Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making Education "right"

As I research education I find things out and have to double-guess and reflect on everything I learned and have done/do to think, is it what is best? Some books and articles chastise differentiated learning which I thought was peachy-keen until I realized its intent (social efficiency). I liked child centered learning and still admittedly do, but do not think it should be 100% child centered where they play with barbies for 4 years and get credit, but can't count to ten.

So what is the perfect education in my mind? (And surely it will change as I discover more things...)

1. An "elitist", "private school" level of education- similar "rigor" and advancement. Students will rise to expectations as long as this kind of school has support to get them there.

2. No stereotyping or labeling or what have you. I mean yes teachers should know who is special ed, ELL, but that's it...meaning don't project things on them like "you're special ed so you're on the vocational pathway and you're GATE so let's push college on you". No. Let them in high school pick their path, but give them all the tools and knowledge available to the "elites". They can choose to use it or lose it.

3. Remove special interest groups, think tanks, etc. Let parents, teachers, students dictate what's what in their own school.

4. Free enrollment. Duh, school is free I know that. I mean, you can enroll in whatever school you want, not bound by your address.

5. Real learning. Get the rote skills polished, perfected, and out of the way by grade 3 or 4. (Teach the basics to the wee little ones in fun ways, but cut the crap that takes away from learning at such a pertinent time.) Like the "open schools" or "The Met" in RI, really put learning in the student's hands. Let them go off in some educational direction that is their fancy and encourage, support, guide,and help them when needed. I would have loved to take a history course on despotism, genocide, and astro-archeology. Learn obscure languages. Travel and write about it, making my own "National Geographic". Mentor children in need. Etc etc. But I was stuck in boring classes doing the same thing as everyone else. My husband attended private school and did a photo journalism piece on free speech and coup d'etat in South America for example....much more "real" than a "powerpoint summarizing chapter 5". Get kids out in the "world" as well through job shadowing and the like.

My brain is now spinning with too many ideas and I'm losing my train of thought so there are more than 5 things I'd do t make education "right". But that's all for now.

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