I must say that now I have chosen alternative education for my children, it has radically changed the way I view teaching and learning. Throughout my career as an educator, I have always taken great pains to be innovative, engaging and integrate educational technology. What I must admit to though, is that I am now perplexed by what it seems to me to be an increasing resistance to learning by students over the years. I wonder often, if it is that education holds little value to them compared to social media and gadgetry? Or could it be that the problem is with us – that as educators we perpetuate the status quo in a world where change is constant. It may be a bit of both. My mind shift includes the following tenets now:
Education should teach one how to learn: I believe that we are raising a generation of cookie cutter children. Where education is seen as a way to stuff a finite quantity of knowledge into students’ brains. Education must of course include knowledge but it must show students how to learn. Research, synthesis, creativity, should be encouraged as learning is a life long skill.
Diversity in thought should be celebrated and taught: I advance that little is to be gained from sameness – the world is diverse and needs diversity of thought. Too often educators see diversity of thought as troublesome, and a pain. Why ? Probably, because there is no room for such in a standardized system. A shame.
Alternative forms of education should be used if it fits the needs of the learner ! I came across a few pieces of media this week that sparked my interest and put joy in my soul! “Taking a Different Approach to Education” chronicles SOLE (self organized learning environment) where students enroll in higher learning for as long as they want and where all learning is self- directed. Love the idea. Click the link to take a read. Even the fee structure is unique as students can defer payment until after graduation. The next thought provoking piece is a TED presentation delivered by a 14 year old physicist, Jacob Barnett- a genius. Who said that real genius occurs when learning stops and thinking begins! Profound! Meanwhile doctors had told his parents he would never read, talk or tie his shoes. Hmm. His parents pulled him out of school in 8th grade.
Now if traditional education works for you either as an educator or a parent. By all means continue. However, if you sense that your child needs something different – or any aged learner – then do. The brain was not meant to be sit idly by. Do share and Follow.