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A More Modest Proposal Concering Education

By Anna
Fri Feb 15 2013 9:14 am

My teacher has recently taken up a new pastime of walking around and recording what she approves and disapproves of while we do activities. Does she really think that putting her observations on the bored will change anything?

" I saw people sharing ideas. I also saw many people having off topic conversations. I need to see more of people staying on task and less of people being unfocused. If you guys can become engaged you will remember this information forever. " I'm paraphrasing here.




How in the world are we suppose to be engaged? We read and take notes for 20 minutes on material in a boring text book and then you want us to have an engaging conversation? It's nothing but a joke. I could care less who contributed what to the discovering of DNA. The teacher is a good person and a much better teacher than many others but she doesn't make her class interesting by any means. I could be at a job earning useful money or having fun but instead I'm in a classroom with 20+ other students who are wishing they weren't there.

This is the reason why kids hate school. Most adults would reply with "well that's what needs to be done so those spoiled kids have to toughen up or suffer the consequences later on" and a few months ago I would have agreed with them. I am extremely lucky to have some teachers that understand how we feel and they do everything in their power to make their classes interesting. Those are the classes that students enjoy going to, that kids actually learn stuff in. But more recently I've been stuck in a class that I honestly sometimes would almost rather pull my hair out than continue staying in.

I bet you didn't know this but I make all A's and I've made all A's my entire graded life. If I had read what I'm writing now I would expect some lazy kid who is complaining and blaming others for their poor performance in school. But maybe people will listen to a person who does all her work even through the boring and seemingly unusefulness of it all.




Okay we know students don't do their work because it is boring that's a given. Students need to be engaged but in order to be engaged students must want to learn. If topics are interesting kids will naturally ask questions and want to know more. So how do we make subjects interesting? I have no idea. Luckily I have been blessed with some teachers who can tie what we are learning to the real world, who challenge our minds to create solutions while addressing different perspectives, who help us identify patterns and can make students wonder, why? How can we get these teachers teaching every subject, even every class so no student is left wanting to skip school or give up on learning? We don't have enough teachers like this. Is it possible to train teachers to make their classes interesting? Sure we can give teachers fun lesson plans and tips on explaining how math relates to the real world but can we really alter their behavior into making something interesting?

We know we can't make every teacher into our favorite teacher so now what? Well maybe, and this is just an idea, we can share the work of the great engaging teachers to everyone. The Internet is really amazing. You can learn about anything with a click of a mouse. What if instead of being taught by teachers who skills varies from person to person students watch videos of the best, most engaging teachers teaching each subject. Of course people learn by doing. Worksheets, activities, and projects can all be given and linked by the teachers doing the videos. They can also post videos explaining each problem of the work or answer common questions. How would this work be graded though? Well clearly students can check their own work from the answer videos posted by the teacher but can the student be trusted to report the their true score? Wait, what if we don't have traditional grades. Grades are used to show how smart or hardworking a student is and is based off of participation, daily assignments, projects and tests. If a student is intelligent and works hard on their school work wouldn't that also appear on tests that's can be electronically given and graded? Wouldn't that also reduce the amount of man power needed in a school, decreasing the cost of providing ! education on our government? If students are given benchmark tests and adequate scores are not being shown then disciplinary actions may be taken. Unfortunately multiple choice and true false questions don't really show what people know, papers and short answer questions do.

Ugh but that means people would have grade that. Who would do the grading though? The teacher on the videos wouldn't because those videos would be given to huge amounts of students, one teacher simply wouldn't be able to grade all of that. Since many teachers will be extinct because their jobs would be replaced by videos they wouldn't grade the compositional work. We could pay and train people to be "professional graders" but who wants go to college just for that? Actually though, where there is a job there is someone willing to do it.

Maybe however, there will still be teachers. We need enough people to create new videos when new information is needed to be taught. Another thing, do we really want one person, even if they are a great teacher, teaching all of American the same subject? Do we really want to be all the same? How can innovations occur if everyone is having the same experiences? Given that we could have hundreds of teachers and materials, all qualified, to choose from.

Teachers don't just become great and engaging, they also learn by experience. That means we must have teachers still teaching in order to create teachers that will one day provide the best lessons for the nation. What if students have questions that are not answered by the video? They could consult with their peers. Students could also research their question online but is it safe for people to loose this much human interaction? Work can be completed individually or in groups of students depending on the assignment but this still causes a large loss of human interaction and personal experience so what if there was a teacher or two (depending on the size of the school) of every subject to aid in questions and further help? This would also mean we now have someone to grade papers.

Coming back to personal experiences, not every person is taking the same classes. Math, English, science and history will still all be required as well as other classes such as health. There is also a large variety of classes students now have the ability to take. Business, technology, mythology, journalism, astrology, language, sociology and many, many more classes are now accessible to students that were once not. A teacher in each one of these subjects may not be available to work at each school so students in these classes may not have personal help and they may need to send their papers away to be scored but it out ways not be able to take the class at all. What about art and music and gym and other hands on classes? Teachers can still teach these classes as they do today.




This system was not designed to isolate students and make them all complete the same work. On the contrary, this will engage students more and offer an abundance of recourses they hadn't had before. I've seen fellow peers give up on learning because the classes were mind numbingly boring or to hard to understand. In order to learn you must care about learning which is much easier if it is interesting. This isn't a solution to all our problems, just a more modest proposal to give opportunities to students.

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ByDateComment
Jonathan Thu Feb 21 2013
7:48 pm
Students will have to organize and rise up to demand a better education or just peer educate. That would not be hard to organize a peer education program. There was a philosophy podcast that was about a program that trained teachers to be more philosophical in their teaching, they would encourage more critical thinking too. I imagine it will be you to lead your fellow students to protest the poor education model, Montessori education might be a better option where the student chooses what and how they will learn. In college you can do independent contract learning or a prior learning assessment to get credit for what you learn outside the classroom. You can challenge the course and the objectives of any course from an accredited college. I learned of this from the edupunk guide. http://edupunksguide.org/ where I discovered http://www.learningcounts.org/ You need a DIY education, define your life values and dreams and study and do what you need to realize your goals, do not wait to start to teach yourself. You deserve a better education and should demand it from the government and the public. Learn the art of non-violent ways to get what you want. Learn from great effective leaders like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela. Start a cause at www.Causes.org for more training of teachers to make them more interesting and devoted to the lives of the child and society. Educators must make students and society the goal of their lives. Require teachers to take a goal oriented discussions based type of learning with students. Strive for the creation of a student guided inquiry into knowledge where the role of the teacher would be to serve the student's interests, so then you get more motivated students. I can help you, I have an associates degree of arts and sciences and lots of self guided study. I am researching social problems and solutions currently. My Gmail and Gtalk is imjonbean@gmail.com and www.facebook.com/jonathannbean
Anna Sat Feb 23 2013
5:14 pm
Thank you for your comment Jonathan! Our teachers try to push peer education however most group work falls flat due its it being boring. In my more intertesting classes peer discussions works well and students usually come to comprensive answers on their own. I wasn't expecting this to turn into a movement but I'm sick of seeing my peers fail at school and then failing at life. Having students choose their route is a good idea. My best friend is failing most of his classes but he has A's in the ones he enjoys and a B in his online course. Students like him have the potenial to succed but he is drowned by boring and usless classes. What good is a class if you are going to forget all of it in a year? I would love to see the government try this plan out after all they are legalizing marjuana in two states to test how things will work out. It costs 9,000-14,000 dollars per child I believe to send them to school for a year. This plan limits the numbeer of teachers needed which would reduce costs greatly so why not give it a try?
Anna Sat Feb 23 2013
5:15 pm
Thank you for your comment Jonathan! Our teachers try to push peer education however most group work falls flat due its it being boring. In my more intertesting classes peer discussions works well and students usually come to comprensive answers on their own. I wasn't expecting this to turn into a movement but I'm sick of seeing my peers fail at school and then failing at life. Having students choose their route is a good idea. My best friend is failing most of his classes but he has A's in the ones he enjoys and a B in his online course. Students like him have the potenial to succed but he is drowned by boring and usless classes. What good is a class if you are going to forget all of it in a year? I would love to see the government try this plan out after all they are legalizing marjuana in two states to test how things will work out. It costs 9,000-14,000 dollars per child I believe to send them to school for a year. This plan limits the numbeer of teachers needed which would reduce costs greatly so why not give it a try?

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