Saturday, April 20, 2013
Present Shock Book Reflection and Thoughts Part 2: Education
From the book Present Shock
....it's also the quiz show approach now favored by public schools, whose classrooms reward the first hand up. Intelligence is equated with speed, and accomplishment with the volume of work finished. The elementary school where I live puts a leaf on the wall for every book a child reads, yet has no way of measuring or rewarding the depth of understanding or thought that took place--or didn't.
I feel torn on this passage. A part of me is angered by this notion of public education and yet I know that it exists. How do we work around this? With class periods of 40-45 minutes and so many standards to get through I don't know how education gets away from the speed of learning concept. I know that everyone operates at different paces. My son is a prime example. He takes a bit longer, but when he is learning he really wants to understand and absorb the concept and not just rush through. Now, homework is a battle every night in my house so I don't want to paint some perfect picture, but when he is left to study and learn how to do something in Minecraft he is deliberate and cautious. He has deep understanding. How can we bring that to classrooms of 30 kids in 45 minute blocks? I don't know the answer.
I have the luxury of working with students of various learning paces and modes of learning and be being able to give them time to work at their pace. It is not always clear cut and easy as they must adhere to deadlines, but when they can work at their pace it is amazing what they can do.
We see more and more push for self paced learning and individualized learning plans. Is it possible to pull this off in the school structures we have today?
His comment about checking for understanding really hit me hard and was a great wake up call to remind myself to make sure I am assessing and promoting the right ideas. I think we have great intentions, but sometimes miss what is really viable and important.