Something is speaking to me and when something speaks to me, I have to speak to you.
This week, I have happened upon, accidentally, at least three “conversations” on today’s educational structure/systems. The theme has overwhelmingly been one of a need for change and rethinking how we educate our youth and the expectation we have of them.
On KQED, I came across Gabriel Gangoso’s perspective (It’s a Big Deal) on the pressures put on today’s youth to meet the grade in preparation for their future and the sacrifices that must be made in order for them to do so.
Then, on Facebook, I came across a youtube posting by one student of another student who was “telling off the teacher” for not enthusing the students; inspiring them to want to learn. I am not certain whether I would say he is wrong; I don’t know the full story. But, his request does not seem unreasonable, “. . . You have to make them [students] excited . . . You got to take this job serious.” So, I commend his constructive disobedience. Maybe . . . maybe . . . his approach was not appropriate and can be seen as a certain amount of disrespect but, I just can’t see a student getting to this level of frustration without push and the teacher’s seemingly nonchalant attitude would piss me off too. I hope he had an adult to come to champion his cause.
Then, again on Facebook, I came across a youtube video, by spoken word artist Suli Breezy (new to me), supporting a disdain for school but, clearly not for education as a whole. This is such a truly powerful message.
This is screaming to me and when something is screaming to me, I have to speak to you.
There is value in education and being educated but is the method of reaching that end the same as that of our parents’ or our parents’ parents’ day? It is a different age/time with new influences, technologies, avenues to obtaining and even sharing information. It used to be a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia at the “homework” table and/or a trip to the library. Now, the library can come to you at the click of a button or the touch of a screen and messages/information take only seconds to reach millions.
Where are the teachers, like my grandmother, that stayed to help and truly invested in the overall child? And where is the support of those teachers such that the anomaly once again becomes the norm; teachers with a vested interest and passion for what is taught. Where are the parents that get involved, not to blame the teachers or the system or the administration or the other kid because it is not their fault and not their perfect child’s fault or responsibility for self, but to work WITH the teachers in the best interest of the child and WITH the administration in support of the teachers and school community, which further supports the interest of the child? Is being a straight A student really the ultimate goal?
Sadly, we have come to a point where the test results carry so much weight that the scale is unfavorably tilted towards those that conform to a general standard. Only this standard leaves too many out in the cold.
There is not ONE box into which we all fit. And I am moving toward or actually have almost completely come to a point where the goal does not have to be and is not so narrowly focused. College is an important choice but, it is one of many. It is valued and encouraged but not as the end-all/all-you-need/just-for-the-sake-of-a-degree goal.
I want, for mine, a well-rounded education that plants and waters the seeds of curiosity allowing the growth of various branches of intellect (social and emotional included) with only occasional slight pruning in order that the foundation laid is that which was driven by the individual and not by the need for a specific result on a specific test.
We are given a responsibility to our children first and foremost. We do them a grand disservice by teaching them the importance of a grade over the significance of curiosity, experimentation, artistic expression, reading for understanding and not memorization for the test that is half the grade and tomorrow. Because tomorrow you might not actually need to know the pythagorean theory. It just might be more important to have the courage to formulate an idea that you are willing to put to test.
Watch the video. I happened upon it when I couldn’t get to sleep last night/this morning.
What do you think?
- I will not let an exam result decide my fate (laurenengland.wordpress.com)
- Cheating them out of an education… (theliberatededucator.com)