So tomorrow… I am traveling to Thailand and Vietnam! I’m pretty excited but that means I might not be posting as much. I have a LOT of drafts saved though, so I will do my best to find time (and internet connection) to blog.
Since I have to start packing soon, I will just do a brief post (you will soon learn that I love lists and bullet points).
Here are some of my thoughts on this article about reinventing rather than fixing the education system.
Yes, it’s from Forbes, which made me wary at first and it did feature some pretty appealing education rhetoric which, from experience, I know is hard to analyze because it makes you just want to agree with everything being said.
The author’s basic argument is that the education system is “not broken” but simply “obsolete” in that it no longer caters to the needs of the current generation. Thus, to solve the issue of education, we need to reinvent the system, and move away from the monotonous “assembly line” style of education that is currently implemented in our schools in order to move towards making education experiential, exciting, and as “addictive as a video game.” This means promoting creativity, critical reasoning, and collaborative learning.
Sounds pretty much everything I fight for right? Well… let’s see.
Here’s what I agree with, or at least find interesting:
- First of all, I have to say that I was really happy to see an article about education on Forbes.
- Very true that our current education system seems to be outdated… I think I’m going to devote some time to looking at the history of education in our country…just to see the path it has taken.
- Yes yes yes to everything about:
- fostering creativity and critical reasoning
- embracing students’ various learning styles
- promoting experiential education and interdisciplinary approaches to learning
- making education that works for, not against, its students (“If they can’t learn the way we teach, why don’t we teach the way they learn?” – Ignacio Estrada)
- moving away from standardization, which limits individuality and what I like to call out-of-the-scantron-bubble thinking
- implementing well-rounded and exciting curricula for students
Here’s what I’m not so sure about:
- “I want all entrepreneurs to take notice that this is a multi-hundred billion dollar opportunity that’s ripe for disruption.”
- NO NO NO
- Okay, I am a social entrepreneurship minor at USC, which is a minor in the School of Business. So I hear this all the time. And it literally makes me cringe.
- I am pursuing social entrepreneurship because I have realized that current movements of “education reform” do not fit the model of social activism that I wholeheartedly agree with. On my journeys as an aspiring educator and educational activist, I have come to realize that in order to make the best difference that I can in education, I have to pave my own path.
- My social entrepreneurship minor equips me with the tools and skill sets to put my educational theories and philosophies into practice.
- What I don’t appreciate, however, is corporate agendas and motives of profit, because no matter how much you want to make a difference in education, those two things get in the way of truly and genuinely working for and with students. They dilute the focus on students and educational equity, which are the real focus here.
- Education is not a business to be profited from. Period. If you want to make a real difference, work from the bottom up. Really get to know students, work with them, listen to them, and start with local change. Slowly, students everywhere will have equal access to the quality public education they deserve.
- Also, I feel like the article was moving in a direction of using technology as the core of education, rather than a tool.
- “It is time we flipped the model on its head and used technology to focus on our learners.”
- I believe that while technology is definitely very useful in the classroom, its influence on curriculum should be limited to only a tool.
- To have technology infiltrate every aspect of education in a classroom for the purposes of creating curricula that works for all types of students is… a little counter-productive in my opinion.
- Not all students learn with technology, and there are many more methods and styles of learning that don’t need technology (lively discussions/debates, collaborative projects, creative projects, field trips, hands-on learning)
- Also, technology can be very limiting for students, since it can tend to think for students and doesn’t really leave room for the student to create something him/herself. Well there goes that whole “fostering creativity” bit.
- All in all, technology should assist learning, not dominate it.
Those are just my thoughts on this article! If you agree/disagree/have an idea of your own, feel free to comment!
Hi everyone! I’ve been reading up on wonderful things I can’t wait to share with y’all (things like Cooperative Catalyst and IDEA and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and “The Common Core” [no link here because there are just too many articles on this topic…]).
Attention will be given to all of the above and more, but first, I wanted to share some thoughts about my post last night.
I’ve been letting myself experience Ken Robinson’s talk again (I like watching/reading/experiencing things over and over again, I get new perspectives every time), and I’ve discovered there is another… dimension, if you will, that is essential to humans’ flourishing, but that is currently stifled by the structure of our education system.
I don’t know about you, but I started asking questions the moment I could talk. I don’t even think my first words were, “Mama” or “Dada”. Legend has it, they were either “What’s that?” or “Where’s my food?”. Probably the latter.
Anyway, I think Questioning deserves it’s own dimension, even though it’s basically the child of Diversity and Curiosity. Questioning entails being curious about diversity. It’s seeking alternatives to the status quo, looking at different and all perspectives, recognizing that there might be more than one right answer, maybe an even better answer than the one that’s widely accepted. Healthy skepticism, critical thinking, and careful analysis are all hallmarks of the human tendency of questioning.
Although this is a very important and natural part of being human, it appears to be missing from most students in America. What’s happening here?
Well, I can’t speak for those students, but I remember the first time I didn’t want to ask a question. It happened about 5 minutes after someone called my previous question stupid. And maybe it was stupid, but I asked it and now I felt stupid.
Now that isn’t the end of the story. One mean kid couldn’t quash the flame of questioning in me. But society could. If I got a quarter for every time someone told me “That’s just the way it is, Hannah” or “Why question it?” I could probably rename a building at USC after myself.
As I got older, it got harder to question and to speak up about my own opinion, or even come up with an individual opinion. For a long period of my life… I stopped thinking. I seriously just thought what anyone told me to think. So basically, I had a bunch of opinions about things, none of which were my own, most of which conflicted with one another.
Thank goodness real education saved my life, or at least my mind. Since then, I’ve valued questions, original ideas, moving discussions, and critical thinking like no other. I try my best to always question what I read or watch or hear about. I always try to find the source, to employ my sociological imagination to really consider all moving parts and factors of any situation. I know that I’ve only been able to arrive at the philosophies I currently hold about education because of a long, arduous process of considering various perspectives, analyzing them, and synthesizing them with ideas of my own while still holding true to my values as a student and aspiring teacher.
I was only able to do this with support from my teachers and school. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to engage in discussions, to question ideas, to voice my opinions, to think outside the box. Many students today in America don’t get that because testing and standardization moves questioning to the bottom of the priority list. Instead of being taught how to think for themselves, students are taught what to think and how to repeat that information for a number. Their tendency to question and doubt and critically analyze begins to fade the minute they are subject to a standardized test. Standardized tests don’t just restrict students and teachers in the process of education; they send a very clear message:
“That’s just the way it is. Why question it?”
“Why?” you ask? Well, that’s a very good question.
When I got here, I was told various things like, “Americans don’t get irony.” … But I knew that Americans get irony when I came across the legislation, “No Child Left Behind.” Because whoever thought of that title gets irony, don’t they! Because it’s leaving millions of children behind. Now I can see that’s not a very attractive name for legislation: “Millions of Children Left Behind.”
Gonna end this first day of blogging with an amazing video of Ken Robinson, an author and international advisor on education. His TED talk is my FAVORITE out of the TED Talks Education series. Above is just an excerpt from the beginning of his hilarious but enlightening talk, but it’s definitely worth 20 minutes of your life. Trust me.
To sum it up, Ken names 3 things that are essential to the flourishing of human life, and then points out 3 things that the current education system does to stifle those natural human tendencies:
- Diversity vs. Conformity
- Curiosity vs. Testing
- Creativity vs. Standardization
Please check it out! His talk is very refreshing, full of humor, aha! moments, and quotable quotes that leave you smiling and nodding your head furiously in agreement.
One thing in particular appreciate about Ken’s talk is that he really touches upon essentially “human” things. He brings up anecdotes and scenarios that are truly relatable to anyone, whether you care about education or not, because they highlight things that are a part of the human condition. Anyone can agree that is natural for us to be different and diverse, that it’s natural for us to be curious and to have imaginations, that it’s natural for us to be creative with our paths in life. It’s basically common sense at this point: why doesn’t our education system nurture those naturally human aspects of ourselves?
Why does it instead discourage celebration of diversity, stifle a child’s flame of curiosity, restrict the mind’s natural tendency to be creative?
As my philosophy teacher once told me, “we must first learn to ask better questions before we can reach any good answers.”
More to come on these questions. But here’s some food for thought!