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Education

PremaSagarPremaSagar Veteran
edited May 2013 in General Banter
Based on your experiences and insights from grade-school do you think that there is any way to reform or change the system to improve the quality of education ?
What made school more bearable for you ?
What made it more difficult ?
What made it easier for you to learn something ?

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Based on your experiences and insights from grade-school do you think that there is any way to reform or change the system to improve the quality of education?

    Get rid of the teachers.
    . . . well the insipid ones at least . . .
    If you have no great passion for your subject, what mediocre results can you expect?
    More field trips, placements, outside lecturers. Practical skills. Kids are designed to learn. How extraordinary that we can not make good use of this capacity . . .
    What made school more bearable for you ?
    I enjoyed school. I like learning. I taught adults for many years.
    What made it more difficult ?
    literature teachers telling me books I could not read
    History teachers not being allowed to teach contemporary history . . . stuff like that . . .
    Teachers not being allowed to teach psychology etc.
    What made it easier for you to learn something ?
    The library.
    Now the Internet.
    Now education is continuous . . .
    :scratch:
    MaryAnnePremaSagar
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    Based on your experiences and insights from grade-school do you think that there is any way to reform or change the system to improve the quality of education ?

    There are always ways to improve. We have a lot of room for improvement, lol. A broad, sweeping overhaul of the entire US education system? Probably pretty unlikely, at least in the near future. But part of the problem is the way education is funded in so many parts of the country. Property taxes. So, when schools need money it has to be voted on and those without children have a hard time finding value in the things schools are asking for, because the don't understand current education (chalk and blackboards are fine! They don't need computers!) and being willing to pay even more taxes to fund schools they don't understand or believe in.

    What made school more bearable for you ?
    I actually really liked school, for the most part. But I could have learned so much more than dates of the Civil War and so on. Being well rounded is important, but if a kid shows a strong pull or proficiency towards something once they are a bit older (say, 12ish) they should be allowed to persue that some and not be stuck in the same boring curriculum as everyone else.

    What made it more difficult ?
    Teachers who were just biding their time until retirement. Impatient, angry, tired of children, whatever the reasons were, they were crabby, boring, and mean. Some of them, of course, not all. Teachers should be required to take regular trainings on new things within education so they are more on par with the people just graduating college and not 30 years behind. Some places do better with that than others

    What made it easier for you to learn something ?
    Being able to apply it. Even though I wasn't good at science, it was one thing in school I learned the most from, by being able to put into action the things we learned from the book. You can put anything into action, into tangible, interesting results. But some teachers do not like that type of learning, even though the average person has their learning rooted better this way. Also, there is not the funding in most schools to be able to pay for all the things necessary to make things like history come to life.
    PremaSagar
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I'm going to give a very different answer, but I should remind people in advance that I'm a retired middle and high school science teacher and middle school principal. ANy number of studies have shown that the #1 factor in determining whether a school is good or bad is the principal (and I've seen some pretty wonderful and some pretty awful principals and other administrators). Of course the teaching staff is important (but no school can always hire just good teachers; sometimes you just get stuck with a lemon...although firing a lemon is a lot easier than most people realize).

    But I think back to my career...all in suburban schools, except one. Student taught in a quite-good junior high. First regular teaching job at a superb rural high school. Second teaching job at a quite-bad high school. Third teaching job at a fairly good middle school. Fourth teaching job at an excellent middle school. Fifth teaching job at a very good high school. Administrative career at a top-of-the-line middle school. Now what was interesting was that, with the exception of the rural high school, the other schools were all in the suburbs. The first 2 (one quite good, the other terrible) just a couple of miles from each other, and the last two middle schools as a teacher at fairly good and excellent schools which were 2 miles apart.

    Major factor 1: The quality of the principal IF principals are left at a school for a significant amount of time. Some large school systems rotate principals every 3-5 years so that a principal doesn't build up a power base in the community. But principals who have staying power can make or break a school.

    Major factor 2: How much does the particular community value education. Part of that is the extent of the balance between being a white-collar versus blue-collar community, though even comparing schools in blue collar communities, or schools in a white-collar communities, you will find a great deal of variance between how much schools and education are valued. And what follows is an attitude toward education on the part of the students, a tradition of how much parents are involved in a school (both in terms of attending conferences and volunteering, etc.), and how much the community supports the school financially.
    riverflowVastmindInvincible_summerPremaSagar
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    I think the points you bring up are good, and important, but our school system is still largely based on what it was created on what, 150 years ago? When the average family did not have access to books at all and the parents were ill-equipped to teach basic math or reading. That our model hasn't expanded much beyond that despite our technological advances is concerned. Of course, kids are now much more spread out. You have the kids who are well supported at home with a stable family with decent income that is able to provide the kids with opportunities outside school to supplement their learning and social skills. And then you have the kids who still have parents who can barely read and have little education themselves, and the teachers have to make it work for all those kids. I don't envy them, for sure. But I still think that the *overall* goal of our entire public education system in the US is to produce people who are good consumers who contribute to the economy and has very little to do with recognizing and honoring people for what they are and what their strengths and weaknesses are, and allowing them the freedom to work within them. In many areas, it's still the "loser" kids who go to tech school to learn AC repair while the smart kids go to REAL college. That's how it's viewed not just by the kids, but the counselors, the teachers, and so on. So kids who enjoy those things, and have those skills are left to feel like losers while their classmates who excel at taking tests are the winners. It's a messed up system.
    VastmindPremaSagar
  • NevermindNevermind Bitter & Hateful Veteran
    lobster said:

    literature teachers telling me books I could not read

    Uh, you mean books that were not part of the curriculum, right? I'm sure they didn't care what books you read outside of class. And even if they did, why would you comply?
    Teachers not being allowed to teach psychology etc.
    Are you talking about a psychology teacher?
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    When I was eleven we were asked to choose a book to read from the selection at the back of the class. Most of them were boring and would not stretch a rubber band. On the top shelf I found a book. This was was for sixteen year olds. So I was too young . . . for what?

    The next year a slightly younger teacher allowed me to read DH Lawrence 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'. I can not say I understood the sexual aspects but the prose was beautiful. It certainly made me appreciate great writing.

    We were not allowed to be taught psychology, I had to learn sociology instead . . . there is a political and suppressive nature to education. I remember one teacher being dismissed for starting a 'radical film club'. Again we were too young . . . but sneaked in. The teacher was dismissed. His crime? Offering to educate us about South Africa and apartheid.

    It is a bit like creationism being taught without any real countering. Thank his Noodliness the Flying Spaghetti Monster for real educators, libraries and the Internet.
  • NevermindNevermind Bitter & Hateful Veteran
    Lady Chatterley's Lover at 12 years old... scandalimity! :eek:
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    My personal problem with actual curriculum here is history. It isn't real history, it is taught as an instruction book for how to be a good, patriotic American. All the ugly stuff is mostly glossed over, and even the worst type of person is glorified as an American hero (Custer, for example). It's just disturbing, when I help my kids study for tests, what is purposely left out. And I'm not talking left out because of their age, the same stuff is missing from my 16 year old's history books. I didn't really learn much about our history until college, and I find that ridiculous, and sad.
    VastmindJeffreyriverflowInvincible_summer
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    I read James Joyce Ulysses at age three j/k :lol:
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Lady Chatterly at 12!

    I remember when I was just about that age I saw the film "Toys In The Attic", written by Lillian Hellman. I liked it a lot. Saw it a couple of times after that on t.v....and liked it. And then when I was a bit older I finally saw it again and suddenly realized what it was really about. Bazinga!
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited May 2013
    Here in the bible belt....Science is left out. Alot!
    I guess it goes without saying.

    My children have qualified for the 'gifted'/honor programs because
    of their scores in the science category. They were 'average' in
    all other scores...but scored off the charts in Science. The
    admins at school questioned me at length about what
    supplemental teaching I was doing at home in the area of
    science because of the difference of range with the other
    students.

    I didn't know whether to shake my head or laugh.
    riverflowInvincible_summerperson
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    Based on your experiences and insights from grade-school do you think that there is any way to reform or change the system to improve the quality of education ?

    I'm going to talk mainly about high school since: 1) that's what I remember more clearly and 2) the education one receives there is arguably more important than elementary school.

    While some senior teachers were quite experienced and excellent, I did feel that some of my high school teachers that had been teaching for decades got quite complacent and didn't really care too much about the students - they just wanted to get through the material. Though teachers work really hard and don't get paid their due in many cases, not letting "new blood" into the system due to the seniority system is problematic, IMO.

    In my high school district, academics were highly emphasized. The teachers and counsellors expected all "normal" students to go onto university - that is, students who weren't labelled as "problem" kids and performed at a decent level. There was very little discussion about trades apprenticeships or helping students explore the career side of things. There was a short-term internship program, but it was kept on the down-low and only a handful of students in the senior grades did it. I think having that sort of experience would help a lot of students figure out if they want to go to university or just try to work fresh from high school (although the possibilities for a decent job with just a high school diploma these days are pretty slim). I just felt like I was not really shown any options in my senior year of high school.
    What made school more bearable for you ?
    Having teachers who cared about more than their paycheque. I hated math a lot, but I remember having a teacher who made the concepts interesting and - dare I say - fun.

    Being able to choose electives around grade 10/11/12, so i wasn't stuck studying what I didn't want to study (for the most part).
    What made it more difficult ?
    The other kids. :p And my own bad attitude.

    Although in hindsight there could have been changes made that would have helped me enjoy school more, I'm lucky enough to say that I don't think there were any obstacles per se for me.
    What made it easier for you to learn something ?
    My own interest in it was a big factor (and still is). But I think if the teacher showed a passion for it as well, it helped to get me excited about it too. I found that younger teachers that weren't totally green but had a few years under their belt were best at that.
    Vastmind
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    ...
    While some senior teachers were quite experienced and excellent, I did feel that some of my high school teachers that had been teaching for decades got quite complacent and didn't really care too much about the students - they just wanted to get through the material. Though teachers work really hard and don't get paid their due in many cases, not letting "new blood" into the system due to the seniority system is problematic, IMO....

    This is such an important point. And just this afternoon I was talking to neighbor about an unrelated topic, but I pointed out that an awfully lot of teachers don't think anyone should ever question them, or that they need to go through a rigorous improvement program. Mostly, teachers want to teach the way they were taught. In fact, there's one thing most teachers don't want to do...and ironically it's learn (anything new and different).

    We all need to be rejuvenated in our jobs. And, if we want to really consider ourselves professionals, we need to stay on the cutting edge. Not all techniques and strategies that are new are better, but not all the old ways are best, either. As I would say to my teachers, when you learn a new strategy it isn't necessarily that you will replace what you do now, but you will that new strategy or new technique in your bag of teaching tricks, and when the kids aren't getting something or aren't interested, that's when you pull that new strategy or technique out of your little black bag and rejuvenate your teaching.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    Shakespeare is taught despite the emotional behaviours described being too complex for young people. Because I was young and had to write about the subject matter only part of which was about physical love, that I had no knowledge of, I focussed on the literary style and writing, which was brilliant. Again my knowledge of literature was limited but I tended to read well above my age privately, so this teacher was taking a risk, I am glad he did . . .

    Children are very curious. Try and block a direction and they will go that way . . . many convent raised girls will tell you so . . .

    Also at twelve I was developing an interest in yoga, the occult, hypnotism, Buddhism etc. I was kind of a 'religion nerd' by the time I was sixteen, however I did not gain much if anything from religious education at school which was based around the Bible and I even managed to not attend religious classes by having a note from my dad excusing me. For a Catholic, in some ways he was quite liberal . . . I never, ever remember him telling me this was 'a book I should not read' . . .

    I read everything. Thanks dad. :rockon:
    VastmindJeffreykarastiInvincible_summer
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    I really like this idea of "flipping the classroom". The basic idea is that kids will use the internet to learn the material as homework from a site like the Khan Acadamy, then in class the next day they do their paperwork where they can receive help from the teacher and other students.

    60 minutes did a report on it last year.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7420278n
    Vastmind
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited May 2013
    @person.... :bowdown:

    I didn't know about this! Great resource I will now
    be using! Thanks so much!
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited May 2013
    @karasti...check that website out! Even if you don't want to register...
    you can still go under the Learn section and it's really user friendly.
    I watched 2 already. It will help the kids.....and us. :p

    https://www.khanacademy.org/
    karasti
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    person said:

    I really like this idea of "flipping the classroom". The basic idea is that kids will use the internet to learn the material as homework from a site like the Khan Acadamy, then in class the next day they do their paperwork where they can receive help from the teacher and other students.

    (That's 'AcadEmy'....)





    :lol:
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran
    edited May 2013
    lobster said:

    Shakespeare is taught despite the emotional behaviours described being too complex for young people.

    This reminds me of reading Camus' The Stranger in high school English. It's a book about existentialism/absurdism, but those concepts were too difficult for most of us to understand and somehow our class got the idea that Meursault was autistic and that the novel was about autism.

    federicalobsterriverflowrivercane
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    federica said:

    person said:

    I really like this idea of "flipping the classroom". The basic idea is that kids will use the internet to learn the material as homework from a site like the Khan Acadamy, then in class the next day they do their paperwork where they can receive help from the teacher and other students.

    (That's 'AcadEmy'....)





    :lol:
    They only teach math so far, so me not able to learn English yet.
    federica
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    I think there isn't problem about education in schools in developed countries as compared to India.
    lobsterVastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    Well said @rohit
    We are lucky to have any education, where many do not have the opportunity for basic literacy . . .
    Vastmind
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    rohit said:

    I think there isn't problem about education in schools in developed countries as compared to India.

    When it comes to resources of course developed countries really have nothing to complain about compared to developing ones. I think the students in developing countries are generally much hungrier for education and are more willing to do the work needed.

    I listened to a history podcast the other day where a quote was used, something like "wooden shoes are worn on the way up the stairs and silk slippers worn on the way down." Meaning, throughout history it is the tough people in hard situations who fight to get ahead and advance society and it is those who have attained success who take advantage of that success and become soft and complacent and eventually decline.

    Not to put this all on lazy kids but for discussions sake, how many of the issues in education have to do with kids not understanding the importance of education and the easy access to activities which are much more enjoyable?

    Jeffrey
  • FlorianFlorian Veteran
    I feel that things would be much improved if the State did not set the curriculum.

    A few years ago I was commissioned to advise a primary school head teacher on becoming more entrepreneurial in her approach. Some daft national initiative. After two meetings I realised she made no decisions of any importance whatsoever. Her entire task was to implement decisions made in Whitehall. I made my apologies and departed.

    I'd give schools back to the teachers and sack ofsted. Then I'd ban computers from primary schools, teach comparative religion properly, make competitive sport compulsory and introduce 2134 other changes. Then at 'A' level I'd offer a module requiring pupils to spend 40 days in the wilderness.

    I want to be in charge dammit.
    lobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Florian said:

    I feel that things would be much improved if the State did not set the curriculum.

    A few years ago I was commissioned to advise a primary school head teacher on becoming more entrepreneurial in her approach. Some daft national initiative. After two meetings I realised she made no decisions of any importance whatsoever. Her entire task was to implement decisions made in Whitehall. I made my apologies and departed.

    I'd give schools back to the teachers and sack ofsted. Then I'd ban computers from primary schools, teach comparative religion properly, make competitive sport compulsory and introduce 2134 other changes. Then at 'A' level I'd offer a module requiring pupils to spend 40 days in the wilderness.

    I want to be in charge dammit.

    Certainly wouldn't work here in the States.

  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    person said:

    rohit said:

    I think there isn't problem about education in schools in developed countries as compared to India.

    When it comes to resources of course developed countries really have nothing to complain about compared to developing ones. I think the students in developing countries are generally much hungrier for education and are more willing to do the work needed.

    I listened to a history podcast the other day where a quote was used, something like "wooden shoes are worn on the way up the stairs and silk slippers worn on the way down." Meaning, throughout history it is the tough people in hard situations who fight to get ahead and advance society and it is those who have attained success who take advantage of that success and become soft and complacent and eventually decline.

    Not to put this all on lazy kids but for discussions sake, how many of the issues in education have to do with kids not understanding the importance of education and the easy access to activities which are much more enjoyable?

    There is no shortage of resources in India. The mentality of people isn't right that's why there are lot basic problems.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    I don't think much of anything should be compulsory beyond the basics of basic math and reading. it's putting what YOU find important onto someone else, who very well might prefer to spend their time learning Roman History instead of playing competitive sports.
    Our state, of course, has requirements on what students must complete, but it's kind of up to the school to decide how best to meet those requirements. My sister went to an arts high school and one of her math credits was learning the math and physics behind choreography. We have a charter school opening near here for grades 7-12 that will operate similarly. More outdoor education and other options for fulfilling the same requirements. I will be looking into it for my son, though he'll only be in 6th grade this year. My oldest went to a charter school for a time and did amazingly well in them. though, they can be horribly managed, as well, so caution is required.
    PremaSagar
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    rohit said:

    person said:

    rohit said:

    I think there isn't problem about education in schools in developed countries as compared to India.

    When it comes to resources of course developed countries really have nothing to complain about compared to developing ones. I think the students in developing countries are generally much hungrier for education and are more willing to do the work needed.

    I listened to a history podcast the other day where a quote was used, something like "wooden shoes are worn on the way up the stairs and silk slippers worn on the way down." Meaning, throughout history it is the tough people in hard situations who fight to get ahead and advance society and it is those who have attained success who take advantage of that success and become soft and complacent and eventually decline.

    Not to put this all on lazy kids but for discussions sake, how many of the issues in education have to do with kids not understanding the importance of education and the easy access to activities which are much more enjoyable?

    There is no shortage of resources in India. The mentality of people isn't right that's why there are lot basic problems.
    I've spent a little time in India and am curious about what you mean. Is it the caste system or are girls not given the same opportunities? Why is the Indian educational system broken? All we ever hear about in the US is about us or Europe, maybe China.
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    edited June 2013

    I've spent a little time in India and am curious about what you mean. Is it the caste system or are girls not given the same opportunities? Why is the Indian educational system broken? All we ever hear about in the US is about us or Europe, maybe China.
    It is just unequal distribution of resources and selfish people, now under name of democracy they play very dirty politics.
    lobsterInvincible_summerperson
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    In many ways we have to unlearn what we have been taught.

    Do they still have the system in France were the curriculum is set and if you walk into a classroom of a set age, they will be teaching the same thing throughout France? Maybe that never happened? I have been misinformed . . . ?

    Remember too how imperialism, homophobia, celebrity worship, Islamaphobia, racism, militarism and other agendas are surreptitiously transferred. Are you a result of miseducation? Look at the disinformation and conspiracy theories that people are so hungrily believing in. Memes are becoming the new propaganda. Can red necks, extremists, (Dalai Lama) monarchists be allowed a 'better Buddhist' education? Would they naturally become more liberal and move to a a middle way? I believe we can, in fact I know we can become radically different people. I did not sign up to be another bald headed Buddha Drone . . . ;)

    Free Your Mind
    Morpheus in the Matrix
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