The time is coming. It is coming faster than we thought possible and yet we really need to pay attention to do what we can and hope that it is enough.
My hope is that as the weeks go by and I have an opportunity to focus more on the importance of HOW we are teaching our children and not WHAT we are teaching them. Hopefully the parents, grandparents, and other care givers will listen. Hopefully they will take an interest in what is happening or not happening in education these days and let their voices be heard. The cold truth is that our system of educating our children is failing them. They are not and will not be ready or able to compete in the world for good jobs and prosperous futures. Technology is taking over. Robots are taking over and as a consequence many of the jobs or careers that young learners hope would provide them with homes, families and prosperity–‘the dream’–are being eliminated. Much of the current methodology and curriculum will NOT be adequate or relevant any longer.
Parents need to stand up and gather with other parents. They need to start asking their school trustees and school board members serious and direct questions concerning what other parts of Canada are doing about this impending problem, what are they doing differently, and why? Other countries have begun making philosophical shifts to their educational programs to prepare their learners so why is our system not considering the same or similar changes to remain relevant and competitive? Countries such as South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Finland (the top 5 international educational systems in the world currently) have already begun to respond to what prospective employers have said they will need to see regarding which skills and assets will be in demand. Companies have also said that many of the current graduates they interview are not adequately prepared to compete with other grads from other countries for good jobs. The drop out rates for these top 5 are much lower than ours and there are good fundamental reasons for that. Ask those who should know why? Demand a conversation and direct answers not double-speak and deflection as a response.
I’ve listed 5 major shifts in thinking/changes that are absolutely necessary-NOW-in order to begin the work of creating a new paradigm concerning how we will educate our children in the very near future. It is not enough to keep throwing money at the problem. We are far and away beyond that attempt being productive. Small changes are not needed–BIG ones are. Trying to save a system that will not produce the desired outcomes is not an acceptable solution at all. It is time to move education out of the board room and back into the classroom.
Here are 5 places to begin the shift:
- Start to make learning about what the learner wants to learn–what his/her interests are. They will learn much faster and more deeply if they have a say in what and how they learn.
- Do away with standardized testing. It only serves to tell us how the system is doing-not how the learners are doing. Education should not be about competing with other students and in other jurisdictions it should be about learning the competencies needed to be good at what they want to do for a living. This is how they determine what they want to take going on to university and whether or not there is even a future in their choice.
- Accepting the idea that learners, indeed, learn at different speeds and they don’t need to be hurried along to ‘keep up’ with others. This trying to keep up with the other learners creates so much stress, anger, fear, guilt and depression in our children. Take a look at the amount of kids on mood altering drugs either medically prescribed or illegally obtained on the street. Then ask why now? What’s changed? The pressures of education and the method being used to try to educate our kids is one of these big pressures. They can do the work if they are interested in what they are learning. However, they are not today because they are bored to death. They have little or no interest in learning information that they see not having any value to them.
- No homework–homework gets done in the classroom where solutions, options, and learning HOW to think and resolve problems can be discussed and taught so that ALL the kids can learn how to investigate different ways of researching. Our kids are encouraged to focus on remembering the answers instead of thinking through to a solution about how to get the answer.
- Teachers need to be able to recognize and understand that each learner has a learning style he or she prefers. Assignments and tasks need to be designed to utilize that style. More work–yup. More learning-definitely. We can’t expect kids to learn if they cannot relate to the information that they are being asked to assimilate. That’s like hearing it in French and then being asked to explain it in Russian. When they struggle with this they are considered ‘hard to serve’ or ‘slow or challenged students’. Just work with them in a style that they get and they will be fine.
I’ll be back with lots of other stuff around this topic in the near future. Send me questions if you want to discuss something I have presented here today. firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to respond.
Anyways, that’s how I see things–all the best, Jim
Forward Thinking Program: Education In The 21st Century:
The work continues–we have completed the first draft of our brand new look at education in the 21st century and are now involved in the 2nd draft which is providing documented evidence or findings based on research to support all of the claims, ideas, and suppositions that we have made throughout the construction of our new program. It is time consuming but very important. We take our claims and statements seriously and want to be sure that we are providing information that is accurate and understood. Much of what is written in the commentary above is based on the numerous changes we are suggesting in the framework of the F.T.P. Forward Thinking Program.
There will be much more to come for those parents, grandparents, and care givers who are interested in doing what they can to ensure a future their kids will enjoy. Everything they will do-the majority of decisions they will make will depend on how confident and prepared they feel they are in order to contribute to their own futures. That will depend on the quality of the education they receive and how relevant it is to their life goals.
Stay tuned–all the best.
Truth Talkin’ Thursday:
Jane and I discuss the recent labour dispute between the teachers and the board and how ridiculous it was on both sides. I’m a union supporter who believes that some unions of the day have gone a bit too far trying to justify their existence. In this instance there were no winners and one loser–the kids–again. The old argument of ‘we’re doing this for the kids’ is bullsh . . Nothing was done for the’kids’ in this fiasco.
I’m all for collective agreements and so on just not the way they are negotiated. I suggested a solution to the process and some won’t like it-oh well! Tune in to u-tube and type in Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode 27 for the whole discussion and then get back to us at: email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think-one way or another.
Disclaimer: Photo resources used in this article were used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this resource.