Friday, March 2, 2012

Too-Much Teaching Is the Problem with Not-Enough Learning:

02 MARCH 2012

The Challenge with Education in America today is the focus on teaching. If we really want our American kids to learn, America needs to focus on learning.

Given That the U.S. is such an anti-intellectual country (in which the President of the United States was called a snob, earlier this week, for wanting every kid to be able to go to college), it’s hardly surprising that our educational results are going down the tubes.

If you meet many teachers in American public schools, you will meet quite a few people with college-infused theories about how to teach young minds. What you won’t find is very many people for whom learning—the actual, lifetime practice of learning new and challenging things—is much of a priority at all.

That is, if you’re looking for intellectuals and highly inquisitive people, America’s elementary and secondary schools are not a very good place to find them.

This Non-intellectual or Anti-intellectual American attitude dominates our schools. Looking around in any school, all that you see is the evidence of teaching—with the results of rote-learned teaching exercises mounted in a few glass-fronted cabinets in the front halls. What you won’t see is much evidence of real learning.

It’s this misguide focus that leads our educational system astray.

With the Increase in inter-ethnic marriages, those cultures that promote and stress the importance of knowledge are starting to lose out to the generic, anti-intellectual American mix—that focuses on sports stars, rock stars, movie stars, and six-year-olds dressed up like beauty queens. While equal opportunity for all, in the great American melting pot, is essential to the American experiment, one current result of this grand experiment is an ardently pursued reversion to the mean.

“Reversion to the mean” of intellectual accomplishment is not the kind of educational achievement that will lead America to Mars and beyond. Or to energy independence with alternative, yet-to-be-invented technologies. Nor will it lead us to cures for cancer, nor cure the common cold.

“As seen on TV™”? Sure. But your better mousetraps? Not so much...

Henry Ford was proudly belligerent about his school-based ignorance. What he knew how to do was to think. “How to think” is the primary objective of a good education.

Not “How to teach.” But “How to learn.”

Americans Who Have Home-Schooled Their Kids (whether for academic or for faith-based reasons) know how much the desire for learning is built into practically every child. Many of our most-successful, highest-achieving, home-schooled students are those raised under the concept of “un-schooling,” which nurtures the child’s innate desire to learn, learn, learn.

You never hear home-schooled families talking about “teach, teach, teach.”

Many home-schooled kids never encounter a formal “test” until they head toward college. But once these kids walk in the doors of the college admission offices and start taking the tests, their test scores shine.

If kids left to their own learning devices learn better than those who lumber through America’s schools, then it’s clearly not a question of testing.

The problem is the focus on teaching—such as “teaching to the test”—that interferes with the natural processes of learning.

The Obvious Problem with American Schools Today—and with our anti-intellectual society in general—is that there’s not enough learning.

But these limits on learning are merely the symptom:

It’s the Focus Too-Much on Teaching
That Keeps Shutting America’s Young Minds

(($; -)}

No comments:

Post a Comment