Thursday, January 13, 2005

Why go to school?

From Will Richardson comes this thought:
What’s even more ironic (scary? sad?) iLinks that we have an educational system that still asks students to basically try to learn independently (they work collaboratively but seldom learn) and use that learning to impress a very limited audience of teachers. Meanwhile, what the real world expects are students that are able to truly learn through collaboration and share that learning with large, extended audiences for meaningful purposes.

He's right--we don't give kids a very good model in our school systems for how they will be expected to perform in "real life." So, why go to school in the first place?

I'm kidding. I really am. I know going to school is crucial for young students and that they learn many wonderful things in school that will prepare them for their futures. But I think a big challenge in education is that we get too comfortable with the way we do things, and we don't seriously consider whether we are even doing it the best way. And then when students "fail" on some test or another, instead of reconsidering our basic assumptions, we charge ahead with "more of the same" of whatever it is we are already doing.
"What, our kids are not scoring well on tests? Well then that must mean we need more testing!"
I feel it would be a good idea for educators and administrators to take a more serious look at what they want the school experience to provide for students, and then maybe consider if there would be better approaches to doing it. I think we don't discuss these types of issues enough.

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