What if We Were the Co-Authors of our Education?
Lots of things have changed in recent history. Whether you consider “recent” the past century or decade. Politics, technology, science, and culture have all changed. The only thing that hasn’t? School.
Here are some of the biggest events from the past decade that are changing our world:
North and South Korea progressing towards mending their relations. Sent one team to the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics.
America elects reality television and mega real estate developer as President 2017
Saudi Arabian women allowed to get their licenses
First iPhone made in 2007
Creation of part-human part-pig embryos through stem cells
Evidence of hidden continent called Zealandia
Research on the brain’s of mass shooters
Society & Culture
Canadian baby named Searyl Doty is issued documents without gender assigned as female or male
Angela Ponce is Miss Universe’s first ever transgender contestant
The start of the Me Too, Black Lives Matter, and the March For Our Lives movements
Rise of veganism
The mainstream schooling system in Canada, for the most part, hasn’t changed. We still sit in a chair behind a board (now smartboards or televisions), and listen to hour-long lectures. Sure, we’ve started watching documentaries, movies even. We go on more explorative field trips and have a bit of a fluidity in our personal projects, but still really no say in our curriculum or the structure of how we learn for around 250 days of the year.
Not to say that schooling hasn’t changed at all, because today there are schools running on solar power, international based schools, schools for at-risk LGBTQ youth, and some other innovative and non-traditional programs. In Canada, we have Montessori, Waldorf, and nature schools (or forest schools), but not nearly as many innovative schools as our global counterparts.
An academic conversation that has been going on recently is: how come everything around us is changing except for the mainstream school system? Why are we scared to try new methods in which we use to deliver information to today’s young generations? I don’t mean student-led lessons and informational movies, I mean 80 percent lessons and 20 percent student passion projects, or student centered learning (catering curriculum to individual talents and interests.) It’s been proven time and time again that there are different ways teenagers and children learn. There is visual, auditory, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary learning styles. So this begs the question, why aren’t there programs specifically for children with say the auditory style of learning, or baseline tests at the beginning of the year to see what a student’s learning style is? When an assignment is given, why isn’t there a podcast version for the auditory student, a group project for the social students, and an interview option for the verbal students?
Many feel like lectures and homework hinder creativity and mislead students from their individual interests and passions. Some students thrive with set assignments and clear instructions, but others perform better and enjoy tasks that give them some creative abilities and leeway. In addition, homework only takes away from student’s interests and leaves their after-school activities feeling like chores because of tiredness and stress from loads of schoolwork.
Traditional schooling teaches students with the necessary information and skills to make it through life. We’re taught how to write an essay, read, and do math. We’re taught how to use a calculator and graph a function. We’re taught about the dangers of destroying this planet, the principles of law and government, and the history of our country. These are lessons that are fundamental for applying for a job, surviving university, and making it in the real world. But, what if we could be the co-authors of our education?
Written by Addie Tiller