Lessons on Education and Learning in the 21st Century - Part 1
Apr 8, 2010 Other 2571 Views
How do you think Socrates did in 5th grade spelling? What grade did Plato get in Mathematics in his freshman year of college? How did Ben Franklin do in his class at vo-tech for printing? Obviously these are ridiculous questions, but they bring up an interesting point about education. The "modern" education system hasn't been around for very long and public education is a very recent invention.
Up until the 1600's the idea of public education was a foreign concept. Even then the 'education' given was mostly of a religious nature. Amazing to think that prior to that most of the world population was functionally illiterate, even having their religious beliefs spoon fed to them through their priests, because they couldn't read the Bible for themselves. By the 1800's a system of public education was forming in the United States and elsewhere. Finally, a well thought out education for the masses.
Well, not really. Education was piecemeal and curriculums were hardly standard at all. As time moved forward standards started to emerge and gradually state mandated testing and curriculums developed, but even today those standards are far from a national norm. President Bush tried to even that out with his "no child left behind" program, but again, it's all about who decides what should be taught and what shouldn't and then we have to live with that for "X" amount of years until again new standards are deemed necessary.
But many people are starting to look at education and say, 'wait a minute, that's not what I want my little Johnny to learn." The problem with that, IMO, is that parent want their children to become "mini-me's" and the teachers believe they should be instilling community values and mores. But what about education?
Truly education and the system that is in place today is not as effective as it could be. This is through no fault of teachers, administrators or politicians so much as a fault of the system that is in place. Obviously as Einstein was a miserable failure in traditional schooling techniques, we need to re-evaluate how, what and why we teach and also, more importantly, how, what and why students learn.
What are we teaching kids in the public system and is it relevant to their future lives? How is it that we have a system that stresses sciences, but debates rage on what is science and what is religion? How does this aid the student as they eventually live their lives? How can we teach math, but kids don't know how to balance a checkbook? Or we teach reading by classic literature, but kids don't develop a love of reading, and lose a lifetime of learning. That is crippling to individuals and society.