Ok. This semester I have been learning a lot about how the current system of education in Saskatchewan may be failing the majority of the student population. The bulk of instruction has been based on the fact that change needs to occur, but very little has been said about how this change will occur or what it will look like. I have learnt, through lecturers like Sir Ken Robinson, that the education system we are using is largely the same as one that was used 100 years ago and that a paradigm shift is needed to administer better education. This disproportion leads me to believe that we do not have an answer to this question quite yet (perhaps answers come in years 3 and/or 4).
Now I know some questions simply do not have answers, but my gut tells me that this one does. I asked myself this question (how can the education system change to better suit the needs of the majority of students?) in conjunction with another; if the I could recreate the education system from the ground-up, what would it look like? Now, before I proceed, I want to be clear that I’m still not entirely convinced that the old system is wrong. I mean, I learnt the traditional way and have turned into a functioning member of society. So I’m not saying that these changes are ones I desire to see, just simply another way of looking at eduction.
In my recreation, schools would no longer be organized by age. Instead, they would be organized by levels, much like the current University system. I imagine there would need to be at least 9 different levels. Requirements for graduation would also change to something like needing 20 classes of each level (I know that only gives 180 classes but work with me here… make it 30 of each level if that makes you happy). Let’s say that a student would need 3 Math classes of each level. At the different levels you could have “Math 501: Mathematics of Cooking” and “Math 502: Mathematics of Woodworking” where each class would offer instruction in the basic skills of math (i.e. fractions, algebra) but they give the students the option to choose the math that they want to learn that is relevent to them (Side Note: As I start to transpose my ideas from my brain to my computer I realize that they look a little silly but I still want to flesh this out… even just to prove to myself that it is nonsense).
Students would also be able to choose how and when they would like the take the required classes. If I am an early riser (or if Tuesdays happen to be a very busy sports day or something), I would be able to choose classes that we in the morning (or avoid classes on Tuesdays). I know this sounds a lot like University, but I feel this type of a system would work well in the school system as well.the increase of access to online, it is also possible that classes would be administered online, where students from around the globe would be able to learn from the best of the best in their selected subjects.
Just by writing this all out, I can see some major flaws with this type of system. How would this work for younger students (5-10) who wouldn’t know how/what to choose, or how to participate appropriately in online classes (or maybe I’m not giving them enough credit). Also, we would need to have teachers who have diverse skills and perhaps many more teachers. This would be solved by the use of the online classroom, but that has its flaws as well. Not all people yet have access to the internet and it would be a grave mistake to give greater opportunity to those students who have access to technology. Children also need to be given some structure, and this system has the potential to give too much freedom.
The type of system I have described also has many advantages. Students who are given choice may find their subjects to be more relevent and may be able to develop a deeper understanding. Students also have many more commitments outside of school and would be able to organize their school schedule to better match their extra-curricular schedule.
Wow.. it feels good to get that out of my brain. I hope this post has at least made you think about the current system and how you would change it if you could. Thank you for letting me unload my thoughts on you. Have a great day!