I think we need to seriously rethink the way we educate our children. There are too many square pegs in round holes. We try and push them all through the same system, when not everyone is compatible with it. It ends up with some kids being held back, and others being left behind.
We need to have a more ability-centric education system, not one that progresses children simply by age. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, but at the moment we are seeing some children entering or even leaving high school without the basic levels of numeracy and/or literacy. You can’t try and push the whole class on to Harry Potter when some are ready for Shakespeare, and others still struggle with Janet and John, and lets face it, not everyone can grasp calculus, so why do we even bother? What happened to the old separate subject of Arithmetic? It needs to make a come back and stop torturing some of the less inclined with Mathematics.
Despite the best will in the world, not every kid wants to, or is able to go to University (unless Uni changes significantly). We’ve all been in classes where some numpty is just disruptive, and doesn’t get what the teacher is saying, either through ability or lack of engagement. And yet that numpty, in the pub a few years later has been able to work out the scores on a dartboard in split seconds, leaving mathematicians in the dust. How long does it take you to subtract treble 19 from 301?
Brains are weird and wonderful things, and every single one is different. It’s time that our education system recognised that. Stacking shelves, or splitting atoms, our world needs both. Artists, actors, plumbers, rocket scientists, programmers, secretaries, tyre fitters and street sweepers, these people are all different, with very different needs, and very different capabilities, so why do they all go to the same schools? Why do they all go through the same system in the same way? Why is it that kids are told to study, but not really taught how to study? Where are the classes on organising time, training your memory, things that might be useful to kids trying to cram in loads of information and then be able to retrieve it at will? We seem to think that because a younger brain is a quicker, more flexible brain that we can try and shoe horn what we like into it and that it will just work. But you don’t pour a jigsaw from box to floor and expect to see it magically completed do you?
We need to discard the old year 1 – year 2 – year 3 model, and work out something better for our children. You might have a kid in year 2, but their abilities might be Maths 1, English 2, Art 3. So they get pushed forward in Maths when they aren’t ready, and held back in Art when they could do so much more!
Teachers, would it be easier to have kids of the same age with different abilities, or the same abilities but different ages?
Too many systems, education included, are fiddled with by government at the periphery, and rarely are the reconsidered as a whole. Who wants to bother with the time and effort of rebuilding the system from scratch if it kinda works ish. For some people. Some of the time. At least 51%, and that counts in politics, right?
Parents, Teachers, Kids – Talk to me, how can we do it better for carpet fitter and carpet bomber alike?