for censorship but the general level of discourse in the comments continues to drop, and it was never really that high to begin with. Too much noise. Even the stuff that isn't strictly noise, is often only a kernel of content wrapped in tons of what I would consider libel. I'm probably going to stop scrolling down to the comments from now on, unless I'm in the mood for a good cringe.

    1. Agreed. Wish the trolls would go away !

  12. Absolutely. If it didn't appear to be such a satire it might be irksome. This story reminds me a little of the plot to the Three Amigos movie; the whole premise seems impossible.

    1. "life is stranger than fiction". I should know, as I am involved in a legal battle of my own that is beyond ridiculous. Many of the posts here are classic cyber bullying. Just wondering where Marty has been lately.

    2. Somehow I have the feeling that if Marty stopped criticizing people then people would stop criticizing him.

    3. Re: Anonymous March 15th, 1:54PM.

      I agree with you. Somehow this blog has moved away (FAR away) from its original intention. Marty was going to tell us about the trials and tribulations of being kicked out of university, but somewhere in the last 4 or five blogs he took a left turn and now we are out in the middle of no where...

      One problem, that I can see, is that beneath the bickering and insults, people have asked actual questions and for some reason, Marty has decided not to answer, despite his claim to be transparent and provide answers.

      I think his refusal to answer questions has annoyed those that were playing his little game. I know I am bored of this. It was so much more interesting when we had facts to deal with, whether we disputed them or tried to make sense of them.

      The last few posts have not helped you, Marty. Get back to answering questions and helping bring light to your position, instead of just pointing the finger at everyone.....

  13. I find it very disappointing that my naive assumption about teacher training turns out to be false. I thought the final step in a teacher's education would be seminar-style participative learning focused on synthesizing ideas in detail not regurgitation of doctrine, however well meaning it might be. I thought one-way doctrine and fact distribution was treated as either not necessary by this late stage of education or done via handouts to be read at home before coming to class prepared to discuss it.

    If the professor of a class in this program shows up with a Powerpoint and acts as a narrator with little other functional value, what is the justification for his pay? How does he go home and feel that he has climbed Maslow's pyramid all the way to the top? Does he feel that he contributed to society?

    Perhaps some questions like that are best left unanswered. It would make me sad to have more of my naive beliefs proven wrong. I'd rather just suspect instead of seeing clear examples that make me sad.

  14. Plenty of places on the web and on this earth where pedagogy is researched and discussed rationally. What Marty has done is like taking your bicycle to do a spin around the Indy 500 track when a race is on. Guaranteed you'll get creamed. Marty did that not once but a whole series of times and when respectfully asked to get off the track he flipped them the bird. That he did in school after school. There are better fora and better methods than interrupting individual classes and intimidating people. Go online and away from marty to learn about positive new methods. You will not be disappointed.