The Current State of Public Education

The post is analysis of Sir Ken Robinson’s video on Education, which you can link to above.

Society is desperately trying to reform education, so students can compete in the 21st Century. The problem with the current model of education is that it’s based on old assumptions. This model, based upon the Industrial Revolution, claims if you study hard and get a degree you will be offered a high paying job. Students and parents now know this is not always the case. The economic conditions over the last ten years clearly supports the fact that this is not the case. This is why companies like Apple have training programs available right out of high school.

The current model of education is also causing an alarming amount of attention disease among students. These children are being drugged up in staggering numbers. Some of the culprits include Video Games, IPhones, Tablets, etc., because they need the stimulation to break free from boring and repetitive academic teaching. There is also a correlation between more standardized tests and attention disease as well. Mr. Robinson calls these routine teaching methods “Aesthetic”, meaning lack of engagement. He calls some teaching (ART for example), Esthetic, because it forces children to learn in the present moment and it brings your senses alive. The more direct student engagement, the better. Esthetic teaching can wakes up what is already inside of you. Mr. Robinson also speaks about production line teaching. This is where kids are lumped together solely by age instead of natural abilities and desires. Finally he wraps up the video and talks about Divergent Thinking. This is sadly something children are not taught in the regular education program.

Here is an example of Divergent Thinking. “Tell us all the ways you can use a paper clip”. A great divergent thinker may come up with 200 different ways and ask questions like, “Can the paperclip expand 200 feet and be made of rubber?” He is talking about open minds, collaboration, and creative solutions. The sad part is that Kindergarten children scored nearly perfect on divergent thinking tests. The higher the grade level the worse the results became.

Sir Ken Robinson has many great ideas on how to improve public education.

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