Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is Education a Joke?

Learning is not done to you.  Learning is something you choose to do.                   
                                            -Seth Godin

What is going on?  I decided to go into teaching because I love learning, I love helping other people, I love innovating, I love children, and I feel that education is an extremely important part of a successful society.  In my first few years in education I made sure that I "did as everyone else was doing" so that I could fit in and keep my job.  Now, as I grow older (and wiser.....I think), I am able to take a step back and reflect upon what has been going on.  Well, I have been reflecting, and I do not like what is going on.  Why are we cramming our students full of Trivial Pursuit knowledge that can be found in seconds on the internet and leading them to believe that the most important thing in the world is a test that will be coming up at the end of the unit?  Why are we having kids memorize all of this information and frown upon asking others for help (aka: collaborating) because that would be cheating.  Why are we complaining that our students to not have any "social skills" and that they seem disengaged in school and do not seem to care, yet 95% of classrooms do nothing to combat this?


Stop!  Take a step back and think about what we are doing.  We have a world full of wonderful children who are looking to us for guidance.  Most of them have been trained to believe that we are helping them to reach their full potential, so they do as we say.  I feel ashamed.  Having them memorize information and take tests on it isn't making them any more likely to be successful.  It isn't helping them to reach their potential.

Unlike at the beginning of my career, I am now a parent also.  I often think about what I want my kid to learn about when they are in school.  It definitely is not a bunch of information such as mitosis, the Calvin cycle, or the oceanic trenches.  I want my kids to learn how to communicate, collaborate, be creative, think critically, be altruistic people with empathy and a love for learning new things.  If education does not change quickly, this is not the experience my children will get and that bothers me.

Over the past 5-7 years I have began implementing change, only to find that it is resisted by a large majority of people.  People (parents, teachers, administrators, etc..) do not like change.  Teachers have received a lot of blame recently for not doing a good enough job of teaching our youth.  Our hands have been tied!  Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Please, ACT NOW!!!  Something has to change.  We are not in the industrial age anymore in which we need to train people to think they are cookie-cutter creatures that should fill out worksheets, follow the leader, believe there is a right answer to everything (and that the teacher already knows it), adjust to bells and move accordingly, and learn how to do well at memorizing information and taking tests because apparently that is what they have been told indicates their future success.











These are some disturbing things I have heard:

1.  "Why are we writing?  This is science, not literacy"
2.  "What do I have to do in order to get an A"?
3.  "How can I get my grade to a "C"?
4.  "How many points is this worth?"
5.  .....and most disturbing of all....when I issued a survey and asked whether students would rather earn an "A" but learn nothing, or earn a "C" but learn a LOT......the first choice ("A" without learning) won soundly.  Most students stated that they needed that "A" in order to stay competitive for college and scholarships.  YUCK!!!!!

Education is becoming a JOKE, in my opinion.

I have recently had the opportunity to make changes thanks to being teamed up with very progressive thinking teachers and having a very supportive administration.  This is something I blog about in my Com-Passion Based Learning Blog at:   http://compassionbasedlearning.blogspot.com/ - Please follow.  I would love your feedback.




Please join us in changing the way that we educate our students so that we can provide every student with authentic learning experiences that they will remember forever, while equipping them with all of the skills they will need to be successful for the rest of their lives.  And in the process, let's help show them that they are capable of making the world a better place.  It starts with you!




Follow me on Twitter:  @schink10
Contact me for questions, concerns, suggestions, ideas:  oliver.schinkten@oshkosh.k12.wi.us

INNOVATE!!!  The students deserve it!


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