Education is a main pillar of today’s society. In stating this I wonder why we are still using an education system designed in Prussia in 1893. The world had changed ten fold since then but yet our education system still remains unchanged. In 1893 Prussia designed a school system that created organization in a way that would help their army. The founders of major factories during the Industrial Revolution, like Henry Ford, saw the new style of schooling and thought that it would help to organize workers working on the assembly line. It was slowly implemented into schools throughout the world to create workers nationwide that all had the same skills to be able to run the assembly line. The changes that were made lead to an amazing jump in education at that time but now it needs to be changed again.
Currently we have students spend hours listening to the teacher talk, then we proceed to read about what our teachers talked about, followed by the answering of some questions. This process is then followed by a test to see how much of the information we remember. Usually, just a few weeks later we do not remember much of what we covered. You begin to question just how efficient our education system is. It is not the teachers fault. There are expectations on the teachers to cover a certain amount of information throughout the year, a.k.a the curriculum. In some cases the students are expected to write government issued exams at the end of the year. Those exams contain information from all parts of the curriculum which means the teachers are required to get through all the content within the curriculum just to give their students a fighting chance on the exams.
While watching MLTS this week I found a school that has decided to break the traditional school system and are trying a different style of teaching. Instead of teaching to the exams the teachers are teaching in a way that allows more than book skills to develop. They encourage the development of the “soft skills” such as self-confidence and teamwork. The students are given a lot more freedom in how they express what they have learned. Instead of writing a test about the Roman Empire they might perform a play instead. Cross curriculum activities are encouraged. Why not do a project that combines math and history? This school is called High Tech High and is located in California. This school has been given special permission to try this style of teaching. Currently, it is not possible for all schools to make this much of a change. While some parents have questioned whether or not their children will still have the same result on the state-wide and nation wide exams, the results have been positive. The school averages are about ten percent higher than the state average and has a ninety-eight percent acceptance rate into universities. This different style of teaching may make some uncomfortable for it is not the norm, but it allows students to grow and develop in ways that will be very helpful when being hired into the workforce. It has been over one hundred years since the last change in the school system. I think it is time for another change.
Image source: http://nbnotewell.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-best-educational-cartoon-ever-ever.html