Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Real World and Success for Every Child

The Real World and Success For Every Child
When you’re assigned to a job and you can’t do it, you either learn how to do it or you’re fired.  Maybe you need to be in a different environment with different supervisors or mentors.  Maybe you need some remedial instruction or perhaps you need to find out what you can do and start there and build on that.   Too much time and energy are spent on correcting mistakes rather than getting it right the first time.
Every child can succeed at something and this is why kindergarten becomes even more important for starting to build the foundation for success.   Teachers need to be clear about how to make things work and take it a step at a time and keep backing up before going forward into unknown territory.  Before you can play a piece of music, it helps to learn the notes, where the fingers go on certain instruments and then practice, practice, practice. 
It’s the same with sports.  Much more time is spent practicing than in playing the game.  Certain kinds of athletic skills are developed and finally mastered in order to play the game at the highest level.  I wonder if we make the mistake of trying to get to the performance too soon before the skills are refined and there is a sufficient level of confidence in those skill sets to be effective?
We know that we have the education equation bassackwards.  We hold time constant and make education the variable.  If we really cared about a child's success, we would hold education constant and make time the variable.  Who cares if it takes some kids longer to learn the quadratic equation than others?  Isn't the more important thing learning it to be successful.  You can plug in different things whether language, science, history, literature or any other subject or learning experience.  What's the big deal about limiting the time?
School might be restructured more like the real world and organized according to areas of interest.  There are signs of that with magnet schools and some other specialized schools in science and the arts.  I am not particularly interested in mechanics and robotics but there are plenty of kids who are.   I would have been drawn to a school that focused on reading, writing and producing whether producing essays, books, plays and movies or in telling stories of people in different cultures.
I think it’s time to reexamine why schools are structured the way they are and perhaps shift not only the paradigm for educating kids but building entirely different models for different kinds of schools for different kinds of kids.  The schools all look too much alike and smell the same.  Kids are different and schools need to be different too.
Just think.  In the real world there are bakeries and restaurants and hotels and there are engineering, manufacturing and distribution jobs.  There is the world of design, retail and construction.  And then there is the government, local, state and national!  And we will end here before we get side-tracked on the topic of waste and inefficiency.  Just present that to the kids for some creative solutions of how we might do it better.

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