Saturday, September 14, 2019

three days

I'm mentioning this report for the third day in a row because it is important regarding what we're doing with education. There are reasons that schooling sucks. One is that students are groomed for laziness by schooling that requires them to be passive learners. They actually seem to prefer to sit at desks and listen inattentively to teachers at the head of the class. Active learning informs a student how little he or she actually knows and may be perceived at first as a threat.  It leads them out of their complaisant zone. I'm reminded of the student who says, "I know that," but then when asked to demonstrate what he or she knows, faces the truth of how little he or she can do. You can watch someone play the cello. But take one in your own hands and see what you can do with it.

Another point is that teachers find classroom management much easier if the kids aren't doing anything. There are no materials to supply or put away at the end of class. And there are no limits to the number of students you can crowd into a lecture hall. That's great for administration, as it greatly reduces the unit cost of providing instruction. Passive, lecture based instruction simplifies the job of classroom management, making the teacher's job one of maintaining student discipline, not maintaining student learning.

So there are lots of reasons to ignore the necessity of providing active, project based learning. They boil down to one thing. Keeping schooling cheap. Let's ask some essential questions: Do we care about kids enough to give them the education we know works? Can we find reasons to invest in them to assure the future we deserve? By keeping schooling cheap, we waste lives and time by ignoring how children and adults learn best.

So here's what we need to do.

  1. Reduce class sizes.
  2. Train teachers to actually engage kids.
  3. Teach teachers to understand that hands must be engaged to deliver maximum effect.
  4. Place the arts at the center of education.
  5. Demand that school facilities be expanded to allow each to become a laboratory of learning.
  6. Follow the lead that Friedrich Froebel established, putting play in full force.
  7. Allow schools to reflect and enhance the character of their communities.
No, this will not be accomplished in the next three days.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.

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