This is a huge topic, too large for one post, so I will be dividing up into sub-topics and posting separately for each one.
Some of my issues with the school system are:
- It stifles creativity. Although Ontario has an extensive Arts curriculum, the reality is that it cannot be adequately covered along with all the other subjects. And, it’s too prescribed, imagine, an Arts curriculum that stifles creativity itself, sad but true. Check out The Arts curriculum here. Also, check out this Ted Talk by Ken Robinson, he addresses the creativity issue.
- There isn’t much experiential learning in school. Although constructivist theory is taught in Teacher’s College, in reality it is very difficult to implement hands on learning conisitently. The dense, contnent driven curriculum, along with compulsory Ministry directives, leave little time for experiential learning.
- Schools create an environment in which bullying thrives. This is my impression from being in the school system as a child and as a teacher. I have no evidence yet, but I intend to follow up this idea with some research.
- Schools get too academic too soon. In JK, children are sitting at desks or tables, practising their letters. Research clearly shows that early learning should be play based yet schools are not implementing this research. It remains to be seen how this may change as Ontario phases in it’s new full-time JK program with Teachers and Early Childhood Educators in each classroom.
- Schools are designed to create cogs for the “Industrial Machine”. They do not help children think critically about their world. Watch this speech by Ken Robinson that is accompanied by drawings. Public schooling was conceived of during the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution and were consequently designed to suit those eras. The education system has not changed since then. Check out this RSA Animate of Ken Robinson’s Changing Education Paradigms. You can watch the full lecture here.
- If you read Jen’s post on technology in education and the Did You Know video, you will have realized how far behind be are with technology. Most schools only use technology in the most rudimentary of ways. Not good enough. Interestinly to me, I posted a comment there saying I thought that public education was doing pretty well. I’ve changed my tune since then.
- Children do not have much input into what or how they are learning. They are fed extrinsic motivators like sticker, certificates, praise and grades. I think that if they follow their interests then they will be motivated intrinsically, which is way better in my opinion.
- I don’t think that the needs of children with learning problems are being met.
I’m sure that as I continue to write these posts that I will come up with more reasons. In the meantime, let me know what you think. How is the ecuation system doing?
See below for the videos I linked to above.