Education Reset

reset

Just a note before you start reading.  I originally wrote this full of expletives.  To get the real feel of what I mean you can substitute the “f***ed-bomb” wherever I’ve used “messed”.

We need a reset button.  A reset button for education.  We need to try turning it off and on again.  Somewhere along the way we messed up.  I mean the collective we of course, the multi-generational we that has systematically messed up education and reduced it to a numbers game; a  keno with a few winners and many more losers.

A reboot wouldn’t be enough though would it?  We’d still have the same guts in the machine.  The same ghosts of mass education’s factory fodder origins.  The same targeted curriculum areas, same bias, same old same old.  Same shit, different day. And still messed up.

I’ve lost count of the number of curriculum review meetings I’ve been to.  You know the ones.  Where we sit around with pens and paper, cutting and pasting learning outcomes, achievement objectives, rubrics and processes until they look different, but say the same.  Maybe we’ll plug in an ICT component, you know, so it’s integrated.  A semantic shuffle and same old messed up same old.

So a reset for education isn’t enough.  We need something bigger, more drastic.  It’s messed up and we keep trying to  fix it by narrowing focus, shaving corners, bolting on new subjects and reordering others.

Sir Ken Robinson and others talk about a learning revolution, but what does that mean?

Given a clean slate how would you set about creating a new education system?  Would it be location based?  What role would institutions play, if any?  What would you include, how would it be weighted, what would its purpose be?  There are plenty of posts and ideas about personalized learning, creativity based learning, pull vs push and lifelong learning, but what would any of these look like?

Or am I wrong?  Is education not as “messed” up as I think?

15 Responses

  1. I agree entirely with you. The education system is well and truly ‘messed’ up but I think you are perhaps a bit too negative. Within that messed up system there are thousands of great teachers trying to change what happens within their own classrooms. I’ve been doing it for 30 yrs now and while I agree that a lot of my energy is wasted on SS DD nonsense, I think I make a difference to my kids and that’s a ‘something.’
    The real problem is, who has time to start over? The people who could create the real reform are too busy in their classrooms (and too busy cutting and pasting and ‘brainstorming’ on great big pieces of butcher’s paper). The people who have the time for reform are too busy shoring up votes before their 3 yr terms of office or department contracts run out.

    • You’re right of course. There are thousands of teachers around the world working around the system, making a difference for kids and and their communities. I was listening to a radio programme (with an environmental focus) earlier today about the short termism of politicians and their unwillingness to commit to any reform that doesn’t appear to yield measurable results during their term of office. What’s needed is something out of the control of politicians, a global movement that puts education back into the people’s hands (if it was ever there). Unlikely I know.

  2. I agree with your post and I don’t think you’re being too negative. However I am very lucky to be teaching in Scotland where we are trying to change things with the curriculum for excellence (www.ltscotland.org.uk). For me teaching is becoming exciting again. The emphasis is more on letting the pupils take ownership of their learning and making it more creative, active and hands on. The impact in my classroom has been great – the children are more motivated and engaged in their learning and the ethos in the classroom is amazing! However the school I’m in are quite far down the line with C of E but not every school in Scotland is in the same position, it’s going to take time to change people’s mindsets but if this happens then education in Scotland will never be the same.

    • I’ve read good things about the directions that Scottish education is taking and I hear envious talk of its progressive work. You hit the nail there… mindset’s the thing that has to change, of teachers, parents, students, administrators and politicians. Get it right and you’ll become a model for much of the world.

  3. A good friend of mine says we can’t do anything until the educational system completely crashes. We are nearly there I sometimes think. But I keep trying. We all do. You do too.

    What next? I think the “system” will break apart and there will be many systems. The public system will be hardest hit.

    Maybe we should just say no: to tests, grades, sameole/sameole. A strike of gigantic proportions. No, not a strike. Just do it differently and dare someone to take us on.

  4. Hi! I agree with you completely! I believe the education system needs a reboot; a new way to teach the curriculum, and maybe even a new curriculum. Although this is a big deal to me as a future educator, many people do not care. This is sad because the children who are being affected by this awful system are our future, and we are damaging it. The only people who seem to be concerned with this issue are the ones who are being paid by the education system, other than that, it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone. Thank you for caring enough to post this blog. Maybe others will be able to see how much of a problem this is becoming.
    -Kayla

  5. Okay, I absolutely love your blog. Let me if you do not mind add my 2 cents. I am student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 and I have a few opinions. First, we do not need negative professors telling us that we can not make a difference, let’s give them the boot. I told one teacher, that if the education system could not be changed by a mere teacher, then by golly I would be our 2nd female Governor. He was left speechless. Next, if our educational system is a computer and its dying, then lets do what I did. Let’s call it what it is, a piece of crap. I recently put my fancy dell up, its a big computer, not portable, can’t be taken to school, and simply not what I needed to move forward as an educator. So do I sit around and cry about the money that I spent on it, and continue to use it, just so my money isn’t wasted? Should I box it up and move on, forget about what I spent and find what I need? I think we should scrap it all and start over with something different. In real life I boxed my dell because it was holding me back and I went in search of what I needed, and it cost me yes, but it was worth it. I now have an android cell and a netbook. Sometimes we have to not wait for it to crash but box it, move on, re-invest, head in a new direction and then and only then can we start a REVOLUTION.

  6. I may not agree with your choice of words, but i do agree with your opinion of the educational system. How about this, lets re-educate the teachers and teach them to educate students in a diverse society. How can you educate someone, and you know nothing about them. The courses in the current curriculum, are geared towards years of the dominant culture. The minority cultures are being grouped and categorized, based on how little they know, about something they’ve never been exposed to. Why are kids acting out and being bored in class? You tell me!!!

  7. I agree that the educational system is completely “messed” up. I also love Sir Ken Robinson’s speeches and ideas. However, I think the possibility of an entire system reboot is highly unlikely to happen anywhere in our near future.

    Creativity should be a required course. So should technology. They are honestly more important and useful in today’s society. However, the chance of them replacing the core courses we are all so accustomed to including math, science, english, and history, is almost non-existent.

    I also think that education should revolve far more around technology. There are so many negative environmental and physical side effects of using text books, pencils, papers, etc. Computers would make education must more effective.

    I really enjoyed how honest you were in your blog. I liked that you used expressions like “shit.” Your target audience is obviously educators and future educators who are all adults (or at least in the sense that they are all over 18). I noticed you censored the f word (which may have been a good choice to avoid drama) but I like that you used other expletives. I am so tired of reading blan blogs or articles who censor their work so closely it seems generic simply because they are afraid of criticism or opposition.

    I am a junior at the University of South Alabama currently enrolled in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class. I look forward to reading some more of your blogs. I will be summarizing what I read in your article sometime next week in my own class blog. Feel free to visit it anytime at My Class Blog ,
    AnnMerritt Taylor

  8. Hello! My name is Rebekah Lloyd and I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. If you would like to read my thoughts on your post, or see what my class is about, please visit my class blog. I agree that the educational system is “messed” up. The institution is so focused on tests and scores, that the actual children taking the tests become a second thought. There are many educators out there trying desperately to fix the issue, but I think that – in the end – it will crash before it gets better. The public institution has been set up for so long, that the only way for it to leave is to fail, and it is well on its way. What we, as educators, need to be ready to do is have a solution in our hands that is ready to be implemented. We need an effective plan for the failure of the current school system. What is that plan? I do not know, but I am willing to learn from men like Sir Ken Robinson in order to find out. I will use the resources around me to find a solution and then try to use some of the ideas in my classroom!

  9. Let it crash. Education has to be wrestled out of government and political hands so that learning may flourish.

  10. Hello,

    My name is Chelsea and I’m a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama.

    I completely agree. The education system needs a reset. I personally hate that I, and every other student, has to worry about a number/letter grade instead of worrying about if they actually know the material and can use it on anything but a test. OR even remember it -after- the test.

    The education system needs a reset, yes, but what should be done after that reset takes place? And who’s to say what’s going to be the best route to take? I hope whatever the new system ends up being, if a reset is found, technology is incorporated more into school. Not to mention creativity.

  11. great work!
    My name is Kelsey and I am also a student in Dr. Strange’s class at the University of South Alabama.
    I, along with almost everyone that has commented on your blog, also believe that the education system needs to be reset. I have a learning disability and test anxiety so having your test scores and letter grades be all that is looked at is not in for my advantage. I can study for hours for something, but when the test comes I freeze up and forget it causing me to not do so well. I have never been one to excel in the standardized test which is a downfall for me, such as trying to get into an university.
    If the school system would be reset there is no telling if it would have a positive or negative effect on the schools, but who will know if the chance is never taken?
    I enjoyed reading your blog, and will be back to read more, hopefully.

  12. I totally agree that the education system needs a reset. I am currently a student at the University of South Alabama, and there are some teachers that have that 1960s way of teaching, that paper and pen syndrome, where we have to write everything they put on the board and when the test comes it has nothing to do with what I have written on my paper. We need this as future educators so that the generation to come will not be left behind in education. I’m game. *clicks reset*

  13. I think our education system does need a reboot and I agree with the comment made by Kevin McLaughlin. I think a lot of this nonsense comes from state officials and administrators that are not and have not ever been in a classroom with children.
    I just recently was assigned a website to review and I found a letter on the website from a frustrated principal. A preschool teacher at his school was cited for “inappropriate instruction” for reading chapter books to her students. It was a state inspector that actually cited the teacher. You would expect a state official that has been assign to evulate a teacher would have more research and knowledge about the development of children.
    From reading the letter, Jim Trelease had made a visit to the school previously and encourage the preschool teachers to read chapter book to their students. In the letter, the principal is asking Jim Trelease to share any information so he can in turn, provide it to the state. It says the teacher stood her ground and explained to the state inspector,she knew the developmental levels of her children and chose her books accordingly, picture and chapter. I thought, good for her! I think it is important to know the development levels of the children in our classroom so we can teach accordingly. I think this is what makes a great teacher.
    http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/essay-of-week.html

    When I think of the school system rebooting, I thought about my county’s school system. I live in Creola, Alabama and our current school system is Mobile County public schools. Just recently, within the last couple of years, one school pull out of the county school system and create their own city school system… I guess you could say they rebooted! We now have other schools wanting to do the same. I think change is good.