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Why the school system has failed us so spectacularly.

Posted by Ann Baret on 26 May 2017 1:15 PM CAT
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In a previous article, I was looking at how our school system is not performing and that it is in desperate need of an overhaul - or a total rethink if you agree with certain experts. We touched on the concept of teachers evolving from being Teaching Teachers (the holders of all information) to Leading Learners (knowing where the right information is located).

Schools have embraced parts of technology, but by and large, it is still the “chalk and talk” model. It is the way it has been done for almost 300 years. But it is common sense that today there is more information available than there was 300 years ago. Society’s needs have also changed dramatically and this has sprouted new businesses with new ideas that employ people or hire people who are self-employed. Most of these jobs and opportunities did not exist 5 years ago and 5 years from now it will most likely be the same again i.e. the jobs and opportunities

Most of these jobs and opportunities did not exist 5 years ago and 5 years from now, it will most likely be the same again. That is because the jobs and opportunities THEN are not a well-verbalised need at this moment. Virtual reality is a great example of this. So, if we agree with this premise, then we have to admit that no curriculum is able to keep up with such a rapidly shifting environment. How would it be standardized and assessed? How could a curriculum and exams be set up, reviewed by peers, teacher colleges trained etc?

It's an impossible situation because the information moves and changes too fast. Throw into this equation a classroom of 30 – 40 students needing to learn subjects that don’t benefit society’s needs - trigonometry comes to mind - in order to get a certificate that is a requirement for further study, and you start to see the reason why the system is not broken, but obsolete.

I’m not saying there should be no curriculum. I am saying that there are vast amounts of resources available that are better suited to teaching our kids how to thrive in their environment. The old thinking that we have to teach 30 – 40 kids the same thing because that is the way we have done it up to now, is not helping us evolve as a clear-thinking species.

Changes will need to be made in how we measure our kids.

Schools that pride themselves on their academic performance need to assess if those same students are thriving years later providing invaluable services to their community while being productive members of society. Schools that are struggling to perform need to ask themselves if that is the best they can do with the abundance of resources available and also if their alumni are people they can be proud of years later?

Changes will need to be made in how we measure our kids. Schools that pride themselves on their academic performance need to assess if those same students are thriving years later, providing invaluable services to their community while being productive members of society. Schools that are struggling to perform need to ask themselves if that is the best they can do with the abundance of resources available and also if their alumni are people they can be proud of years later.

What are the most powerful life lessons and skillsets that you use on a daily basis?

It’s not trigonometry, right? It will probably be something like knowing who you are as a person. Where your strengths and weaknesses are. How to relate to others and communicate effectively AND with a certain style which is your own. Knowing how to take risks and bounce back when they fail. How to assess the market’s needs and figure out how to provide a service or product to fill this need. Your sense of moral compass and being someone you and others can be proud of.

So if all of this is what you use most and that provides the most value to society, why is it not explicitly taught and measured in schools today?Let that be job of the Leading Learner and once that is accomplished they can learn trigonometry…

Let that be the job of the Leading Learner. Once that is accomplished, they can learn trigonometry.

Ann x

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