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Is our education system misdirected?





kitsrock
The answer is yes, according to the film director Vicki Abeles in her film 'Race to Nowhere'



Here, Abeles voices her concern on how the American education system has shifted focus towards achievement and performance, rather than on developing/cultivating necessary skills to be functioning and healthy population.

What are your thoughts? Is this really a problem in American and/or in your own country? Or is this another sensationalistic journalism piece?
deanhills
I don't think this is limited to the United States. It is a world wide phenomenon. And I agree. There is too much emphasis on lessons, learning and competing. This creates so much negative stress and puts a lot of burden on society in terms of those children who just can't cope, get depressed, or become addicted to substances, and then finally just bale out of the treadmill and then get to measure themselves as inadequate. I don't know what the solution is however. As this way of teaching and learning has become so entrenched in society. How can one change this system?
LittleBlackKitten
The education system was built during war time to pump out basic class workers, and today there is little difference. Most kids are forced to pick a trade, medical field, math field, science field, or English field. There's no tolerance or little of it for artists or those interested in fine arts, cooking, or those who need that extra shove in the right direction in order to move forward, on to the correct path. Sure, fine arts/cooking/arts classes are OFFERED, but it has more of a lets-get-your-marks-to-graduate type of class, not a lets-prepare-you-for-life-in-this-career type of class.

It hasn't changed, adapted, or flexed in any way. I found myself passing with good grades and NO knowledge of how to work, where to work, where my skills were, and where my passions were, even WITH career and personal planning classes and extra classes. I even took ANOTHER YEAR OF SCHOOL in order to take more electives, and STILL never found a career. I found a good few hobbies, lifetime friends, and a husband, but nothing else. I'm only just now getting into schooling a carrer that suits my brain, but not my talents, really. I have nothing else to base my skills off of.

In this day and age, school is failing our children - for life.
deanhills
LittleBlackKitten wrote:
In this day and age, school is failing our children - for life.
Not only school in my opinion. But just look at the food that is being fed to children, the medical profession that is mostly geared towards disease rather than preventing disease. Psychiatry being focussed also on identifying what is wrong with children, rather than what is right. Kids certainly has a lot of odds stacked against them. No wonder that teen suicides are so prevalent.
debjitbiswas
The present system of higher education does not serve the purpose for which it has been started. In general education itself has become so profitable a business that quality is lost in the increase of quantity of professional institutions with quota system and politicization adding fuel to the fire of spoil system, thereby increasing unemployment of graduates without quick relief to mitigate their sufferings in the job market of the country. So, the drawbacks of the higher education system underscore the need for reforms to make it worthwhile and beneficial to all concerned.


Next to China, India is the most populated country in the world. Naturally there is too much rush and competition in every field. So, rush to technical and higher education has increased as scope for arts and science has become lesser and lesser due to lack of reforms and up gradation in the course structure and materials according to the developments of the world. Also, qualification in higher education gives added advantage to face successfully competition in the job market.


All round development of personality is the purpose of education. But the present day education is neither imparting true knowledge of life, world and helping one stand on one’s own leg nor improving the talent of a student by which one can achieve laurels in the field one is interested. So, combination of arts subjects and computer science and science and humanities or literature should be introduced so that such courses could be useful for the students to do jobs after recruitment in some companies which would reduce unnecessary rush to higher education.
Navigator
deanhills wrote:
LittleBlackKitten wrote:
In this day and age, school is failing our children - for life.
Not only school in my opinion. But just look at the food that is being fed to children, the medical profession that is mostly geared towards disease rather than preventing disease. Psychiatry being focussed also on identifying what is wrong with children, rather than what is right. Kids certainly has a lot of odds stacked against them. No wonder that teen suicides are so prevalent.


Check this out:

standready
Education starts at home and long before outside schooling starts! If parents are unable (or in many cases - unwilling) to work with their children, that is where education begins to fail. Schools have become the parent's "kid sitters" and television and the internet watch over the kids at home.
phaedrusalt
I would suggest that the workplace is the foundation for this broken system. In a system where the 1) person who is best able to "schmooze" with upper management gets the raise/promotion, or 2) person who "goes along" rather than trying to address problems gets the better office, then our school system is basically in the business of producing people who will go along and schmooze, not innovate or fix things.
linux1993
Yes, it's not very efficient.
Radar
Agreed.

It comes down to what is a measure of intelligence. The answer, of course, is intelligence tests. What defines a good intelligence tests? If intelligent people can answer them well. And so you have a cycle.

Not sure how you break out of that mindset, but there it is.
Qantas94Heavy
kitsrock wrote:
The answer is yes, according to the film director Vicki Abeles in her film 'Race to Nowhere'



Here, Abeles voices her concern on how the American education system has shifted focus towards achievement and performance, rather than on developing/cultivating necessary skills to be functioning and healthy population.

What are your thoughts? Is this really a problem in American and/or in your own country? Or is this another sensationalistic journalism piece?


I have seen in Australia that many higher education students are not leading members of the society as their marks would make people believe, while other students that you could consider "smart" by their attitude and their learning ability are not getting the marks needed to go in a career where their intelligence really shines out. Teachers only hand out worksheets to students and prepare their homework and even classwork around tests, which teachers use as a measurement of achievement. When students ask why they are doing this, the teacher's tell them that: "You are not going to get good marks in your Common Test if you do not do this."

This is the mindset drilled into many students of this latest generation and can explain their activities a bit. No wonder that they feel that it's the end of the world if they don't get good marks, and perceive themselves as failures, causing them to not bother to try and learn. They feel that they are not going to suceed in life, so they don't try and learn harder. I have seen a student who is extremely smart, apparently has got 149 in an IQ test, yet he still gets Bs and Cs in his report. Why? I asked him this exact question. His response: "They don't care about what you are going to do for your work. All they care about is ranking you from top to bottom using your marks and singling people out. It simply upsets people and makes yhem feel like they are 'not good enough'." I personally think hat's it is rather sad when people like that (and he's actually a quite nice person) say that about their school and education. He already goes to a "selective" high school (which is a place for people deemed to be "gifted and talented"), yet he feels the same, if not worse than when he went to his local school.

I wonder if this experience is echoed around the world, because if it is indeed so, we could have a big issue on our hands...

Another
subhan1
It may look easy to say but I am damn sure we all are misguided !
c'tair
I also believe our education system is completely misguided. The one in the US as well as the one in my country.

I believe that the problem has two sides - one side is a slackening in the academic grading standards and the other side is not teaching critical skills.

For the first problem, consider the fact that now almost everyone goes to college or another higher institution of learning and they get A's in subjects like Gender Studies or English. It's so easy to get a 4.0GPA just by choosing the easy courses. Additionally, the greater evil is that non-scientific courses seem to have completely disengaged from meticulous and objective grading. In classes like English, it's all about "feeling". No one teaches how to write a good, communicative, unified, and coherent essay anymore, it's all about "write an essay how you feel about X". No wonder people have trouble with communication when they simple were never taught how to do it properly. Also, think about this effect when somebody is learning - they are reading but they are not understanding. Simply put, they were not taught the rigorous process of putting abstract thoughts into understandable sentences and vice versa.

The second problem is kinda tied to the first. Since people aren't taught how to critically examine reality around them, instead opting for "how do you feel about this" approach, it makes teaching objective things like math, physics, science much harder because suddenly, they cannot grasp that there is only one correct answer and feelings have nothing to do with it.

Personally, I'd be for the return of the early 20th century rigor in teaching reading and writing as well as adding much more math classes. However, math teachers would have to be really qualified for their jobs, not just someone who got a bachelors in mathematics education or some BS like that. A good teacher makes all the difference for students and all the math teachers I had so far, except one, were really bad. They could not show math in it's glory, until that one teacher that did and I suddenly turned from an F student to an A student in math.
deanhills
c'tair wrote:
They could not show math in it's glory, until that one teacher that did and I suddenly turned from an F student to an A student in math.
This is very true for me too. I was a D student on my way to F, and then a new teacher in my two final high school years made all of the difference. Math completely changed from complicated to simple and doable.
c'tair
deanhills wrote:
c'tair wrote:
They could not show math in it's glory, until that one teacher that did and I suddenly turned from an F student to an A student in math.
This is very true for me too. I was a D student on my way to F, and then a new teacher in my two final high school years made all of the difference. Math completely changed from complicated to simple and doable.


Did also continue to go to fun and exciting? Up until a point I only saw math as doing problems from books. Not anymore, now I wanna apply it to everything I can and I gotta admit that working with math somehow made something click in my brain and I've become better at other abstract subjects like physics, chemistry, computer science.
inuyasha
As is believed by many Chinese, the education system of the United States is well developed, emphasizes creativity more than skills, and aims at ~ And that's a reason or an example for many Chinese experts to draw a conclusion that the education system here is misdirected. Wink

Deanhills is right~ It's a problem in almost all the countries.
In China, students are tired of loads of tests or exams, which is believed to indicate the level of a student and is used as a tool for schools to select students. It's said that nowadays Chinese are increasingly utilitarian, especially the new generations.

Perhaps it's not a problem of the education system but the misdirected values.
iyepes
Yes in many senses, but by know nobody has found an easy way to solve it.

There's also a movie (in spanish) that talks about this, however even the pedagogical solutions it shows are very old (Montessori model by example) there's no way, by now, to apply it to hundreds of children in groups of 50 as we have in schools today.

c'tair
Well, I stumbled upon another article which criticizing the way teaching is done in the US. This time, it's actually from a teacher from North Carolina. While I have only attended to 4 years of public school (not including higher education), I must say that what this dude says strikes really close to what I see in my fellow students who just came out of high school and into my college.

It's a really good, although heartbreaking, read:
http://dianeravitch.net/2012/10/27/nc-teacher-i-quit/
Possum
I remember at school learning about the orbits of electrons. I have yet to use this knowledge.
codegeek
In my view, children do need to be taught basic knowledge to a certain extent. However, after a certain point, selective and specialized knowledge based on one's individual interests and aptitudes must be provided, as opposed to shoving piles of useless books down one's throat. Especially in developing countries like Nepal, there is a tendency to force certain pre-defined subject matter onto the students even at the university level. There is a far greater restriction on the subjects one can choose in such a system than in the credit-based system prevalent in the developed world. For example, I am a student of computer engineering. However, I had to study subjects like Applied Mechanics and Engineering Drawing in my first year at college. One might argue that these subjects might once in a blue moon come in handy during my professional career(for example, if i want to make a Physics based game.) However, that is a rarity and not a part of the everyday work of a computer engineer. If all such rarities are to be accounted for, then I would pretty much have to study History, Geography, Political Science, Economics and basically everything in order to graduate as a "proper" software engineer. That would, of course, be absurd. So, a radical change has definitely been long due in the education sector of the developing countries.
shashwatblack
Am i wrong to have thought that the education system in the developed countries (US, European countries) is good? You can choose what subjects to study right from school level, and you're given ample resources and guidance for learning, aren't you?
It's wayyy different in developing countries, Nepal, India, African Nations among many.
You are not given a choice, and studying means to study the same subjects no matter if it is what you want to study. Rote learning is yet another problem. When students are supposed to use their creativity, imagination, and abilities to learn, they are forced to learn what their teachers learned during their times. It doesn't end there, the evaluation system is worse. It is done solely on the basis of written exams consisting of the same questions that are in the book, that the students mugged up a day before, and are now vomiting them all over the answer sheets. And all for what you ask? Better grades. Grades are all that matter. To companies, to society, to family. I was once forbidden to watch tv, or use computer or even go outside to play for a month just because a friend scored more than me.
Why do you learn? To get a job and earn? Yes actually. But wouldn't it be much better for everyone if the more deserving candidates for the job were those who actually know what they are doing than those who have everything learnt by heart?
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