- Education and Science
Educational system in Croatia
As a former student in preparation of becoming a teacher, I hereby list some of the points I have managed to structure throughout the years in hope that some of them may liven up, not just in theory, but become fully realized in practice!
Quality versus quantity
► A huge portion of unrelated information leads to apathy, alienation from reality and suppressed emotions. Instead of physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy individuals we are in a way responsible for mass production of robot like disciples, in lack of a better term. Power does not lie in superficial knowledge! We need to teach pupils how to think, which is far from plain memorization of terms and facts!
Creative freedom in ways of teaching
► Innovation is welcome, self-education should walk side by side with exterior sources of education, materials such as clay, colorful marbles should oust boring and usual ways of solving math problems! Independent and long-term projects develop a sense of responsibility, as well as a general idea of labor and investment, and since the theme of the project is a personal choice, it is much more likely that a pupil will adhere research with interest! Trips to nature (interdisciplinary field work) should illustrate spring flowers better than any textbook on nature and biology, furthermore, listening to soothing and relaxing music while writing essays may help encourage child's imagination and inspiration.
Somewhat different goals
► Education which encourages critical thinking, environmental awareness, humanity in people and uniqueness of the individual. I also believe that we need to take care of the psychological needs of our pupils, a psychologist should be known as an accessible, helping person that shall not bring you shame if you pay them a visit. A chatty, kind, problem solving individual who is ready to listen to your personal problems, instead of a person you visit only when you do something wrong.
Productive parent-teacher meetings
► Personally, I think that the parent-teacher meetings should also be attended by pupils themselves. After all, it is pupils’ doing in school we are discussing. There is a practice in Croatian schools where pupils are absolutely excluded from participating in such meetings, but rather get the results from parents after they greet them at home.
Sometimes less IS more
► Reduced number of pupils in the classroom provides better quality of teaching, as well as it opens up more jobs for teachers.
Testing the staff
► Teaching staff should be submitted to periodic testing in order to prove themselves 'worthy' and maintain the position. I believe that constant upgrading of the self, being informed and up to date is an imperative in the age of (dizzyingly proliferating) information that we are witnessing. .
Focus on what matters
► When I was about to apply for college, my first choice was studying English and Croatian language. However, even though I aced the languages, math results ruined my score and I wasn't able to enroll. Despite the fact I was brilliant at it (97% and 94% as my languages test results) and no, math was not a subject at the college I was interested in, in fact, there was no trace of it there. None whatsoever. How does this make sense? It does not, for it is merely but a prolonging of such an educational system that was crooked at its very start. If somebody is interested in math, let them focus on math, physics and chemistry, if someone is interested in biology there is no need to tire them with history all that much.
I often ask myself the following question: "Why did no one at my earliest age (which is characterized by elasticity, flexibility, curiosity, interest and a hunger for discovery and knowledge), at the very beginning of my education point out its purpose, the goal of learning and motivated me in attending primary school with interest?" Before I got my bearings, I am sitting by my desk and writing monotonous rows of 'A'. I finished elementary school so that I could enroll in high school, which is preparation for college, which is preparation for future job. I ask you, why are we not being prepared for life? Why instead of subjects such as the Latin, which I studied for 2 years, are we not participating in a subject that teaches self-actualization, self-realization, personal development and growth, why are we not learning about the real world and that we should not believe everything the media serves, about the starving children of Africa that need our help, tolerance and respect for each other's differences and to spread love, peace and joy because that is our main mission in the longest and most exciting journey called life? Please, why do we fail to teach students how to critically examine and reflect our reality?
The answer is as it goes: it is because our educational system, put in the crudest, simplest way, through monotonous and standardized tests, activities that contribute more to the very particular university (we have now passed primary school)- to a lesser extent contributing the student, trough entrance exams and blind submission to authority focuses on creating hordes of competent system engineers (something like workers in McDonald’s, each specializing specifically for one activity in the manufacturing process), while ignoring the most important moral, political and cultural questions.
To which extent are you satisfied with your education?
Radical evil only becomes possible if in its origin cooperates confused and intimidated population, only with the help of advertising and mass media, which do not offer anything other than spectacle and entertainment, and educational system that does not promote higher values and does not nurture the ability to develop individual conscience.
I conclude the topic with Hoggart :
''The student can master so called learning techniques, mastering the facts. Learn how to receive education in exclusively written way, using only a small part of his personality and that means a challenge to a very limited area of his being. He becomes skilled facts reproducer, but that is rarely followed by real enthusiasm. Seldom does he with his own pulse feel the reality of knowledge, the reality of other people's thoughts and ideas.''— Hoggart
The above listed is my own thoughts on how education was presented to me and ways it could be changed for the better. Are you satisfied with what the school has taught you? Do you feel like you left with something valuable being given to you? If not, share your thoughts either way!
21st Century Skills
This video covers 21st century skills which are creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, media litearcy, information literacy, problem solving for learners.
Changing Education Paradigms
This RSA Animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award.