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 big pacific
Joined: 7/2/2009
Msg: 2
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Teaching and its pedagogyPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
LOL thats a riot.

It really depends on what you want them to learn. For all the 40-60 somethings that think kids now are uneducated, I'd say yes in the cities. But they were uneducated when YOU were a kid too, you just didn't TEST them back then.

I had my first semester of COLLEGE done when i graduated high school. By the time I had graduated i had 3 years of calc and a great understanding of the material, but a poor understanding of how to get there on my own. My homework was beyond my parents high school education at 8th grade, I was doing algebra my parents did their senior year in 7th grade. Kids now are taught more than you were in terms of volume of knowledge. Period.

And i'm not some special snowflake of brilliance either. You have to pick your poison, you can go back to the narrow scope of education from the 60's and learn the process of learning, OR we can fill heads with as much as possible and the METHOD for learning is lost.

You gotta pick which you want, diverse and shallow, or small scope and deep.
 big pacific
Joined: 7/2/2009
Msg: 3
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Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/19/2010 12:39:09 PM
Absolutely, and you are right. That being said, I went to 13 different public schools in my time, all up and down the east coast and my experience was pretty similar. I'm a military brat, from humble backrounds and average intelligence.

As for looking up tests? Sure that works, except children now are taught far more subject matter than people were 40 years ago. When you are talking about test scores, it's important to understand that the curriculem has also increased. Sex ed, environmental science, and a myriad of other courses have been added, and we still have the basics that have been around forever.

People were absolutely educated and intelligent far before me, and will be smarter far after. Hence why I mentioned in my post that I'm certainly no poster child for intelligence or education. I'm surprised your nephew had less requirements, I had more than those that graduated 30 years before me.

Again, i think it's about having depth of knowledge in a smaller group of fields, or a wide base with less depth. It's not really less or more education, just a different approach, i'm not saying either is better, i really don't know.
Joined: 1/8/2007
Msg: 4
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/19/2010 2:22:19 PM
I have had this same exact talk with my sons teacher.... I strongly dislike his current school and they supposidly are ranked the best due to those map tests and such... but they are only that way because they feed the kids the answers to the tests...

It is memorization instead of critical thinking... it makes no sense to me why our youth are not taught to THINK instead of just taught to memorize crap.. it is my opinion they are doing a disservice to our future generations and breeding zombies that are easy to control by doing so....

If you take away someones ability to seek out the answers then you are basically creating a system that would require them to have to go to collage when they get older to be able to use critical thinking skills...

Myself and others also see what they are doing... they are creating a NEED for higher education within the next couple generations since due to the abundance of information available both in libraries and the internet higher education facilities are not needed as much and the online universities are in many cases able to handle things better...

Your retired teacher is ABSOLUTLY correct.... It is exactly what is going on... they are no longer teaching our children to be able to think about the problems.

If i were in charge of the education policy this form of teaching would be eliminated or the ones teaching this way would be given their walking papers... union or not.... It would be very EASY to do...

Make it to fall within the catagory of some form of abuse due to the future detriments it creates for those children being taught that way and they would no longer be granted any union protections. because those i talked to about my not being happy the kids are being taught this way just laugh at you..... because of that no child left behind crap school are granted bonuses for their students doing well on those map tests. greed is the motivator for them changing the way they are teaching because lets face it. It is much easier to teach memorization technics than it is to teach kids HOW to think to find the answers....

My son is one of the lucky ones because even though his school sucks I still have the ability and the desire to teach him HOW to think...

Just my opinions and observations... great subject thanks for bringing it up
Joined: 11/7/2006
Msg: 5
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/19/2010 3:47:33 PM
I teach practical music theory and improvisation and have been doing so on and off for almost 30 years both one on one and workshops/master classes. There are more than a few ways to go about it. The sign of a good teacher is the ability to listen and adapt to a students needs. Teaching systems are often more about baby-sitting and rote-regurgitation "make-work" forms of wasting time.

Is 'telling' better than 'showing how to find out'?

I like a combination of both, with as much variance as possible in each. And to teach them in both; a ground up (convergence) and big picture down (divergence) way, ...this ensures that I can tell whether there's understanding going on, and/or time being wasted.

When I used to teach at a conservatory school (mostly the "rote/regurgitation" model), I had to give students aptitude tests, I didn't bother with the school's tests, they were just marketing tools, ...I merely asked 3 questions:

1) Can you recite the alphabet to "G"?
2) Can you count to 7?
3) How bad do you want this?

If the answer to #3 amounts to being willing to spend at least 45 minutes a day on it, then it becomes my job to make it not just interesting, but to adapt teaching to the needs of learning.

I never taught from the conservatory method, I used only my own, ...I never had a student fail a conservatory test, or not kick ass at a recital.

And is modern education right to emphasize 'telling' if it does at all?

This only ever works if the groundwork for self-teaching pre-exists in the student(s), otherwise it's only an exercise in rote/regurgitation. I think we have all seen the results of this when it hasn't worked.
Joined: 1/7/2010
Msg: 6
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/19/2010 4:19:34 PM
Asking is good. Ask and then once their native curiosity has been alerted, feed resources to the questing mind. People tend to learn better when they actually want to learn.

In educamation warehouses, which are there to give your kids someplace to not burn down your house while you're at work, the industrialized version of teaching is a failed production process with no quality control and very low yield. The few minds that survive that ordeal and wind up in higher edukation might still be curious and not just chasing the credential powered incomes promised them by corporate and guvmint wage slots. By then the adult student should be used to managing their own education and so will use teachers as best they can. People learn better this way or that but at the heart of it the student must want to know. The mind has to be hungry or it will just barf when force fed.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 7
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Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/19/2010 5:28:27 PM
When I was in school, in my second year of secondary school, I got a maths teacher who made us learn how to do everything from scratch. He even taught us how to do calculus from scratch. He'd give us 3 or 4 examples on each point. Then he'd give us 20 different questions for homework, on each point covered. Then he'd go over every question in the homework that even one of us didn't understand. If one of us still didn't get it, he'd go over it again and again, until we all got it. There was one question in the homework that one student didn't get, and he made us keep going over it for 3 whole days, until the student got it.

In the beginning of the year, I thought we'd go a lot slower than everyone else. By the end, we completed the entire syllabus of maths and advanced maths, and far more besides, in 3/4 of the time allotted. We then spent the rest of the time doing past exams. We'd done 20 exams for maths and 20 exams for advanced maths. We'd done so many past papers, and done so many different questions, that by the time we walked into the exam room, taking the exam was just like doing more homework. We ALL got As for maths, and As for advanced maths.

When it came to doing our A-levels, he did the same thing all over again, except that for A-levels, he gave us the option of choosing whether or not to do the homework and exams for ourselves. Only one person didn't do all the homework and exams. He got an A for maths and a C for advanced maths. Everyone else, who did all the homework and all the exams, got As both times.

I learned many things from him. One thing was that if you want kids to pass exams for sure, the best way is to teach them how to do it for themselves, and then make them do so many examples for homework that it becomes second nature.
Joined: 11/1/2009
Msg: 8
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/19/2010 6:00:12 PM
Yup, I gotta say different methods have their place and time. Right now, I'm dealing with a 4th grader who isn't asking to know his math facts, but by God if he wants to see the light of day tomorrow he will work on his math facts today. This parent will not accept the attitudes of "I don't hafta, wanna, or can't."
In a perfect world every student would desire to know every thing they will need to know in life. But they all don't. If all we can do for today is memorize some facts, then we do that. I don't ask him when he would like to brush his teeth either because I know what his answer would be. Education is a privilege, a responsibility, a pleasure, nirvana, or a living hell. It depends on what you make of it. You get a crappy teacher -too bad, so sad - get what you can out of the situation or improve the sitution. Parents absolutely have as much or more responsibility in this as kids and teachers. Only when all three do their part will our schools become the stellar institutions we all want them to be.
Joined: 5/21/2007
Msg: 9
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/19/2010 8:02:10 PM
Interesting stories in here fo' sho.

I guess the question on every educators minds is how to get kids to want to learn, if you can do that, there might even be a place for "rote" learning--some kids may prefer it, and it even may make sense in classes like history.
Joined: 10/23/2008
Msg: 11
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/20/2010 9:31:31 AM
The city that I live in, has a very unique approach to education...charter, public, and magnet schools alike, all specialize in a certain area of subject, i.e. art, math & science, etc., and a child may to any school they choose. So school "assignment", is very loose here.

I think, that it is in the "how", we learn, which can be ascertained through a multiple intelligence test. I am not a fact retainer. If you tell me something, I will most likely forget it, five minutes later. But I am shown, the application of such fact, or can reason it out, then I am more likely to retain it...I don't think I am unique. I think most people learn best, is isn't just knowledge that should be imparted, but the understanding and application of such...jmho...
Joined: 10/22/2007
Msg: 12
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/20/2010 8:57:18 PM
hi... this is a rant...
in regard to young students we have to teach young kids by showing them, by telling them why and by having them try it for themselves.. what is missing today is ensuring that all students get it, as in the case of scorpios math teacher... many kids do not have the confidence to ask questions, to get help and so the students who miss the mark on the first go remain lost.. the teachers no longer have the luxury of following through with EACH student in their class ... the students feel constant failure... after enough yrs of thinking that they can not do it, they do not.. they fail but really the system fails them... add to that home and world stress, unavailable parents or parents who can not help them with understanding ...imho only a small percentage of over achiever type students can keep up with the curriculum in Ont schools, a fair amount could with old tried and true methods of the past but the system seems to create these huge cracks then it marvels when students fall like flies... all kids can learn when the focus is more individualized .. this approach nurtures the desire and confidence to learn....... blessings
Joined: 1/9/2007
Msg: 13
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/21/2010 12:34:01 AM

Is 'telling' better than 'showing how to find out'?. And is modern education right to emphasize 'telling' if it does at all?

In many districts in Ontario and definitely where I live, the educational modus operandi is "teach to the test". Schools vie to raise their scores on performance assessments which are released to the public.

As for looking up tests? Sure that works, except children now are taught far more subject matter than people were 40 years ago. When you are talking about test scores, it's important to understand that the curriculem has also increased. Sex ed, environmental science, and a myriad of other courses have been added, and we still have the basics that have been around forever.

Yes, students today are getting a watered down version of the subjects that constituted the main core in place when I attended school. My own students were amazed to learn that in my day, we had a whole textbook devoted to grammar with separate editions from a grade 1 through a grade 12 level. We also had textbooks solely devoted to comprehension, another series solely devoted to spelling and proper usage of words in composition.

As Big Pacific points out - the current curriculum is so jam packed with additional material (IMHO most of which springs from a politically correct agenda that the powers that be insist students be exposed to), that there is simply not enough time to devote to the three R's. The higher the sand to cement ratio, the weaker the concrete.

I don't really see that covering a greater variety of subjects is better. As a matter of fact, if a person learns how to do research, how to express themselves clearly, learns a bit of logic, they then can learn just about anything, and that will hold them in better stead in their whole life.

I agree Paul. Similarly, I have told countless parents that if their (grade school aged) child is capable of memorizing only 3 things, I guarantee that they will have no problems with high school mathematics. A child can get a LOT of mileage by memorizing basic addition facts, basic multiplication tables and a handful of formulae.

in regard to young students we have to teach young kids by showing them, by telling them why and by having them try it for themselves..

In addition Monalee, I would add sufficient practice such that the mastery of the skill can be proficiently demonstrated despite the introduction of different units. Can the student remember how to calculate fractions after the class has moved through units on measurement and geometry ?

We have yet another problem here in Ontario. We have never met a curriculum that we are not compelled to implement. Yes, here there is some unfathomable desire to jump on every trendy bandwagon that comes along, regardless of the fact that other countries which implemented the very same curriculum a year or two earlier reported it to be a dismal failure.

We have senior educational administrators who proclaim that previous curriculums are outdated because we NOW have more information about how children learn and that older curriculums pale in comparison to the new ones. Gee, these people grew up and attended school when we were still focusing on the three R's. It was good enough for them to rise through the ranks to their current well paid positions. Are they telling us that their OWN education was impoverished ?!?

The mathematics curriculum here is appalling. Believe it or not, many schools still teach students to convert to improper fractions when subtracting mixed numbers where the second numerator is larger than the first !

When I showed our math curriculums to educators in Singapore, they were aghast. Many of them declared that they would pull their children from schools employing such curriculums. When I informed them that all Ontario schools must deliver that same curriculum, they sincerely asked why Ontario parents do not rise up and challenge the system. In Singapore, the thought is that there is no need to tamper with a curriculum that has proven itself for decades. They simply dismiss entertaining any thoughts about trying the latest and greatest trends that we seem to embrace like addicts even at the peril of our students.
Joined: 1/9/2007
Msg: 14
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/21/2010 1:49:28 AM
Thank you Andrew. You are so right when you say that young minds are a terrible thing to waste. I fear we are shortchanging our students in ways that may have odious repercussions. At least here in ON TARI ARI ARI OOOOOO....

Rains, who is definitely going to bed now, lol....
 Jumbo Whiffy
Joined: 3/12/2009
Msg: 15
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/21/2010 4:22:15 AM
In truth, the task of our schools is to objectify and "mark" students so that they might be placed where they should be. Teachers can bleat all they want, at the end of the day, they are pushing "Alphas" or perhaps "Deltas" off a prodution line. This is through no fault of their own.
 big pacific
Joined: 7/2/2009
Msg: 16
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Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/21/2010 6:13:15 AM
I think as long as funding is determined by standardized testing scores, we will always have teachers modeling the curriculem around testing and not around learning.

The system here in the states almost FORCES teachers to teach to a test so that the school can buy books next year.
 Jumbo Whiffy
Joined: 3/12/2009
Msg: 17
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/21/2010 6:39:19 AM
PAH!! So much for pedagogy!!!

Our educational institutions exist to create "useful" people, and that is about it. Children are "marked" from their first year,or perhaps a few years later. Either way, they will of course at certain times be "examined" in order to establish what it is in fact that they know, and how well they know it. Modern pedagogy is not so much concerned with "teaching", as it is with "knowing".

Knowing makes it far easier to place people in their "rightful" place.
 Jumbo Whiffy
Joined: 3/12/2009
Msg: 18
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/21/2010 9:00:26 AM

Joined: 1/9/2007
Msg: 20
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/22/2010 1:49:15 AM

When you speak of 'modern education', I can only assume by the narrow opinion expressed, you're probably refering to education in the United States of America. Speaking for what I know of Canada, having been educated mostly in this country, and for what I have seen of Western European countries, mid Asia as well as the far east, I can assure you that greatest thrust of education starting in the early primary years is the emphasis on 'learning how to learn'.

Respectfully, I must disagree with you. Are you suggesting that the Canadian educational system somehow trumps the American one, that we don't have a relatively equal or possibly greater share of problems and dirty little secrets ? We live in the same province. Teaching to the test is the worst kept secret I can think of. In my city, it is openly acknowledged by teachers (except in the presence of administration). Am I to believe that the metro Toronto area is above such spurious practices ??? Sorry, but I just don't buy it.

For all intents and purposes it appears that the Ontario math curriculum was loosely based on the Chicago/Everyday Math model which was implemented in the USA years before we Ontarians jumped on that bandwagon. After a number of years, more and more school districts dropped this model, recognizing it for the progressivist, constructivist farce that it was. Yet even though there was ample evidence that this "fuzzy" math model was confusing and discouraging students who simply had no clue what they were doing, we STILL embraced it. If shown a new educational trend, we in Ontario seem to believe the dubious aphorism " Better late than never !!!"

Despite the revisions made in 2005, as long as we hold fast to a spiral curriculum complete with its spawn - the notorious "strands", I believe that for the most part, we are raising yet another generation of students who will grow up to be adults openly declaring that they hated math in school. Mastery of a strand is not required and need not be demonstrated to move on to concepts of another strand. Concepts of one strand will be introduced for a week or two. Whether or not each student has internalized the material is of no concern because this same concept will be revisited and expanded upon at some future date. Proponents of this ideology declare that there is no longer any reason for any child to fear math. If you don't get it now, don't worry because we'll cover it again next year.

However, teachers are expected to cover ALL the material as specified for each grade level in the Ontario curriculum. We are gonna keep on truckin' whether you grasp the concept or not. Our students have no basics or solid foundation upon which to build because memorization of basic addition facts and multiplication tables is anathema. They are just groups of innocent little grasshoppers, equipped with their calculators, computers, manipulatives and craft materials, hopping from unit to unit and "exploring conceptually" throughout the school year. One week they are "discerning" the relationship between fractions and decimals and in the next week they will "discover" a myriad of unorthodox methods of multiplication.

Another one of our worst kept secrets is the number of teachers who enrol THEIR OWN CHILDREN in after school traditional math programs as insurance against panic attacks and anxiety when their children move on to secondary schools. These teachers do not hesitate to say how much they resent the fact that they are forced to turn to supplemental programs to ensure that their own children are mastering concepts that THEY SHOULD BE LEARNING IN SCHOOL. " We pay our school board taxes and then have to fork out more money for math tutoring." Hmmm, what is wrong with this picture ?

To be continued....... with more dirty little secrets exposed........
 big pacific
Joined: 7/2/2009
Msg: 21
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Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/22/2010 6:39:03 AM
Raisands, that post was just another way for someone to take a pot shot at the states.

From what you describe, our educational systems are VERY VERY similar, almost identical.
 big pacific
Joined: 7/2/2009
Msg: 23
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Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/22/2010 8:04:03 AM
I had a similar experience when I lived in Germany and Switzerland. There is arrogance and nationalism present in every nation, the states are just the easy one's to hate. Europe doesn't have an influx of illegal and under-educated immigrants streaming in their borders year after year either, all looking for a better life. Those people influence our education system, health care system and our entire lifestyle and it is something that never seems to be considered by many when discussing healthcare or education.

I'm not a huge believer in the "performance" though. Education really has nothing to do with the performance of the US, it's work. Americans work more, as a whole i'm sure our test scores are lower, but with immigration and urban problems that we have i think it isn't reflective of the merits of our educational system.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 27
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Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/22/2010 3:33:44 PM
RE Msg: 28 by quietjohn2:
When I grew up in England, there was a similar feeling that the US education system fell short of others. There have even been test results to prove it. I believed it for a long time, even after living in the US for some time. Then I began to realize that a true test of education in a country is surely the peformance of that nation relative to the rest of the world. It may not be perfect, but the US is no slouch in that respect. They must be doing something right.
The US does do a few things right, or used to:

1) The Americans I met tended to be very, very positive about life. The Brits tend to much more pessimistic. They even impart this in the way they do business. They are very optimistic about their business, and so they do a lot more.

2) The Americans I met tended to have a very simple practical outlook about things. If you like, they live by KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). It works.

3) After World War II, the Americans were in a Cold War with the Russians. Both sides tried to show off as being the best. America invested heavily in the highest levels of education. They also got a lot of top European scientists fleeing the Nazis. So a lot of the knowledge of the last hundred years that was discovered in Europe, ended up in America.
Joined: 1/9/2007
Msg: 28
Teaching and its pedagogy
Posted: 1/23/2010 12:55:37 AM

Speaking for what I know of Canada, having been educated mostly in this country, and for what I have seen of Western European countries, mid Asia as well as the far east, I can assure you that greatest thrust of education starting in the early primary years is the emphasis on 'learning how to learn'.

Countless math curriculums and supplemental programs highlight the ideal of students "learning how to learn" in their mission statements, curriculum documents, press releases and so on. In a sense, one could say that the buzzwords du jour "learning how to learn" is viral in nature so far as education is concerned. While it sounds like a desirable OUTCOME, the truth is that in many cases it remains nothing more than an IDEAL that talks the talk but cannot walk the walk. One can't believe everything they read or hear; at some point critical thinking skills must be employed. We all want the best for our children and "learning how to learn" sounds so nurturing, so caring, so blue skies and apple pies. What parent would not desire that for their child ? However, discerning parents should be taking the further step of investigating if the curriculum, whether public, private or supplemental, has PROVEN that the ideal and the outcome are one and the same.

I am wondering exactly which grades you consider the "early primary years". Are you referring to the Government of Ontario Early Learning Program (the "new and improved" version of Junior and Senior Kindergarten designed for 4 and 5 year old children) that is scheduled to launch later this year ? Possibly you are referring to the Ontario Curriculum Primary Division which includes kindergarten and Grades 1, 2 and 3 ? Regardless, the youngest age that either program is designed for is 4 years old.

Contrast that with the educational system in Singapore where 2 and 3 year old children may be enroled in the optional PRE-NURSERY/PLAYSCHOOL. Parents of 4 year olds may opt to enrol their children in NURSERY SCHOOL. KINDERGARTEN 1st YEAR is for 5 year olds and KINDERGARTEN 2nd YEAR for 6 year olds. Formal education begins for 7 year olds in PRIMARY 1. This means that if a Singaporean student is enrolled at 2 years of age in PRE-NURSERY (and many of them are), by the time he or she reaches 7 years of age, they will have had 5 years of "learning how to learn" prep before entering Primary 1.

During one of my lecture tours through Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, I was asked to visit a school in Singapore where 300 students needed to be assessed to determine their placement in an enrichment math program. This class would be IN ADDITION TO their regular math classes. This was not a school for gifted students, it was simply a typical Singaporean school. I was asked and agreed to supervise the writing of the assessment tests. I observed the students sitting the tests and reviewed their results as well. Talk about culture shock - I was hardpressed to mentally process what my eyes were seeing !

The Primary 1 and 2 students sat first. I did not observe any fingercounting, tapping on the desk or employment of rulers to add and subtract. Despite the fact that the tests were being timed, I could not find a single student showing signs of discomfort or anxiety. Not one student just sat there and stared at the test. They had entered the test room excited about this challenge and literally dove into the tests when given the signal to do so. No calculators were permitted.

What really rocked my socks were the Primary 3 and 4 students. It's one thing to simply read that Southeast/Asian students demonstrate greater mathematical proficiency than ours but a whole different ballgame to see it in action. These 9 and 10 year olds were ripping through tests containing questions that ranged from what would be found in our Grades 6 through 9 curriculums. Their tests were done quickly and the scores on average were very high. These very same tests had previously been given to a good number of Grade 8 students here in Ontario with mixed results. All of the students took much longer to write the test which, for the most part, could be completed in 25 minutes or less. I was dismayed to see the number of questions that were left blank. Average scores were markedly lower than those of the younger Singaporean students. It was also sadly obvious that a good number of these Grade 8 Ontario students had not mastered skills that they should have had nailed by the end of Grade 6.

Get on the web and take a look at the various sites for parents of home schooled children in Canada and the USA. Go to the forums and take a look at the math textbooks that many of them recommend. What textbooks are growing numbers of private schools turning to ? Which textbooks do well educated foreign born parents order for their children being schooled in North America ? Well, let me give you a hint. It's neither CANADA MATH nor USA MATH. It is the SINGAPORE MATH series. Surprised ? I'm not.

In summary, it is my opinion that Canada and Southeast Asia (specifically Singapore) cannot in good faith even be mentioned in the same breath when it comes to "learning how to learn". Not even close. Not even close to close.

To be continued...... and I promise to get back to the secrets but I wanted to wrap this up and my computer is misbehaving.......
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