What we learn

How can we depend on self motivated learning instead of employing teachers to bribe the student to fid the time and will to learn?

In “Deschooling Society” Illich talks about how if we change the style of leadership education can change. He says a good educational system should have three purposes: “provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and finally furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.”

Why do so many schools require things? Why isn’t it up to the teacher to determine what to teach? I grew up with the SOLs – the Standards of Learning assessment tests that the curriculum of kindergarten through twelfth grade revolves around. Since the main goal was to make our counties schools seem wonderful, teachers followed the strict curriculum and always reminded us that “This might be on the SOL at the end of the year!” Not once did they have the chance to teach what they wanted to teach. Not once did they seem interested in the material we were covering only for the SOL.

I think that this is an important issue in education today. Students are expected to learn certain things, which is understandable, but when teachers no longer love what they teach because they have to follow guidelines, students start to suffer. I never took a test that wasn’t multiple choice until high school. I never got constructive criticism. I never had to think critically – I just had to circle the little letters beside the correct answer. I never found a subject that I was truly passionate about because the teachers didn’t seem to enjoy teaching me the material. Why would I like something if the teacher doesn’t even like it?!

Why can’t the student figure out what they want to learn about instead of following the guidelines of society? As Illich says, there are four approaches that allow the student to gain access to educational resources that will help her achieve her own goals. I think that if we work to focus on the students, education could be transformed. Children wouldn’t dread going to school. People would find inspiration and creativity that they can’t find currently. Do you think students should have more of a say in what they are learning?

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One Response to What we learn

  1. jmarie92

    Julie, I think this is an interesting question. It seems to me that you and Illich are taking vastly different approaches to the changes in our education system that we need to experience. This is probably because you (as have I) have been immersed in this schooling for so long, it is so ridiculous to see the radical society Illich wants. From my perspective, I 100% agree with you in that yes, children need to be able to control their curriculum more. Why should SOLs be our only means of understanding material? Yes, it makes teaching and learning easier. But, it does not breed creativity and it certainly does not breed interest. I like this approach more than the complete re-establishment of Illich. Way too radical for me!

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