08 April 2009

Learning and Education

From teacher Dean Shareski, in his blog Ideas and Thoughts:

"While I do my best to provide you with some outcomes, indicators, rubrics and feedback I still feel my assessment of your learning is fairly trivial or at best a thin slice indicator of what you’ve learned. I realize many would love to believe that the number or grade you get is pure, accurate and will provide future instructors, institutions or employers an indication of your proficiency, understanding or knowledge. If anyone of these groups were to ask me about you, I could tell them what I’ve seen and observed. That may have value, the grade, not so much...

...At the beginning of the term I told you I had 4 goals for you. I wanted you to see that:

++ Learning is social and connected
++ Learning is personal and self-directed
++ Learning is shared and transparent
++ Learning is rich in content and diversity"

In a time where the U.S. of part of A. Education Secretary is bleating about "longer hours" in school, where the Orwellian doublespeak No Child Left Behind program has further crippled an already paraplegic educational system and the effective methods of physical education and arts exploration are deemed "useless," is it any wonder Our children are getting the poopy end of the learning stick?

I'd love to homeschool My son, to extend the frequent, albeit brief conversations We have on history, languages, math, sciences, geography and just plain "what, why and how" to a deeper exploration of the world and its fascinations. That would let Us focus on Shareski's second and fourth points, that learning is personal and self-directed and rich in content and diversity.

We would continue to espouse his third point, learning as shared and transparent, because I would be directly involved in the learning process and have yet to deny My son the right to ask a question, even if My answer is "I don't know." Questions are at the very heart of learning, and blocking questions out of fear or ignorance--or as My son's current school proves, both--is the very opposite of education.

And to those who claim that homeschooling "isolates" kids, longitudinal studies dating back to the early 1980s show that homeschooled kids are actually more involved in community and social activities. Why? They have the time and freedom to to do so. Some of it may be due to income level, but much of it is due to simply being able to pursue their own interests rather than be smothered by the school system's blockheaded indifference.

School is not--and never has been--the place where a person learns the most. It is a place where one goes to become indoctrinated in a certain methodology, a way of thinking and a way of behaving that "makes sense to society." You are told what to learn, how to learn it and sometimes given false reasons as to why. Is this the kind of institution We want for Our children? Or do We want them to actually learn?

Indoctrinated teachers marching zombie-like to waste the time of Our children who struggle heroically to rise above the zombies. "Education administrators" and "lawmakers" snuffling like pigs around truffles to uncover more money aimed at "helping" Our children, but ending up somewhere else. Our children spending more time with the boob tube and its brainless messages than with Life and its lessons. That's the non-educational system We--at least some of Us--agonize over.

But just as a democracy deserves the government it elects, doesn't a society deserve the educational system it allows to happen?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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