Let's reform education.
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Our education systems need so much change.
- The world is changing very, very fast but our schools haven't changed for hundreds of years.
- Our schools are run with industrial values. Children are taught in batches, there are ringing school bells which govern our day, students are told to raise their hands if they want to speak, have a short break to eat and sit in nice, straight rows nice and neat, this needs to change we are no longer in industrial times. If there was individualised learning for each student and they could each learn with their own learning style then there wouldn't be a need for raising your hand to speak because anyone could simply walk to the teachers and ask if they had a problem. Also, school bells aren't necessary to create order. Train stations, airports, libraries and offices all create order without school bells. Even the factories which they started out with don't use them anymore and in an alternative system you would maintain order the same way we do in every other facet of life.
- Standardised testing (all students to take the same test under the same conditions) encourages teachers to teach a narrow selection of skills that the school believes increases test performance, rather than achieve in depth understanding of the overall curriculum. Inauthentic learning, memorising arbitrary information which is generally gone a day after the examination has become the main system of measuring intelligence - learning can be much deeper than this and definitely should be.
- Students have different passions and interests, different ways of learning. Some students learn best through listening to an audio recording of their notes, some students learn better through visual note cards and highly decorated notes - others still learn from videos and hands on activities; You can't teach them all the same thing the same way and especially not from an outdated textbook! The textbook point was illustrating that schools seem to stick with textbooks even if they know most students learn in a different way, of course I don't know exactly which textbook and which page they turn to...
- If you needed just a little bit more time, you were very much seen as unintelligent. Imagine if all your unrealised potential was noticed?
- Children in classrooms being lectured are at different levels of understanding and at different stages of their lives and maturity. Some in the classroom know everything that you are teaching and have already in fact read through the entire textbook and done all the exercises, while others might not have understood the information from three lessons ago and still have a question - but were just too afraid to ask a question.
...Change is needed NOW!
"Human resources are like natural resources in that they are buried deep. You have to go looking for them. You have to create the circumstances where they show." - Anonymous
What CHANGES SPECIFICALLY do we want to see?
- More a focus on learning rather than tests: we need to stop using tests as a "diagnostic tool" and then simply move on to the next subject to teach, and subsequently test, when it's clear that the student hasn't fully grasped any of the material.
- The accommodation of different learning styles for different students: different students learn things in different ways however different schools all around the world all seem to come to the conclusion that books are the go to resource. We need to sincerely change our approach so that textbooks are no longer the norm and in classes it's no longer the norm to hear "turn to page 158 of your textbook", but to hear "for the next 40 minutes use whatever means necessary to learn the Pythagorean theorem and when you're finished here is a test you can do to see if you've learned it and I'll be here to answer any questions if you have them" .
- An end to grouping students by age group rather than ability: Instead of having students grouped in "batches" moving through all learning things at the same time, we should have each student through each moving through in their own time, at their own pace not being held up or hankered down by any arbitrary timescales with the focus of learning the material rather than taking tests.
- Why is this that when you look at a picture of a car from a hundred years ago and you look like a car now they look completely different and yet when you look at a picture of a classroom from a hundred years ago and a classroom from now they look exactly the same? We need to change.
- No more teaching to the test!! It's a hopeless creation of the system which needs to be removed, it's not helping anyone and it's not a helpful addition to anyone's lives, especially later on in their careers. In what job is test taking and learning how to answer a 10 mark question on the history test a skill?
Just some POINTS OF CLARIFICATION
- This alternative system that I'm talking about will not only prepare you and your children for university and/or college, but it will prepare you for university and/or college better than the old system ever has. Learning with a focus of understanding the material rather than doing a test will mean much less holes in understanding as students move from one grade to the other. Sal Khan talks about it in his TED talk entitled 'Let's teach for mastery -- not test scores' (https://www.ted.com/talks/sal_khan_let_s_teach_for_mastery_not_test_scores). Learning shouldn't have to be horrible, it should be fun and the current system completely turns students off to that.
Students in Finland have a much shorter school day, have almost no homework until their teenage years and have only one mandatory standardised test at the age of 16 - yet they have topped the international testing in math, science, and reading literacy for years in a row.
What do I want? Your support!
Spread the word, a tweet, a share, tell a friend, show your students the TED talks, tell your parents and your your children about it, comment it on the comments section on a YouTube video, tell the milkman, congress, news outlets, journalists, blog followers - SPREAD THE WORD !!!
It's obvious what the obvious thing is to do, obviously.
Educational reform is the way.
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