How can be improve education in schools?
I have helped students with their studies in three different countries over the past couple of years. Their basic education is sometimes lacking. Often they can’t communicate in writing effectively enough or just don’t know how to study. I’ve looked back and looked at how much of my education, I have actually used. I haven’t used much of it.
The amount of knowledge I acquired has been barely used. I learned political history, that wasn’t a complete waste of time, but I think history could have included something relevant. I can now look at the picture above and know that is a Victorian school. I also know something of life in Victorian times, but that wasn’t on the history curriculum.
It can be difficult to decide what should be taught in schools. In the UK, we need to teach English, students need to be able to communicate in writing. Do we need to teach literature? I don’t think students need to study Shakespeare in depth, that could be an optional subject. I have recently helped a high school student with maths, that was challenging. I had to try to remember my trigonometry from school. I haven’t really found that useful in my life. It makes me ask what good is trigonometry when students can’t calculate the yield on their investments? We do need trigonometry taught though or we would have no architects. Maybe, we should tailor education to the student? Make basic subjects like English, mathematics and some science compulsory and everything else optional based upon interests and ability.
Many school students feel they are wasting their time learning and aren’t motivated because they want to learn something else. Should we let them decide? If they want media studies and drama is that acceptable? We can’t allow all students to take the easy options, we need students to become the professionals of the future. The lawyers, doctors, nurses and other professionals. We do also need artisans, those skilled craftsmen who build our homes and make things. So education needs to be diverse and cater to different abilities and aspirations. In the UK, education appears to be class driven, the better schools providing a better and more academic education and some schools struggling to provide any education at all.
Will changing examinations improve education? I think many examinations have improved since I was at school. I like the clearly worded questions that you don’t have to read half a dozen times to understand. I like the multiple choice questions that test knowledge rather than memory. I also like the assignments and essays that also give the student not only an opportunity to communicate what they know, but also improve their written communication skills.
In all I think we need to recognise ability and interests at an early age and encourage them. Some children show an interest in art or science at an early age. This can be nature or nurture, but it should be encouraged. They might not make the right choice, so they have to have a diverse range of subjects, because becoming really good at one of them will give them confidence. Many aspects of education can be negative, we can set children up to fail. We should do all we can to ensure their success. They won’t be successful in everything. We can’t expect people to be good at everything, we all tend to specialise and some specialisation should be allowed from an early age. We should also encourage children to do assignments, work alone and work in groups. Mankind is curious, children are curious and that curiosity should be encouraged. We need all children to observe and ask questions. We have to stop brainwashing children into conforming and allow them some controlled freedom. We have to teach them about innovation and about being different and doing things differently. We also need to give them the confidence to ask questions and to explore.
Children and students are the next generation, they have to learn from older generations and add to the knowledge. They are the technologists, doctors and teachers of the future. We have to prepare them well for their future roles in society.
There are more amazing blogs on the home page of a zillion ideas. Please comment, what do you think?