Saturday, March 25, 2017

What are children receiving from an education?

When you ask children about their favourite part of the school day 3 things pop up immediately. The first is recess where they get to run around and explore with their friends. The second is gym where again they get to run around and be with friends in a less structured environment. The third is art where creativity reigns.

These three times in the day or week come to mind because they are free to explore more of their own ideas

I am sure there are as many reasons that people have developed about this attitude from kids. The reality is that most of school doesn’t meet the needs of the students. People will argue that students don’t know what they need. That is not true. Students are always aware of what they need at that point in time, and school rarely delivers it.  How can they? Things are taught out of  a natural order that confuses kids. Combine that with they are taught things that they feel they don’t need in their lives so they end up frustrated and bored. Schools rely on marks to make the students lives meaningful. They talk about the importance of learning but the end result is either you have the marks or you don’t. Marks are for comparison. Teachers rank kids based on marks. Schools base entrance on marks. The emotional stability of the students is to be honed because of good marks or poor marks. It undermines who they are and what they can accomplish.

The thing is children learn what they live. They develop skills based on what they need in their lives rather than on what someone else says they need. They work to discover meaning for themselves as well as discovering the purpose of their lives. While life has right and wrong answers it also teaches us about the decisions we make. Kids need to make these discoveries, not be told about them. Self respect and self esteem grow because of the trial and error method they employ. Kids will keep searching for meaning because they need to understand their world and what they do. This requires time and energy that school is not prepared to give them.

So what are students really learning in school? Not just about the subjects they are introduced to but about how they can discover this themselves. And most of that happens outside of school. This is where they learn the most and strengthen their skills. This is where they receive their best education.

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