5 Problems With Today's Educational System
Where I am coming from...
I am teacher. This is my fourteenth year of teaching. I have predominantly been teaching in Australia. I have taught in a rural school and two city schools. I am currently teaching overseas. I teach Mathematics and Science to high school grade students. The opinions that I express below are my own and may or may not represent other teachers views. That said,here are what I think are the 5 major issues today in the educational contexts that I have taught in.
The five major issues
1. It's not my fault!
2. Cult of the individual
3. Everyone is a winner
4. Life is good so why try harder...
Its not my fault.....
Our society has taken the no blame approach too far. By this I mean no one takes responsibility for anything. Think about it. When you get a new car insurance policy and you read its guidelines, one of the first things that it recommends after an accident it not to accept responsibility. It warns you not to utter statements after an accident like " I am sorry it was all my fault".
This response has gone to ridiculous extremes in schools. I have seen students committing a transgression and when I have questioned them over it, their response has been " I didn't do it" even though I have seen the behaviour with my own eyes. unsurprisingly this bizarre response is reinforced by parents. A real life example I have witnessed occurred when a student threw his shoe on to the roof. He then climbed onto the roof to retrieve it. A duty teacher saw this and took him to the deputy. The deputy principal called the boys father and the fathers response was " so what's the problem... he was getting his shoe back". Lets not worry that the boy might have fallen off the roof and permanently injured himself and or others. If that had occurred the parents response would have been "my sons hurt and its all your fault... why didn't a duty teacher stop him".
I am not claiming that all parents are unsupportive of school discipline, guidance and proceedures but those that are not supportive or downright antagonistic have increased since I started teaching.
2. Cult of the individual
In schools the cult of the individual as in society is at its zenith. The individual is the most important and students are well aware of their rights. What is lacking is the reinforcement of responsibility.
Students and much of society only want the rights i.e I have the right to do what I want with no regard to the rights of others... This is played out everyday in classrooms when one student continually misbehaves impacting on the rights of all the others to learn.
The sense of community due in the West to the minimizing of families and our own self righteousness is on the increase. This is of course felt in schools where teachers try to foster a sense of community with students who increasing have poor communication skills and an inflated sense of their own self importance.
How does this effect education.. well learning is a social phenomenon and without relationships it is that much harder.
3. Everyone's a winner
In Educations quest to make everyone feel good about themselves, no one really fails anymore. This is setting up the youth of today to believe that they can succeed at anything. Whilst in theory this sounds admirable in reality we are creating monsters who never get told " you cant".
This sets up sudents who enter the workforce with an unrealistic ideal. If you continually dont submit your reports on time your boss wont say " good try better luck next time" he or she will say" 'you're fired!"
4. Life is good why try harder...
Life in Australia is nice. The weather is good, there is enough space and if you don't work these things are still true. Some students have realised this and have decided to take the approach if I don't try.. I cant fail and my life will still be OK...
This means that a significant group of students don't try at school as they know that the Australian taxpayer will pick up the bill in terms of welfare for the rest of their lives.
Or excuse me when do I get time to plan for my lessons. In the time that I have been a teacher the accountability that teachers must show has increased.. this means that there is less time to plan for students and more time to fill in forms and attend meetings.. Ironically those teachers who struggle get rewarded with more time to do these things by being given extra time off or less responsibility as they cant be trusted. Whilst the capable ones just get more work to do.
These issues in a nutshell are my top 5 reasons that education is in the doldrums. How to fix these issues....
1. Parents need to be more involved in their child's education and in their childs life... A good teacher is no substitute for caring and concerned parents/guardians
2. Pay teachers what they are worth. Teachers are one of the most important groups in our society they educate our most precious resource our youth.
3. Give teachers back the time they need to do their core buisiness... teaching and planning for teaching.
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