How it should be done
Education is, in my view, one of the most critical components of a developed and a continually developing society. Being able to educate people is critical in developing people that are knowledgeable and able to take on the world's problems of the present and the future.
It's critical for the school systems to be continually developing too, but far too often, they are the ones that are lacking behind where they could be. .
There are three different learning domains that nearly, if not, all different types of learning fall into. Being able to understand the different domains and how to constantly and consistently improve each one will lead to a better overall education system.
I will focus my thoughts into these three to talk about the different things associated with each one. Learning and education are general terms that have many parts to them, so focusing in on the different parts of them is critical to understanding and improving them.
The cognitive domain
The cognitive domain is the domain that we are all probably the most familiar with. It's the domain we use when we are learning about subjects like math and science. It is also the domain that is most commonly targeted and valued in the educational system.
I would think that the various cognitive based academic programs would be extremely comprehensive and diverse to reflect the individual needs and individuality of every different student.
But sadly that isn't the case. I have found, from my school time, that many programs are extremely general. They tend to be separated into three categories: remedial, general, and advanced.
One of the big problems I have seen with this type of system is that once you were on one track, usually determined before high school, you were stuck on that track until you graduated. It was easier to move done in difficulty, but every difficult to move up. Movement up or down was not encouraged by teachers or administrators unless a student was an outlier in their class in either being extremely successful or extremely unsuccessful.
i hated how I wasn't challenged in math when I dropped done to general math after I had a terrible time in geometry. I was terrible at geometry. I managed a B in the class, but I understand nearly nothing of what was taught in class. But once I was back to algebra, I did astronomically better in it as I had down in years past.
The school system failed in developing a course progression that would have allowed me to be challenged in my algebraic skills, but not as challenged with geometry. The system is too cut and dry. There needs to be individuality for students. I could have just easily been the opposite in my math and needed a different progression through math. Curriculum should be catered to individual's needs, so their potential and abilities can be maximized.
There was little incentive of trying to challenge oneself in math or science. I had no incentive to stay in a more challenging math or science for that matter. After my freshmen year of high school, I was recommended for honors science, but I chose to stay in regular. I did this for one simply reason. I didn't want to do science fair. The school was fine in me not challenging myself and encouraging me take honors, just as long as I maintained passing grades.
Too often schools are focused on "passing" and not excelling. As long as you are doing "average" work, that student is not a problem or ever focused on. That is a big problem because most students are not in the extremes but are somewhere in the middle.
This is perhaps the biggest problems in schools today. There is not enough emphasis on getting the "average" student to be above average or exceptional. There is emphasis placed on the top and bottom threshold of students, but the average student is left to peddle away in meritocracy.
The psychomotor domain is probably the least emphasized domain in schools. The inability to emphasize this domain has a negative effect on students and on their futures. With the skills to effectively move around in the physical world, people will be more likely to pursue things that lead to having a healthier life.
Physical education is a class that can be beneficial to helping students develop the skills to be more inept physically and can lead to students realizing the full benefits of being active and healthy.
Not only does Phys. Ed. have benefits for the body, but it also has benefits in "traditional" academic areas. Studies show how having active students leads to higher test scores, which is a big focus in a lot of schools.
Developing a comprehensive Physical Education program for every schools is critical to giving the students the ability to do a variety of activities and to be competent physically. People are more likely to pursue activities they are good at and have experience at. People don't need to be taught how to be world class athletes, but should be developed to be able and taught to enjoy being active in a variety of ways.
It's the same logic behind teaching people math. We teach people math not to make people mathematicians, although some people will become them. We teach math(or any other subject for that matter), so students are able to use the skills in everyday life.
I'm not mathematician, but I use math a lot everyday.
Not everyone is a professional athlete, but every single person's body moves. And every single person's body needs to move to be high functioning and healthy.
The affective domain is a part of education that is rarely focused on by itself, but it is more often combined in various subjects. This domain focuses on things like students' attitudes, motivations, values, feelings, and other similar things to those. Basically, it's how students feel and think about learning.
This is perhaps the most important learning domain. If a student doesn't want to learn, they aren't going to learn. They aren't going to try if they aren't motivated to try. If they don't value what they are learning, they aren't going to learn or remember it as well as they would if they valued the material.
Teaching plays a huge factor in creating positive feelings towards learning. The way teachers teach, present the material, or assign work are critical components to encourage students to strive for what they are good at and want to do. And to always be desiring to learn to do things they already know better or to learn new things.
The job of a teacher is to enable and maximize the learning and potential of every student.
The affective domain doesn't only involve a student's feeling towards learning, but also encompasses things like teamwork and self-reliance when working independently.
Generally it's about the way we deal with things emotionally, such as feelings, values, appreciation, enthusiasms, motivations, and attitudes
I envision a day where schools teach students:
- The basic academics skills they need to function successfully in society
- Motor skills to allow them to move about the physical world effectively and to desire to move in a variety of enjoyable and healthy ways. .
- How to treat others how they want to be treated-The Golden Rule.
- About the various issues in the world and learn how to think critically about them, so they can form their own informed opinions
- How to learn
- To love learning
- How to speak and present ideas in a variety of effective ways.
- How to be work efficiently towards goals in groups and independently
How do we go about creating this learning environment?
I don't have all the answers or solutions to what I envision education being like, but I think that a lot of the improvements start with research.
Research that tries new methods and gets studies to back up new methods and ideas, so they can be logically assimilated into education. Research should also be used to improve existing methods, Not everything needs to be drastically changed in schools, but tweaked in certain ways.
Experts in the education field should always be looking for new and/or better ways of teaching and reaching students. I don't think any teacher, administrator, or students should ever be satisfied with the current level of performance. Everyone should be striving to make improvements continually.