Thursday, October 20, 2011

Education - Revolution Needed

There are a few points to be made for better education.
I know, I know, you are thinking: what a beat up subject to right about, stop complaining and go with the flow.

Only going with the flow isn't my strongest suit. So here are my points:

1.      Technologize - no point lugging heavy books back and forth. No point spending money on printing those books, buying current additions, etc. Students should be assigned a laptop, schools have Wi-Fi connection, the rest is there. Homework and tests can be submitted through email, post on blog, forums, HW rooms, memory stick. Schools with smart boards can check homework at the board.

2.      The case for Skills vs. Content - we should teach more skills, less content. The skill or ability of finding information is far more important than the skill of memorizing data. With smart phones at almost every hand, I doubt people should memorize poems, bible chapters or dates anymore.

3.      Information is king, now check who's the queen writing it - Students must learn how to scrutinize the information at their fingertips. They should know the agenda of the publisher, or at list make an attempt to check it, before taking that view into account.

4.      Great idea, now sell it! - Presenting a concise idea in a marketable way is another important skill. It is never too early to start, too - just think of "I want that toy, it is at my friend's hand, how do I get it?" tactics children learn early on. Later they can make the case for pocket money, a gadget, a grade upgrade or a course they want to take with this spirally learned curriculum.

5.      Survival of the 'hood' or Sesame St. smart- Community building is a skill we acquire (or not) through life. Same comment goes for money managing and social and individual responsibility. It used to be taught at home, by your parents or Mr. Rogers. It used to be taught by a close knit community, THE NEIGHBOURHOOD. Some have it now, some don't, but as a society/nation/human beings grouped in space and time, we need it.

6.      Thinking skills - how do I approach a problem? Once I observed a lesson at my daughter's school. The teacher taught a thinking process by folding a paper into four squares, each square showing development. She asked the students to draw an ant. Then she showed them how to approach that task in 4 stages (if they grow up troubled they should get the additional eight): what we know, what we need, how we get there, completion.

7.      Know thou strengths - and focus on developing those strengths. No need to spend all this time making you better at something you'll never excel in.

I know there's much more to be said, and hope you have something to add.
I'm off to take a walk as part of my solve-the-fat-problem skills I acquired, looking to sharpen my 'presenting a concise idea in a marketable way' skills.

Sara Brown.

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