Now, if you’re not convinced after reading all my posts that our current education system is broken or at least faulty, watch this:
And, if you’re still not convinced, watch this (the graphics are amazing and Sir Ken Robinson is hilarious):
Finally, if you have twenty more minutes, watch this (it’s a little less interesting visually, but she’s saying is spot-on):
What impresses me most about all of these speakers is that they are not only decrying the broken (and sometimes corrupt) system of public education as it now stands—they are offering viable alternatives to the system. Not only that, they are actively working in their own fields to change the educational experience that their students are receiving at the schools and universities they work at. Unlike many these days (and I’m mainly thinking about politicians and political activists here), these three people aren’t just focusing on what doesn’t work and criticizing it. They’re offering something else that does work and they’re open-minded to new ideas, ever willing to try something different.
So yeah, try something different. If you’re teacher, try out a new lesson plan, or a new piece of technology, or a new form of assessment (hint: tests are not necessarily the most effective way to measure learning; try something like a paper, or a project, or a portfolio—get your students involved in the community). If you’re a student, try a new studying tactic or go out on a limb with a paper or project (hint: don’t just do the bare minimum to get by; also, don’t procrastinate—you will limit yourself if you do). If you’re an administrator, overhaul your entire curriculum and try something that Chris Lehmann and Liz Coleman are suggesting and doing (hint: read Raja T. Nasr’s Whole Education or John Dewey’s Experience and Education for more ideas—remember, all of these people are experts in their field; experts, I tell you). And finally, if you’re a parent, and the school your child goes to is not meeting his or her needs, pull them out. Homeschool them, send them to a private or charter school, or an arts school, or a technology school. Enroll them in a cyber school or have them take college courses online. Better yet, have them take some classes at the local community college. Or, if all of these ideas seem too drastic, spend more time with your children and teenagers, either helping them learn or interacting with them in positive and meaningful ways. Recent brain research has shown that the single most important factor in brain development is emotional stability. More on that later.