• How schools get it wrong

    • We’ve made quantum leaps in understanding children’s developing brains. So why are classrooms still organized like last century’s assembly lines?

    • do we agree on what schools are for? Or, for that matter, the goal of education?

    • I’ve spent chunks of the past year in classrooms all over the world, pondering this question.

      One of the worst experiences was in a respectable public middle school in North America where I was giving a talk in the auditorium. Teachers patrolled the sides of the room like prison guards, silently threatening the children by looming over them when they showed the least bit of enthusiasm.

      I was telling the kids stories and asking them questions, and they were getting all excited figuring out answers despite the menacing presences. Finally, one of their teachers sidled up to me and said: "Don’t ask them questions. Just tell them what you want them to know."

      I formed the image that she wanted me to just zip open their heads and pour in the information, unfiltered by their own ideas. It felt like she thought their brains were just storage silos.

    • Is it for the transmission of culture and potted knowledge, akin to filling a CD-ROM? Is it to foster skills that will serve society down the road, or make dutiful employees? Or perhaps it’s a strategy to make sure a nation’s gross domestic product keeps rising?

    • Is it a sorting mechanism aimed at working out where in the class system a student ought to land? Or to encourage upward mobility? Should it build character? Endow morals?

      Is it a way for the new generation to question the values of the old? Or is it for making sure they don’t?

    • In What’s the Point of School? Rediscovering the Heart of Education, he notes that one of these hidden, ancient images is of a boy preparing for the priesthood. That model, developed 4,000 years ago, holds that knowledge is the "eternal Truth," never to be questioned.

      "The image of school as monastery persists up to the present and the classrooms of Mesopotamia, 2500 B.C., would be instantly recognizable to the students of today," he writes.

    • "(This supposes that knowledge) can be standardized, installed in manuals called `textbooks,’ and chopped up into different sized bits – syllabuses, topics, schemes of work, and eventually the content of individual lessons – that can be bolted on, as it were, to students’ minds bit by bit," Claxton writes.

    • Today, many parents and teachers believe that the best defence against an uncertain future is to teach children to learn how to learn. To them, that is the goal of education.

      They believe the education system should unearth and ignite their children’s passion, their intrinsic desire to learn, the deep joy of discovery.

    • neuroscientific findings are telling us that the brain learns – or forms strong neural connections – when the child is in a calm, emotionally regulated state.

    • "The first question is: Have we created an educational workforce that has the tools to perform this holistic function? And of course the answer is: No, we haven’t."

    • The teacher becomes a guide and model, a co-conspirator on the engrossing quest for understanding and self-knowledge.

      And what should they guide and model? The higher-order habits of mind that characterize the expert investigator, researcher, thinker and learner, says Claxton.

    • the school system faces daily demands to host our children; it can’t shut down to retool. Another is that education is big business, set in its ways. It is a livelihood for education bureaucrats, teachers, teachers’ teachers, textbook publishers and school-builders.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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