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Context:

Some time ago there was a post on a brief study conducted by Alexis Wiggins (she was shadowing two students for two days), you can find it here, which got quite an attention. One interesting thing is that, as the author of the blog have put it, it is "not news". To be more precise, let me quote a paragraph:

Not news. Yet, as a number of commenters pointed out – and I agree – the passive and sitting life of a HS student is not news. Our surveys document this, and I have written about my own observations of the boredom I see. Ted Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools (for which I worked as the 1st director of research 30 years ago) began life due to Horace’s Compromise and The Shopping Mall HS which both documented the problem (along with massive data from John Goodlad’s A Place Called School). All of which was preceded by Postman & Weingartner, Kozol, Silbermann and Friedenberg in the 60s.

[Grant Wiggins, A PS to the guest post on shadowing HS students (and the author revealed)]

But despite the fact that it is not news, Alexis, "a veteran HS teacher who just became a Coach" states

I have made a terrible mistake. I waited fourteen years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day.

and later in the article follows with a number of changes she would immediately implement.

My question: What else we miss?

I would suspect that a veteran teacher would know something about the students' daily routine. From the story she told, it is clear it was not enough (at least for her). As someone with much less experience I'm concerned about other things that we (as teachers and educators) are unaware of that hurt our students the most. What I'm looking for, is a collection of posts, statements, research results, that would help getting the fundamentals right (I regard the students' inability to follow the lesson quite fundamental). The scenario I'm counting for is that we crowd-source such a list here, each of us contributing some important bits (the perspectives vary, collaboration might result in a more balanced collection).

A follow up: Is missing such things very bad, and if it is, how we can prevent missing such things? (Perhaps that should be another question, I will separate it if there is enough interest in it.)

P.S. I'm aware that this question is more about teaching in general than teaching mathematics, but I don't know any other SE site that fits better (and there surely are some math-related issues too, I just don't know how they compare).

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    $\begingroup$ To me, the problem with education is that there is no goal. What is the goal? Is the goal to educate students? Why is that important? Education alone accomplishes nothing. We send students into the abyss with the promise that if you study hard and do well in school that you will leave the abyss but what is the goal? What do we expect students to be able to do with an education? The goal seems to be education but this is not the actual goal yet we fool many students into thinking an education alone will produce the expected results--which is my problem, what are the expected results? $\endgroup$ – Jared Oct 28 '14 at 4:32
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    $\begingroup$ p.s. Please don't leave based on the above comment--I think you raise a very good question for which I'm sure others can offer far more constructive feedback. $\endgroup$ – Jared Oct 28 '14 at 4:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Jared If you ask me, there are three (most important) reasons for education (in random order): first, that previous accomplishments like wheel, electricity, scientific method, etc. won't disappear or become magic; second, to keeping our brains in shape; third, to enable us to have more fun. $\endgroup$ – dtldarek Oct 28 '14 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ You are not touching on a tangible goal, only intangibles--mainly happiness which is unlikely to result from education in our current society. The closest thing you come to reasoning for education is that we must build on prior knowledge and thus people must be "brought up to speed" so to speak. But why? Presumably so they can innovate, yes? The other two reasons are nonsensical, why is keeping our brains in shape a valid, societal, goal? Why do we need to keep our brains in shape? It's fun? OK, I have fun playing video games, so should I devote all of my time to playing video games? $\endgroup$ – Jared Oct 30 '14 at 9:31
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    $\begingroup$ You are talking about the life of a high school student and "what" we are missing. I can tell you what we are missing: we are missing the explanation of how an education leads to a goal. You won't be able to educate anybody until you explain to them why they need an education. And I guarantee you that "it's fun" will not be a good enough explanation...and I will leave it at that if you do not wish to continue. $\endgroup$ – Jared Oct 30 '14 at 10:21

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