Just wanting to put some ideas our there regarding our school system. There is little or no discussion formally out there on our system, yet there is incredible pressure to participate fully in it.
We don't have an education system in NZ despite all the rhetoric. We have a compulsory schooling system based on a teaching/learning model, not an education system.
When we consider all the brain research, social research and education research over the last 15 years (or more) our out-moded 150 year-old system, based on the needs of society in the Industrial Revolution, is shockingly flawed. In response to changes in society, and the so-called 'long tail' in achievement, our educational/school policy has prescribed even more tightly the what, where, when and how of learning.
We cannot expect such a system to cater to the needs of our individual children, again despite the rhetoric to the contrary. That does not suit the purpose for which the school system was originally set up. I can remember, as a 14 year old, talking about how school was a sausage machine and I wanted to be a pizza. I did well despite the system. I have made the choice 30 years later, to ensure my children never feel the pressure to become a sausage :-)
I would love to see some discussion around this. Let's get talking.
Thanks for those youtube links. I hadn't seen the first one, it was great.
I have to say I am not sad about the whole system. I am angry that it continues to exist unchallenged. And, that there is whole industry around the upbringing of our children who have their own vested interests at heart and not the interests of our children.
There are many people who know all of this and have the power to start change or make a difference is some way and they choose not to. I am disgusted and infuriated by it all.
Thinking further about our school system it occurs to me how similar it is to chicken farming. With all the furore about free range chickens and eggs it strikes me as ironic that it is acceptable to factory farm our children but not our animals.
Given that our school system arose from the needs of industrialists to have an at least semi-literate and well-behaved work force, it shouldn't be surprising that schools resemble factories. (Not all schools, but many.) At least the curriculum is broader than the 4R's of the industrial era - reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic and religion. There is lots of good talk going on in the education community about learning, the best environments to stimulate learning, and the curriculum, but change in any large sector is always slow.
Sue, I am very aware of the background of our education system. The discussion behind the legislation in the UK, upon which our system is based, was very much about training the lower classes to cope with boredom (yes it does actually say that) and follow orders without question. It was indeed seen as a training ground for the factories and armed forces. And only for the lower classes. The middle and upper classes were educated at home until university. In NZ, with our 'egalitarian' principles, we made it compulsory for all children to attend school, not be educated like most of the rest of the world. I think that is a very important distinction.
I have been involved in education to some degree in NZ for 24 years and have been hearing the same discussions all that time. The Education Faculties don't even follow their own research findings and best practice in teaching the teachers. The brain, social, and educational research findings over the last 20 years in particular have made it very clear that our system is fatally flawed and that the impact will be felt in the wider society for the next few generations. We are already seeing that.
The change to our school system is glacial in NZ. There is too much invested in our system and its outcomes, and too much of an industry built up around all aspects of it for change to happen in our lifetimes. And that is shameful. Our children are losing their sense of their own humanity. They are learning to think about themselves and their worth through the eyes of those who hold the power in schools. The goalposts for that constantly change too. The achievement awards, the principals awards, all the ways in which they are told whether they are good or not...
This kind of discussion needs to take place somewhere. There is too much at stake to ignore it or hope our children will be ok despite it.