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We need to reform our education system

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posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 07:36 AM
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If our world is flawed we need to look at where it all began: In the way we were educated as children.

I write this on the basis of working in adult-eductation myself and as a reminder to all teachers, students and educators reading ATS.

While we might disagree on the details of this reform I think most of us agree that its high time for some type of change.

The past has shown that it wont due to "fight the system" but that we also need to offer alternative suggestions and ideas that can be picked up by those in charge. In addition to what other minds have already offered these are some things that have become obvious to me:

1. More budget/priority needs to be allocated to schools and away from things such as weapons. Our wars are being fought with the most sophisicated supersystems while our schools look rundown and our teachers are underpayed.

2. The focus must be slightly shifted from indoctrination to self-determined and creative thinking.

Indoctrination means to stuff someone with data and worldviews. This is telling you what to think rather than asking you What do you think?.

We need to shift focus from mere data to actual ability and skill.

3. The subjects need to be slightly shifted from the unimportant to the important-for-life subjects.

The subjects of

Communication

Finances & Money

Body & Health

Relationships, Love, Sexuality

and handling Media, Internet etc.


would be the most important subjects we are confronted with in life. INSTEAD we are taught too much abstract data we will never use...such as just where the hell some war was fought in the 16th Century and just who the hell lost his head.

While there is nothing wrong with all these subjects, the priorities are oddly misguided.


4. Our methods of teaching need to be re-thought and new learning methods tried out.

An old far eastern proverb goes:

Tell me something and I´ll forget it. Show me something and I might remember it. Involve me in doing something and I will learn"

This proverb sums up just about everything that is wrong with our methods of teaching. Students are asked to spend a large part of their school time passively consuming certain views of the world, rather than also seeing, hearing, touching, feeling, doing various things themselves. And its in this way they become passive couch-potatoes that dont have the ability to act in a self-responsible, self-determined and self-thinking way.

Unfortunately most data is only shoved in on a short-term-memory basis in order to pass tests (in order to avoid punishment) rather than out of a real interest in a subject.

The focus on "passing tests" and "avoiding punishment" yields significantly different learning results than focussing on having a good time learning new things.

There´s much, much, much more to say on the subject but I´ll leave it at that for now.

If anyone has any ideas of their own, please add. Teachers and Educators are also very welcome to contribute.

May Educators googling the subject pick up on some of our thoughts.




[edit on 23-4-2008 by Skyfloating]




posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 08:00 AM
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We need to get government out of our schools and competition in. There's no such thing as public school unless it's a private school and that needs to change. We can do a much better job if government was out of the way. Competition needs to be installed and the teachers should know if they can't do a good enough job then we'll take our children to someone who can.

Yes we do need more money allocated for more schools to be built so the class rooms are not overfilled with children. We need to focus on teaching our children better economics and business courses. We still need the basics of math, spelling, reading etc., but we need to prepare our children for success not failure. So reform would be nice but we need to be careful about what we reform. Teachers should be paid on their performance not from some union pay raise crap. Don't get me wrong, I know that our children are or should be the most important investment out there and we need good teachers that make good money. It's just if the teacher can't do a good enough job to get a raise then they shouldn't get one. I like all your subjects you listed Sky and they would better prepare our children for the adult world. Nice thread and hope to see some good ideas from everyone who cares about the education system.



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 08:28 AM
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We do need to change the system whithout a shadow of a doubt, however this is such a complicated issue that is needs to be discussed at length and in depth.

Firstly




1. More budget/priority needs to be allocated to schools and away from things such as weapons. Our wars are being fought with the most sophisicated supersystems while our schools look rundown and our teachers are underpayed.


Without a doubt. I work in a department that is critically low on resources and is - to be frank - falling apart. We need an urgent injection of cash if we are to be able to do our jobs properly.




The focus must be slightly shifted from indoctrination to self-determined and creative thinking.


Again, I agree, this needs to come from the government though. I know so many teachers who would love to be teaching creative thinking skills, but unfortunately the National Curriculum and Frameworks set down by the government do not allow us to do this. Instead students are fed irrelevant and often dry data. This in a way dries up their minds and stops them thinking creatively. They really struggle with this when they get into high school because they are spoon fed things from such an early age and as such develop limited independent thought abilities.





Our methods of teaching need to be re-thought and new learning methods tried out.


Perhaps...

The proverb you quote IS how we try to teach - by identifying the learning style of each student in the class and attempting to differentiate our methods to ensure that every student can access the lesson and meet the objectives - be them kinasthetic, aural or visual learners. We do try to hit all three.

This leads me nicely onto my next point that what is hindering progress in schools is the very fact that in a lot of schools it is the students whoa re in control. I do mean in a positive way, either, such as 'taking ownership of their learning environment. What I mean is that mob rule is in place. The kids can get away with most things because there are simply not enough effective sanctions in place (because of the government and LA's)- couple this with parents who are disaffected with education themselves and somewhat uncooperative and you are fighting a losing battle.

If I may now address one or two points made by Solarskye...




We need to get government out of our schools and competition in.


Really not sure about that one, bro... By competition do you mean provate companies? I just look at the commercialism rampant in US schools and it terrifies me. I also look at Vardy Schools here in the UK and I would never want to work in one. It is plain wrong.

A bit of background on vardy schools

I think you are correct about the government needing to step back but a school is not a business.

It's also worth noting that there are so many fantastic teachers out there who are not allowed to do their jobs properly by weak management, aggressive parents and students and an unrealistic LEA.

We teachers are already performance managed and I honestly feel that to make us jump through the hoops of industry standard performance related pay would put even more pressure on a group of people who are already amongst the most stressed out in the workplace.

more background

Fair enough, some of us - not me - are on strike tomorrow over pay and that will rub a lot of people up the wrong way. However, when teacher's are paid the money they deserve, we might, as a profession attract and retain the brightest and best, rather than graduates who saw the lure of a PGCE bursary without any real desire to teach, and will leave after a couple of years, putting those of us who are committed to the job under even more pressure.

I heard someone on the news this morning saying how wrong it was that we should go on strike when we get such long holidays.

To anyone who agrees woth this sentiment I ask you to spend a week in a school and not leave on the brink of mental breakdown.

Still, I love the job, I just hope we can get it sorted during my professional lifetime.

MSP



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 08:28 AM
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Reply to Solarsky:


Thanks for adding the competition factor. If we have schools competing to some extent (nobody is asking for a radical superquick shift) then maybe they´ll get their act together and offer something better than the usual uninspired rat-race we call "school"



[edit on 23-4-2008 by Skyfloating]



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by more_serotonin_pls

Again, I agree, this needs to come from the government though. I know so many teachers who would love to be teaching creative thinking skills, but unfortunately the National Curriculum and Frameworks set down by the government do not allow us to do this. Instead students are fed irrelevant and often dry data. This in a way dries up their minds and stops them thinking creatively. They really struggle with this when they get into high school because they are spoon fed things from such an early age and as such develop limited independent thought abilities.


Its good to have a teacher respond. To me it would seem like the government hasnt changed the National Curriculum since more than a hundred years. I wonder "What the hell are they thinking?"

Question: What is the next lower level (between school principal and government) that could be addressed on these issues?





This leads me nicely onto my next point that what is hindering progress in schools is the very fact that in a lot of schools it is the students whoa re in control. I do mean in a positive way, either, such as 'taking ownership of their learning environment. What I mean is that mob rule is in place. The kids can get away with most things because there are simply not enough effective sanctions in place (because of the government and LA's)- couple this with parents who are disaffected with education themselves and somewhat uncooperative and you are fighting a losing battle.



I recall getting undisciplined, rowdy and rebellious in school.

When? After I lost interest in the teaching styles and subjects.

I suspect those who fail in school are not only the ones too stupid but also the ones too smart.

Making school more interesting and free in subject while at the same time more disciplined and strict in conduct will cater to both "old school and new school" thinkers and might solve these issues, wouldnt it?



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 09:04 AM
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I agree that we need to change our education system, but in which direction we might disagree. I am an educator and have worked with adults (incarcerated and civilian) and am now currently working with children (A.I.G./Gifted). My observations are based on living/working in the US. The opportunities we offer our children are wonderful, but they are not always the best option. Some students do not need trig, but all students need arithmetic. Other nations "track" students so I feel the US should as well. We are too afraid of our history of segregation to ever admit that one child would rather be a mechanic or a carpenter and offer the vocational classes they would appreciate, than be forced to take chem. or bio. and try to make the student something they are not. I am lucky enough to teach in a multicultural school and can see quite clearly that all students of all backgrounds can certainly succeed. I am also intelligent enough to know that not every student has the ability or drive to become more "academic". We need to address the problem of losing students attention because the course of study offered is not in line with their life aspirations.



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 09:18 AM
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*I support Freedom and Parental Choice in the Educational System- The constitution does not allow for federal government interference in the education of our children.
As a matter of fact, the word "education" never appears once in the Constitution. We need to get federal government out of the education business.
We need to give parents and students the freedom to pursue the education of their choice- just as my wife and I do by choosing to home-school our 4 children.
I support giving parents control of the education of their own children, instead of government bureaucrats.

I support utilization of school choice, vouchers or tax credits on the state and local level to increase education competition; encourage private, parochial and home-schooling; reward superior performance for educators; create magnet schools which give principals autonomy over budgets, hiring and firing; and streamline bureaucracy - giving our education dollars to teachers and kids, NOT bureaucrats and administrators.
-- Wayne Allyn Root


What do ya' think, Solarskye, sound about right? And the rest of you parents...?

I find it hard to argue with this guy



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 10:09 AM
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reply to post by Dookie Master
 


Well, I certainly agree. Diversification to cater to the uniqueness of children rather than a blanket sweep.

In other countries than the U.S. there´s even less choice of path involved.

The U.S. school at least lets you choose some additional subjects. As far as I know, in Europe there is no choice whatsoever. Much less in third and second-world countries.



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 10:10 AM
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reply to post by RabbitChaser
 


I agree...but we cant go too extreme and too fast on this. A few basic guidelines (such as reading and speaking englilsh) have to be fulfilled by the parents. So if not governmental schooling we´ll at least need some mandatory ability-tests.



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 10:24 AM
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i totally agree with the idea of a reformed school system,

im in grade 12 now and i see how much bs is put into the school,

i am totally dissatisfied, i feel like they are teaching me to become a good quiet little worker

they teach nothing about life, the assignments are boring and i learn nothing from them, the things i am doing in some classes right now is kindergarten stuff, for english we actually had to sing a Shakespeare songs adaptation (which i refused to do)

what i am saying is that i could learn 1000 times as much as i was learning in school by simply traveling the world

its like those students who use and apply the information they are given are rewarded, while those who question and oppose it (like me) are ridiculed

well for now i just play along and follow their rules, but i can't wait till im out





[edit on 23-4-2008 by tankthinker]



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 10:34 AM
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My personal point of view,


We do, need to change the educational system. Now the system is not
base on family's values and not open for parents participation. It resulted,
our children aren't educated like families would wanted them to be. That
is i think, part of the problems, that we have, with our children.
They are just unfortunately lost in a complicated world and without compass


I wish a loving and peaceful world



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 10:55 AM
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I am an educator of K-12 primarily dealing with the US equivalent of elementary teaching, however, like stated, i educate all ages.

The problem does not lie within the teachers or even the way they teach. The problem lies within the government. We have incredibly strict rules on what we have to teach and the time associated to that subject. We don't do it, we get sued for not supplying adequate education.

As a teacher we have to work within the boundaries already set. I try to relate everything i teach in a classroom to its 'real world' use, however, this is just a teaching strategy that engages students greatly. They learn better if they understand why what they learn is important.

I guess though, not everything we teach can be used anywhere outside of the classroom. Therein lies the problem. But this problem does not have an easy fix as you run the risk of discrimination... for example:


Originally posted by Skyfloating
would be the most important subjects we are confronted with in life. INSTEAD we are taught too much abstract data we will never use...such as just where the hell some war was fought in the 16th Century and just who the hell lost his head.


The only way this information is useless within a classroom is if as a society we agree that there is NO need for historians, archaeologists, politicians, genealogists etc.

You see, what appears to be useless information is not useless for everyone, there are people who want to be historians and they need to be engaged in a classroom just like every other student has the right to be.

Every child learns different, every child has their favourite subjects. Ensure a child gets a taste of their own subject once in a while keeps them tolerant of learning and more willing to partake in staple subjects like Mathematics and English.

You may call this indoctrination, however, you let elementary students pick what subjects they can learn i guarantee that... *BANG* there is suddenly a generation of students who cannot read, write or do simple arithmetic.


Originally posted by more_serotonin_pls
by identifying the learning style of each student in the class and attempting to differentiate our methods to ensure that every student can access the lesson and meet the objectives - be them kinasthetic, aural or visual learners. We do try to hit all three.


Just three?


  1. Interpersonal
  2. Bodily-Kinesthetic
  3. Interpersonal
  4. Verbal-Linguistic
  5. Logical-Mathematical
  6. Naturalistic
  7. Intrapersonal
  8. Spatial
  9. Musical
  10. Spiritual/Existential/Moral Intelligence



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 11:05 AM
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Skyfloating - I shall have a ponder upon your question while I cook my tea. LOL

In terms of your own experience regarding becoming unruly - I agree that when a student isn't being challenged or interested they will play up. However, some will just play up regardless of what is being done.

SilentShadow - thanks for the list of doom - LOL - it reminds me of soooo many memos I've read recently, but I was just trying to relate it to ye olde proverb...

This is turning into a rather interesting discussion. I'll be back to later after my brain numbing curry.



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 11:22 AM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Choice is the most important factor because it is obvious if the child does not choose the course of study they will be dis-interested. In the US there are two choices (for secondary schools) college transfer and vocational school. Problems arise from this model when school systems lose funding they automatically drop the vocational course work:
1) because the materials (wood, motor oil, car bondo, feed) cost more than paper, pencil and text book.
2) it looks better to the outside world if all students are engaged in academic pursuits rather than what some people see as training workers.
3)Insurance for these courses is ridiculous

Our state motto is "Esse Quam Videri", "to be rather than to seem" we joke all the time the public schools motto is "Esse Videri Quam", "to seem rather than to be"

We have a ton of oversite comittees, some are needed, most are a waste of time and human resources.

All of these things lead to me working for one of the largest, if not the largest bureaucracy, in the US. Bureaucracy and education do not mix!



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 11:41 AM
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Originally posted by tankthinker

i am totally dissatisfied, i feel like they are teaching me to become a good quiet little worker

they teach nothing about life, the assignments are boring and i learn nothing from them

what i am saying is that i could learn 1000 times as much as i was learning in school by simply traveling the world



I know. I felt the same way when I was your age. I was so bored it made by stomach hurt. Almost everything I learned I learned from travelling and reading books.

If you are a bad student because of boredom you will someday be making more money than all these yea-sayer good students...thats at least my experience.



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 11:57 AM
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Originally posted by SilentShadow
They learn better if they understand why what they learn is important.


Absolutely.




The only way this information is useless within a classroom is if as a society we agree that there is NO need for historians, archaeologists, politicians, genealogists etc.

You see, what appears to be useless information is not useless for everyone, there are people who want to be historians and they need to be engaged in a classroom just like every other student has the right to be.


Sure they´re important. But most of the subjects you mentioned can be expanded on in college.

When someone leaves school he has not learned how to handle his private economics, how to generate income for himself, how to relate to members of the preferred sex, how to communicate effectively, how to take on a various numbers of viewpoints, how to be skeptical/filtering towards the media and internet, how to treat his mind, body and wellness, how to process and learn and remember new information...

...all things that actually make up the daily life of a person. No doubt history is ALSO important, but dont you think priorities are somewhat mixed up





Every child learns different, every child has their favourite subjects. Ensure a child gets a taste of their own subject once in a while keeps them tolerant of learning and more willing to partake in staple subjects like Mathematics and English..


Brilliant approach.



You may call this indoctrination, however, you let elementary students pick what subjects they can learn i guarantee that... *BANG* there is suddenly a generation of students who cannot read, write or do simple arithmetic.


Rest assured the "reform" neednt include radical upheaval, just a few minor shifts...without even touching the basics.



Just three?


  1. Interpersonal
  2. Bodily-Kinesthetic
  3. Interpersonal
  4. Verbal-Linguistic
  5. Logical-Mathematical
  6. Naturalistic
  7. Intrapersonal
  8. Spatial
  9. Musical
  10. Spiritual/Existential/Moral Intelligence


Great list



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 12:29 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
Sure they´re important. But most of the subjects you mentioned can be expanded on in college.


But they have to had tasted the subject prior to college. If you did not teach history in any form throughout schooling, how would someone even know they had a passion for it?


Originally posted by SkyfloatingWhen someone leaves school he has not learned how to handle his private economics, how to generate income for himself, how to relate to members of the preferred sex, how to communicate effectively, how to take on a various numbers of viewpoints, how to be skeptical/filtering towards the media and internet, how to treat his mind, body and wellness, how to process and learn and remember new information...


But this just makes the life of a teacher harder, we already have to be educators, psychologists, mentors, law enforcers, spies, nurses, spiritual advisors, parental mediators and more.

Why do we now have to take on the roles that have traditionally been parental responsibilities?



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by SilentShadow
Why do we now have to take on the roles that have traditionally been parental responsibilities?


In my perfect world teachers are paid more than warlords. The 1 billion dollars invested in a bomb would be invested in a school.

But I wasnt necessarily talking about teachers here, Im talking about the actual books and material used for learning.

Be re-writing it to be more interesting, more fun, more RELEVANT (in a prioritized sense)...

...you personally wouldn't have to be working more, but less.



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 12:48 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating

3. The subjects need to be slightly shifted from the unimportant to the important-for-life subjects.

The subjects of

Communication

Finances & Money

Body & Health

Relationships, Love, Sexuality

and handling Media, Internet etc.




I completely agree! These subjects would be a great addition to the ciriculum. When I was in grade 12, we had to take this class called "Career and Life Management" (CALM). It lasted one semester, our very last semester in High school, and it covered: Healthy Eating, Sexuality (VERY briefly as it was a Catholic School), Cheques and Balances, Relationships, STD's, Living on a Budget etc...

I often wonder, why this was the only class like this? History and Math are great subjects, don't get me wrong. Its great to learn about world History and how things work mathematically...But REAL LIFE problems, would be a great addition to the education system...



posted on Apr, 23 2008 @ 01:07 PM
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Originally posted by more_serotonin_pls
Really not sure about that one, bro... By competition do you mean provate companies?


No not private companies. Our tax dollars still pay the teachers and other incomes like Lottery etc.. Schools and teachers should see dollar signs on the shirt of your child when you arrive at the school and the teacher that teaches your child should know that your child can easily go to another school if he or she doesn't teach them correctly and with passion in their hearts. Just saying that a parent should be able to choose the school and if that school isn't doing their job then the parent should have the right to change schools to suit their child's needs.







 
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