I don’t understand the education system in this country. We have all the resources imaginable – yet we can’t seem to get it right. Each year we see our standing in the world’s education community slipping. At present we sit somewhere in the middle of the pack for “developed nations.”
We continually “tweak around the edges.” Oh, and we can’t forget about the schools and the teachers not having enough money. As if throwing more money into a malfunctioning abyss is going to do anything but make a malfunctioning abyss … that costs more.
I believe the problem is our education system focuses on teaching our children “things.” Most all reform efforts involve improving our methods in teaching these “things” or facts. Whether it’s better teachers that engage their students to absorb these “things,” or reducing class size … it all comes down to teachings “things.” Even if we succeed in finding and implementing the ultimate ways of teaching and learning “things,” we still have the issue of what “things” should our kids be learning. With the current of obsession of trying to keep up with the Chinese and the reliance on standard tests to solve all educational ills – the situation is only getting worse.
At present, this decision is being made by people two decades or more removed from the present world – let alone the world when our children join it. Restricting Twitter, and the enormous amount of incredibly useful information available at our student’s fingertips, via the web – only helps the old guard “circle the wagons.” “We know what’s best and what the students should learn and we’ll be damned if anyone will tell us otherwiseWhat’s wrong with teaching our students how to think, how learn on the fly and adapt? By using tool such as Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube and the rest (and yes they are tools) – we teach our children to investigate, to digest different points of view and recognize the world is not just one book of facts … but rather a plethora of views, opinions and interpretations. And best yet, what these electronic tools do for our children – is they engage them. Most students have multiple access to the web at home – so why should they have to step back into the “stone age” when they go to school, seven plus hours a day!
Engagement is the single most important factor to successful learning. No teacher, no new building … and no endless amount of money’s going to open up a child’s mind to absorb what they think is useless, irrelevant facts and figures. Unless they see a reason what is being thrown in front of them every morning, in the name of learning – is going help them after they leave the “iron walls of school” … it will be nothing more than useless, irrelevant facts and figures. And I believe no textbook book written twenty years ago – according to the bias specifications of some special interest group, a special interest group with immense buying power – is going to engage any eight year old, any twelve-year-old … and especially any eighteen year old.
No one can say what lies ahead in the future for each of our children. To be so pompous to say we know what will be the best opportunity and proper future for a young individual in a formative stage (and what should be learned to prepare for this erroneous assumption) is wrong and irresponsible. All we can do is provide a foundation, a platform for which we can help them develop an “ongoing” lifetime habit of learning and adjustment … adjustment that will most differently be needed in an ever-changing future.
And for some reason … I don’t think “teaching things” is going to do that!