Our Educational System Needs to Change

I don’t normally peruse the comments on Amazon – I read reviews, but not usually the comments.  However, I ran across this one that has me thinking.

“And the above areas such as classification, quantification, spatial relations, discovery, verbal construction, symbolic representation, freedom, development, creation, logic, paradoxes, visualization, auditory discrimination, critical thinking, observation and analysis, concrete tactile learning, analogies, allegories, literal recording, patterns in our world, etc. could help weave it all together. This would help to ensure diverse points of views, offer multiple ways of approaching any given subject, and would provide a variety of possible paradigms.” (retrieved from here)

Add these from Chief Learning Officer article Closing the Skills Gap

“What we’ve got is a systemic issue,” said Cheryl Williams, executive director of the Learning First Alliance, an organization made up of 17 education associations. “The system we have actually did exactly what it was designed to do, which was to prepare a quarter to a third of students for higher education and the rest for manufacturing jobs.”

“You can force adults and children to learn facts but you can’t force them to be curious,” Williams said. “What CLOs want in the workforce are people who ask questions, who collaborate with their colleagues, people who aren’t afraid to make a mistake.”

The last ones from Cheryl Williams about the educational system are telling and give us insight on what our educational system needs to be doing.

One of the things I loved about teaching middle school was that there was room to make mistakes.  I worked in schools were there was time, energy and encouragement to look at those mistakes and learn from them.  Adults took time to listen to students and talk through the learning so it became meaningful.  When I taught High School, I had parents down my throat if their student didn’t make the correct grade needed for the college applications.  I understood them wanting their children to have everything, but “saving” them from the consequence of an official B on their high school transcript also took away a valuable learning opportunity.

Collaboration requires give and take, cooperation, understanding where you are weak so you can find someone who is strong.  If children cannot learn from their mistakes, they will be unable to understand their own weaknesses.  Without that understanding there can be no true collaboration.

The system has to change.  We need more of what these two individuals describe.  The children in schools today are being “prepared” for a world none of us can completely imagine.  They need the skills that will help them create and survive in that world.

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