Should we gut the educational system?

 Em (@emily)10 years, 5 months ago

I’ve thought about this for years… when we finally graduate high school–after sooo many years of learning all this ‘vital’ information… how ready for the world did you feel?? Once I was thrown into the adult world-I was unprepared to say the least. Most of what I learned in school was utterly useless, a waste of time, and is completely forgotten. I think literacy is a good thing-but there might be a little too much emphasis on it. Science & math are good…history is insanely biased the way it’s taught…
Why not teach basic survival skills? If there was ever a collapse of society, or you were stranded, or there was a big earthquake…it’d be a good thing to know as a species. Learning how to garden & feed yourself…how to do your taxes…how to change your oil…how to buy a house…how to BUILD a house? Also, public schools are "free"-but colleges aren’t. Nowadays you supposedly can’t get anywhere w/o a college education.
I don’t think many question it just bc it’s been around forever… but I wonder if schools just have kids chasing their tails until they’re old enough to work for "the system." Any thoughts?

April 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm
Stephen (90)C (@stepvhen) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

Not ready at all. In fact, I’m 23 in post grad school and the only reason I feel any preparedness for whatever lies ahead is down to my own actions.

oh and this alan watts video on the subject is great:

I really dont know what it could all be replaced with though.

Some kind of self guided learning I suppose. You don’t really learn the more important things in most school systems, as a matter of priority like why you should learn? or how to learn? or general life stuff

Matt (6) (@mrgeetah) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

I agree. I love learning, but the educational system bogs it down with so much bullshit that it ruins the experience.

Em (473) (@emily) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

Thanks for feedback guys, stephen that video portrays what I’m saying pretty well-thank you, awesome!
Does anyone have any ideas about what might make the educational system more…useful, productive, worthwhile?? What we could change or add?

daveb (119) (@daveb) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

my son thrived in the montessori program but now that he’s 8 he’s too old for any of them around here. we are in a great public school system, but he still has trouble understanding why he’s not allowed to explore ideas on his own when he gets excited about something. he also has no tolerance for homework if he already understands the concept, or for some of busywork that they’re required to do in classrooms. his teacher has “caught” him with science books stuck inside of the fiction they are supposed to be reading!!

I graduated with a music ed degree but when I learned how much time good teachers have to spend fighting administration I went in another direction. Since then i’ve found that there are some small charter schools that are doing very interesting things with curriculum. I am encouraged to see a lot of smart people coming up with new ways to help kids learn to love learning, instead of training them to memorize.

I was one of the Smart kids pushed into AP classes but I would have been much better served by small engine repair and framing/construction instead of AP Calc, so I am definitely in favor of reform. It will be slow, but it is happening.

Jordan Lejuwaan (23,445)A (@jordan) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

1) Teaching actual life skills instead of rote memorization (I don’t remember anything from Biology…) They say all of that is to teach students how to think. Sooo…why not just teach them how to think instead of going about it in a roundabout way?

2) Learning is not forced, tests are optional, etc. People don’t want to do what they are forced to do. Ever notice that reading a book for homework sucks compared to reading it because you want to? Gotta use some reverse psychology on kids.

3) Asking students what they want to learn and centering some classes around content on the internet about those subject. Everyone is unique so that idea of having a limited number of subjects is unacceptable. Eg. each student picks a topic and they all do projects related to their specific interests.

4) More focus on learning about the environment. For instance in New Zealand they have a weekly class where all they do is learn about recycling, composting, have your own garden, etc. It’s hard to believe there are governments out there that actually care about the Earth.

Moses (5) (@moses) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

We should love to learn! That cant happen with how things are now. All the time in school i thought when the hell am i going to use this? (which much hasnt been used, so far) and that made me hate school even more. As if sitting in a boring classroom most of the day wasnt bad enough. Creativity should be enouraged not shut down. This system doesnt prepare anyone for the “real world” at all, just fries the brain with useless information.

Rain (23) (@rain) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

I agree with almost everything said here. I’ve been working on a pet project for a few years, and it’s a center for youth that among a few other things, would be teaching specific life skills of “how to make it in this wide world” as an adult. At 28, I see so many young adults and teens that are simply clueless on what to do with the freedom after they turn 18. They make so many unhealthy for their future choices, and yet think they are sooooo smart because they have BOOK knowledge. Books can never replace hands on life learning, but you CAN be taught by those who know what living this life takes.

Bushido (31) (@rotsen) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

Em (473) (@emily) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

they really should’ve carried “the golden rule” out past K and through the rest of grade school & beyond bc a lot of people didn’t pick up on it :)

NestoR I can’t wait to watch that video… I can’t justify doing it right now though bc I’m supposed to be studying :)

Bushido (31) (@rotsen) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

Hehe I know how that is.. Im at work right now and want to watch some videos due to the fact that it is slow but no spearkers plus ill probably get in trouble so ill just stick to reading my book. I saw you like reading Don Miguel Ruiz books. I love his books they are so amazing!

casey ames (0) (@casey) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

I agree that our system here is not running at its potential. With all the resources we have as a nation you would expect the school systems to be flourishing. I came across this other video by Sir Ken Robinson (He’s a genius). Its really interesting and the animation to go along with it is as impressive as the message.

Kayne Wong (4) (@kayne) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

Great. Just great. Now you have me started.

The American/Canadian/Mexican education system is a farce at best. It holds no value at all for anyone involved in it in any realistic way and at it’s best it is an immoral choice to not simply home school your children if you have the option.

To begin with it is not any kind of institute for education or learning, modern schools in our countries are places for re-education and production. They are not a social service, they are a production facility which feeds off of myth. It can be assumed that some basic concepts of learning as we picture learning should be are instilled by parents pre-education. They know how to hopefully eat on their own without aid, to a degree dress themselves, and have some basic use of language which allows them to, at the very least, understand when spoken to in their native tongue.

Immediately the reinforcement of negative information and absorb/regurgitation begins. Children are entered into a grading scheme which because of either alphabetical or numerical percentage fits them into a competitive hierarchy. When in reality at lower grades this should be kept from them to limit the growth of unhealthy accomplishment. A grade of pass or incomplete is best in the case, as it reinforces the concept of concern rather then a desire to place. If you were running a marathon and someone stumbles you help them. if someone stumbles in a race by design you continue. If in early grades children and given pass/incomplete grades then they can be fostered to help one another as they grow older.

Secondly they are placed into an environment which is designed to economically aid the school or sell to parents rather then look out for the health of children. Let’s say a school offers flavored milk at the same price as normal milk (not that children should be honestly drinking milk in the first place). A single serving of strawberry milk has approximately two normal sized cubes of sugar. Between the first and fourth grade they will have taken in from their milk along several times their body size in sugar. Artificial sugar at that. On average a student in North America gets less then half of their fruits and vegetables except from juice, which has high acid contents and due to the smaller digestive system unless they have it in incredibly small amounts will basically rip up most of the vitamins and fiber in their food before it ever gets to their stomach. Meats that are not loaded with salt are unheard of for sandwiches, and even reduced sodium ones have too much fat. cheese would be good if we gave them real cheese, but even then it needs to be in small amounts. The diet of a young child needs to be carefully monitored because of what we do to the food usually reserved for packed lunches, and cafeterias are not looking out for the children on average because they need to make things as cheap as possible. So these kids are going to start eating hot dogs, cheap pizza and French fries. Sometimes several times a day. As they get older their metabolisms may weaken, making this worse and worse for them as time goes on.

Then we move into the nature of what it is they learn. Basic maths, science and language are the general staples, but due to them being judged as equally important from the get go there is a growing issue now that we know that different people learn from different environments and at different age ranges. We have it set in our heads that they must learn either individually OR in groups, never a mixture based on need. They MUST stay with children of the same age, and that they must reach a minimum acceptable numerical value in order to progress. Or else they must repeat the entire years process. Not everyone is a genius, and not everyone is a dunce. But if you tell all the children that their intelligence is always going to be gauge by the same yard stick then you are going to reinforce in them the idea that they can be superior to others based on perceived intelligence. Or worse, in the case of physical courses that they are better physically. In this manner children need to understand that their education is complex and not as simple as we make everything seem otherwise when someone falls behind in any area it is seen as weakness. And not always by the children, but by the parents or the instructors as well. With this in mind, many children who might do better under more or less duress or in different areas will falter behind. A child with an insight for chemistry should not be judged on his inarticulate ability with elementary poetry and a child who excels at baseball should not feel like this makes up for his inability to perform academically. This will send a message to both parents, students and the system that somehow physical superiority should make up for an inability to learn, because once that is in place they may attempt to coast along on it which will more then likely end in failure.

And this is just from the range of kindergarten to grades 6-8. Beyond this we face a whole new set of challenges. Sexual safety, awareness and integration needs to begin quickly or else the gender identification and divide will take hold too quickly. Children need to be taught early on that their bodies may be different but it does not change the equality they have enjoyed until their bodies begin to develop. They need to be taught that the gender binary is a thing they should not have to be expected to follow, and that they can feel free to pursue any legal and worthwhile hobby available to them in order to encourage self growth. Girls should have full access to sports they can physically make the cut for, and boys should be welcomed into home economics where such courses are available. Where they are not, they should be reimplemented. This ties back both into food, but leads to the basic concepts every person should really know. Sewing is such a basic skill; that while not everyone need know how to make a sweater or knit, everyone should without fear be able to fix a button or correctly pop a stitch. Sex education should be made freely available and safe spaces set in place (especially in high schools) not to protect the students from on another, but to give them a place where they can speak to teachers frankly about issues they may be having. This both helps LGBT youth cope with what is possibly the most stressful period of their lives, but allows heterosexual children the openness they may need to learn important concepts about consent, safe sex and sexuality. Hopefully right alongside their LGBT counterparts so that way prejudice, hate and fear can be stomped out before they have a chance to begin.

Finally (well not really, I have so much more to say, finally for THIS rant) there needs to be a deep look at what courses at the upper levels of public school we offer and how they are presented. Specialization should be something children begin looking at very early on (possibly as soon as they enter high school). Not because they need to make such a decision at an early age, but because preparation for such a decision should be on their minds if they are serious about academics. There should be no negative stigmata towards them if they are not. University is not for everyone, and the children should know that a university degree is not job training. If anything more complex physical skills and theory should be offered alongside the arts and sciences, with an equal amount of attention paid to them. Children should have the option or the obligation to have a few courses in a trade to go alongside their fine arts and sciences. Additional languages should be introduced early on, and continued all the way through from primary to secondary to tertiary. European and Asian schools enforce at LEAST a level of bilingualism, which is shown to increase and stimulate a persons ability to adapt to new ideas and concepts. Even if they have no consistent need for a second language it will teach them difficult skills which will aid them later in life.

I could write on this for hours, I think I need to stop.

Alex Eastman (71) (@alex) 10 years, 5 months ago ago

A relative told me this:
“First day of his Astrology/Physics class, The professor told us, “Don’t tell me that you will never use this, because you are probably right. I am not teaching you this, I’m teaching that one kid in this room that might actually become an astronomer.”
Pretty crazy stuff.

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