What Happens In Fourth Grade?

A teacher has two roles.  The first role is to teach new material to the student.  The second role is to convince the student to make the effort to study and do their home work. In this second sense, the work of a teacher is actually closer to the management effort of a supervisor at a job, rather than what we normally think of as “being a teacher”.

An Educational Manager is a person who ensures that a student stays focused and motivated in their learning process.  Teachers divide their classroom efforts between teaching and Educational Management.  This article takes a look at the unusual liabilities that can emerge when a student fails to recognize and respond to the important difference between his teacher’s two roles.

Around fourth grade

By the time a student reaches the fourth grade reading level, he is generally able to read (age appropriate) books on his own and learn new material.  When a new vocabulary word comes along, the fourth grade student can use a dictionary to learn the meaning of the new word.

Once a student has mastered these basic learning skills of a) reading and b) using a dictionary then, strictly speaking, the teacher no longer needs to personally convey new material to the student. But, for most students, the teacher (acting in the Educational Management role) does still need to convince the student to continue with his learning and studying efforts.

The exception proves the rule

An important exception to the You-Can-Learn-Things-By-Reading-A-Book-Once-You-Get-To-Fourth-Grade principle occurs when a learning task is either too dangerous or too complex to explain in writing.  For example,  learning how to perform an experiment in a chemistry class obviously requires the physical presence of a teacher.

But it is the exception that proves the rule. The rule is that, for people who can read, the vast majority of learning tasks do not require the presence of a teacher.  (At least not a teacher in the sense of someone who personally conveys information to the student.)

Student Needs By Grade Transparent 2

An important life change has
occurred – but it usually goes unnoticed

Most elementary school students fail to recognize that this important transition has occurred in the dynamics of their educational process.  (In fairness to the students, teachers usually do not emphasize it to their students when this life change happens.)

Students who overlook the meaning of the transition end up in a partially confused state regarding their educational process.  The confusion hinges around the lack of clarity between the student’s perception of his need for a teacher (in the teaching role) versus his need for an Educational Manager (in the make-sure-you-get-the-work-done role).

By the way, this explains why so many people only go to school up to the earliest grades – but they still end up becoming successful in life.  Such people are usually not geniuses. They may, in fact, have only average learning ability – but they do have the desire to learn. So, by the time they reach fourth grade, they don’t need a teacher or an educational manager.

Welcome to the new educational paradigm

Perhaps there should be a special ceremony to mark the transition to the fourth-grade reading level?   The event would celebrate a young person’s first steps into educational adulthood.  And it would be a way of making it clear to the student that his teachers are going to be shifting their energies away from the teaching role and towards the Educational Management role.

Unfortunately, that ceremony is not currently part of the process in public schools.

The Continuing Education phase of life

And then one day formal schooling ends.  For most people, this is a time of great relief and the exhilaration of freedom.  (Mainly because the pesky teacher / Educational Manager is gone.)

And then comes the shock of looking for a job and realizing that you have no marketable skills.   Your only skill is laboring.  And laboring does not pay very well.

So we are back to school – either formally or on-the-job or self-taught.

For people who have self-discipline, the Continuing Education phase is an exciting and profitable journey that lasts for a life-time.  But, for people who lack the self-discipline to stick with long-term self-education goals, Continuing Education usually means a discouraging series of half-completed failures.

Get help and get active

How about you?  Do you want to improve your marketable job skills?  The fact that you are able to read this article shows that you have already mastered the basic skills of reading and learning.

So, if you want to improve your education, you probably do not need a teacher (in the sense of someone who personally presents new information to you.)  But you may very well need an Educational Manager to help you to maintain your focus.

Get Help Get Active offers free Educational Management for those who need it.  In fact, it is even better than free.  You will get paid cash from the very first day!   In any case, you will never pay anything and your participation is completely confidential.

Get help and get active!

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14 Responses to What Happens In Fourth Grade?

  1. PAL says:

    Questions For Discussion

    1. What is the difference between a teacher acting in the Teaching role and a teacher acting in the Educational Management role?
    2. If you are not currently in school, then who is serving you as an Educational Manager? Are you your own Educational Manager? If so, then are you satisfied with the management job are you doing for yourself?
    3. In an average week, how much time do you spend in career-useful self-education?
    4. How many years have passed since you left school? Since leaving school, have you used your ability to read in order to teach yourself career-useful skills and knowledge? Of has your reading been, primarily focused on stuff which, from hind-sight, has not helped you with your career?
  2. PAL says:

    And now you know why the teachers always complained that their work in the Educational Management role was so frustrating and discouraging.  The teachers were hoping that the students would eventually come to value learning on their own – but that usually does not happen.

  3. PAL says:

    Two Kinds of Adolescent Transformation

    There is an interesting parallel that happens in the case of adolescence.  Young people who never get a sex talk end up having to piece things together for themselves.  So they ask themselves: “What is happening to my body and my feelings and my relationships?”  If no one explains things, it can lead to some strange and even destructive changes in outlook.

    Similarly, “strange and destructive changes in outlook” can occur when a student fails to productively respond to the transition in roles and responsibilities between himself and his teachers.   The thinking might go like this:

    • I graduated from high school (which is true).
    • I don’t have a teacher anymore (which is true).
    • A teacher is needed if I am going to learn (which is false – because it fails to distinguish between a teacher in the teaching role and the EM role).
    • Therefore, it is not realistic for me to learn anything new (which is false – and it conveniently relieves the would-be learner of having to make an effort.)
  4. PAL says:

    Physical & Cognitive Ability Versus Managerial Ability

    This is similar to the way a young person starts out by depending on his parents for food, shelter, and direction in life. A healthy young person begins to take the reins of his life when he is still in grade school. Then, gradually, more and more as he becomes an adult. But a psychologically unhealthy person never manages to cut the apron strings.

    When his parents die, an overly dependent adult child is going to be in for a shock – since he will need to start caring for himself.

    So, the point is that an overly dependent adult child can have all of the physical and cognitive abilities to take care of himself. But he may be missing the managerial ability to take the reins of his life.

  5. PAL says:

    The Student and his Twin Realizations

    At some point, as a student is going through life, he realizes that school has a sincerely benevolent purpose – which is that society wants to help him to become educated so that he can make his way in life. And he (the student) will also, eventually, piece together the fact that the more knowledge that you have, the better equipped you will be for real life. “The more you learn, the more you earn.” So he values knowledge.

    For some people, these twin realizations (that school has a benevolent purpose and that knowledge is worth having) come only after their formal schooling is over. But, in any case, in the end, we all get to them.

    Unfortunately, for most students (whether in or out of school), there is also a sense in which learning is a unpleasant task. There is work involved. It takes work to read and study and learn. And since most people don’t like work (a sad fact of the world) there is a very natural tendency in which we look for ways to avoid doing the work. And, if we can’t find ways to avoid doing work, then there is another, much more insidious, tendency that kicks in – in that we look for ways to avoid believing that we need to do the work.

    So the dilemma of the student is that, on the one hand he knows that knowledge is valuable and worth gathering, but, on the other hand he does not, under his own initiative, sufficiently want to put in the effort that is necessary to do the learning.

  6. Gamer says:

    I prefer to be spoon fed. That is all.

  7. Gamer says:

    Do there exist adults who can read but who find it difficult to learn things unless they are being aided by a teacher? Yes. Are all adults in that situation? No. Does there exist a sizeable proportion of adults who can effectively read and learn useful skills without the physical presence of a teacher? Yes. Does there exist a sizable fraction of the able-to-read-and-learn-without-the-presence-of-a-teacher population who a) are struggling in poverty and b) do not make a reasonable effort to use their ability to read and learn? Yes.

  8. Burning Desire To Succeed

    About that idea of a “burning desire” to succeed – if you don’t currently have that, then how do you get it? This is particularly a problem for ppl who, in a way, kind of don’t even want it.

  9. What Did You Learn Today?

    For (most?) (many?) people, if you were to ask them: “What have you learned recently to help to move your career forward?” (last day, week, month), then the honest answer would be “Nothing.”. That should be shocking but it is actually very common.

  10. PAL says:

    Education Versus Certification

    When someone says that they want an education, do they mean “want” in the sense of “I want to eat chocolate?” Or do they mean “want” in the sense of “I am willing to make a sacrifice in order to achieve a long-term benefit?” I think that, usually, it means the second sense. In other words, the person often does not really want to go to the trouble of getting an education. Its more like putting up with a necessary evil.

    This is a worthwhile distinction to make in that it goes to the heart of the difference between education (which is 100% free due to libraries and the internet) and certification (which can be expensive – but, for people who really want an education, it usually works out to be free or extremely affordable.)

  11. PAL says:

    This could be illustrated with a nice diagram:

    “But, for people who lack the self-discipline to stick with long-term self-education goals, Continuing Education usually means a discouraging series of half-completed failures.”

  12. Does Everyone Want To Get Paid?

    Here is a slightly different question: Does everyone want to work? Now right away everyone who is financially insecure says: “Well of course everyone wants to work!”. But do they?

    Consider other instincts: eating, loving, breathing. We all want to do these, right? Yes, we do. And the proof of our “wanting to do them” is that we spontaneously do them without being paid!

    But work is not that way. Only a small number of people will spontaneously work unless they are being paid.

    Illustration of 10 wind-up springs in life – but only one brings cash.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Do people respect you?

    Why do they respect BOG but they don’t respect you?

    This town is boring – illustration idea a few small buildings

    Illustration idea a graph with two layers the bottom ball slayer illustrates the pain which life in flicks upon us which is unavoidable the second layer illustrates the pain which we willingly inflict upon ourselves the point of your stretching is to show that we do willingly endure pain but when initiative is required we tend to look for the easy way out by the way this includes The case of a job which inflict pain upon us from the outside but because there’s no initiative involved in enduring it it essentially works out to be a pain inflicted upon us by the outside world even though in fact we are each day choosing to go to the job

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