I read a lot of blogs. A. Lot. Many are edublogs. Many are straight techie blogs. A few of my reads are just for fun or to make me think. The other day, I was catching up on a few fun blogs – I needed to not think about school or technology for a little bit. Oh, look – I haven’t read the Dilbert Blog in awhile… So much for not thinking about school or technology.
If it were up to me to add some classes to the grade school curriculum, I think Iâ€™d put more emphasis on these skills: public speaking, risk assessment, bullshit detecting, social skills, decision-making, managing your own body, and influencing people.
Huh. Okay, so Scott Adams doesn’t have children and I’m going to assume he doesn’t really have a knowledge of public education. But he’s right about some of the things we need to be addressing in public education – and not so much what the largest bone in your body is and being able to name all the presidents in order.
What’s somewhat enlightening and in some cases frustrating and disturbing, is some of the comments on this blog entry. “DW” says
When the tides shifted and we began focusing on cooperative, confidence building and feel good education (To quell the chaos, so to speak), we unknowingly began a move toward vocational education (The highest performers self-segregated to get as far along as they could at levels of competition, while the majority “settled in”). And now, with testing galore the rage de jour, all we’ve done is reinforce a minimum standards mentality. What we’ve breed is mass-mediocrity like the US has never seen, and now everyone from employers to colleges have watered-down expectation to be able to cope with that.
I wonder if he/she is the same age as my dad, who is furious with cooperative, confidence building and feel good education. I think DW and Dad are both wrong here. You have to be able to work cooperatively in the workforce. Dad thinks you should tell a person they’re worse than they are and they’ll try to prove you wrong and excel. I don’t believe that. Maybe it works for some kids, but others will think no one thinks they’re worth anything anyway, so why bother trying.
I have no idea who DW is, but his view of testing is that we’re settling for mediocrity. There’s no mention in this comment that testing is important so that no child is left behind. That schools and teachers need to be held accountable. I have no idea who DW is, but I’m guessing he/she would have told the readers his/her occupation was an educator if that were the case.
Learning useless stuff is annoying, but what really annnoyed [sic] me at school was learning stuff I’d never use, because it would never come in handy in my work, because someone more qualified would get a job where it was needed, and I would never take a job where it was needed.
Learning stuff he’d never use… Learning stuff he’d never USE! Well, there ya go! The importance of making learning relevant! My guess is this guy (?) uses a lot more that he learned than he realized. But here’s adult proof that we can’t just be teaching number facts, and dates and places. We have to show kids how and why this will be relevant later.
How about this quote, from JMPD3:
Seems to me from a lot of the comments that the only class that needs to be taught is “How to Use Google”. And the rest of the world wonders why America’s educational system is going down the toilet….Do you want to be the guy that Jay Leno asks on TV “who was the first president?” and answer “Bill Clinton”?
Yeah, okay so we talk about how it’s more important to know how to GET the facts than to know the facts, but this person makes a good point. I, for one, don’t want to be the one going “Let me Gooogle SMS that real quick” There are some things we should just know.
The blog comments were full of varying opinions and idea. SethEfrican comments with one single sentence, “The most important thing is to learn how to learn…after that, anything is possible.”
And Olli Lindholm says, “I learned lots of things in school. I know many things now. Sadly it doesn’t appear to have aided me in finding a career that I particularly want or otherwise being dramatically successful.”
In the UK, kids are basically taught how to pass exams. There is no need to actually *learn* anything or be able to put it to any good use apart from passing the next exam…unless they failed because they are too stupid to pass an exam.
Why is this? Because success of schools is measured by exam passes not what the kids leaving actually know.
We need to discover telepathy so that we can actually ‘see’ what is actually inside a kids head when they graduate: is it a warehouse of intermingling ideas and brilliance or a desert with tumbleweed blowing around and a dog barking in the distance.
Clair says a lot, too. Basically she says that even AP classes are just teaching kids to pass a test. And that the federal government standards are only reinforcing this practice. She says a lot more than this and it’s worth a read.
There are so many opinions on here. I only quoted from the top quarter and barely a fraction of those. Some of them are really… ridiculous. But the point is, this is not an edublog. These are not comments from educators. They’re from parents, and moms and dads and account executives and blue collar workers and it’s quite interesting to read their opinions on our education system. And it’s even more clear that we’re in need of school reform.
We need to be teaching our kids relevancy to their learning. They need to be taught how to learn. They need to be taught how to find facts and how to know that what they found are facts. They need to be given a voice and they need to be shown they have something worth saying. We need less irrelevant drill and kill and more creative encouragement. We need to allow children that can excel, to excel and not keep them behind while we try to catch everyone else up.
So I was looking for an entertaining diversion. Something light and quick that would make me smile, laugh, and let me carry on with my day. Oh well.
[tags] school reform, dilbert, school 2.0, education, nclb, assessments, bratwurst [/tags]