Schooling is an important part of any developed nation. Without education, we, as human beings, can never advance. So it’s all well and good that we’ve had an education system in place for some while now. But just how effective actually is it? Are we actually teaching our children & filling them with the thirst for knowledge, or are we just telling them what to think, what to do, and teaching them only how to pass exams?
For a long time now, the education system has had me in a rut. Being a teacher myself, I get first hand experience of the fragility and instability of how we go about teaching our children. I get to truly see the low standards in employing teachers, most of whom see it as an easy, secure job, with good pay & great holiday, as opposed to having even the slightest passion to educate the future of society. Teachers now seem to care more about their unions, and disrupting schools to go on strike demanding more pay, during a time when the entire country & most government paid departments are cash-strapped. And this is exactly the problem stopping us from breaking away from this; the unions have organizations in a choke hold. Reform can’t happen without a retaliation from the unions and huge disruptions to schooling, with nobody willing to take the risk. A huge factor in the education of a child, is the quality of their teachers. If they have great teachers which they respect, they are more likely to do better. The passion & thirst for knowledge will most probably rub off onto the student. Don’t you realize how you only truly remember the greatest teachers when you look back on your school years? Imagine if they were all great!
The teachers, however, only make up a part of the problem. The biggest problem in my eyes, is the system in general. They way it’s taught, what we teach. I saw a great analogy of the education system – one that I’m sure many of you have seen online. A teacher is sat at a desk outside, with a tree in the background. Opposite him are a number of different animals, ranging from a tiger, to a goldfish. The teacher than tells these ‘students’, that in order for it to be a fair test, each animal must climb the tree. Obviously this will be very easy for some, and impossible for others. Unfortunately, this is our education system, and it’s the conventional way it has been for generations. Nothing radical has been implemented, and we now live in an age where the population is much greater, along with it being compulsory that all children receive an education. We also live in a highly technological age – something we should be taking advantage of. Knowledge is available to us instantly, and we are far more enlightened these days. Which is precisely why we can’t go on teaching like we do.
The way I see it, and the way I felt at school, was that rather than being driven to acquire knowledge, and enlighten our minds, we are instead taught to think in a certain way, and really only taught how to pass an exam so that it looks good on the school records. We aren’t taught much real knowledge. This, coupled with the conventional ways of teaching, is completely unhealthy in a modern, technological society. We need to find new ways to excite & educate our children. At the school I work at, we decided a great way to teach the younger year 3 children mathematics is to take them outside to be active in the playground. This way, we keep them engaged because they are outdoors, in the fresh air being active (where else does a 7 year old want to be?) as opposed to stuck in the monotonous environment of the classroom. We recently got a whole playground full of maths floor & wall markings, which means the children learn whilst having fun. And that’s what education should be. It should be fun. And the results we have seen speak for themselves. They keep performing better than the previous years that didn’t have these play facilities. Now we need to implement ideas like this into every aspect of teaching.
In the end, it will be down to how creative schools can be, how they can keep creativity within students, keep them engaged, and make learning fun. Children can easily teach themselves everything they learn at school and much more, just by spending time online. But most won’t, which is why schools must now be a catalyst for this. The education system must become engaging, exciting, fun, whilst accommodating every kind of learner. An emphasis must be put on teaching knowledge, not just how to pass an exam. An emphasis must be put on rousing children’s curiosity, so that they go and willingly learn in their own spare time.