December 8, 2011
There’s been a great deal of talk lately about the value of education whether at the elementary, secondary or college level. People are starting to wonder whether a college degree is worth the tuition required to earn one. The education system as we know it is no longer working. Some education leaders think a complete overhaul of the entire system is overdue.
According to Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation, the education paradigm needs to be changed ASAP. He sees today’s school-age children and college students as seriously doubting the purpose of education. They are hopeless and disenchanted. And for those considering a college education, many are beginning to question the value of their degree. They don’t feel that a degree offers any guarantees like it did in the past.
Sir Robinson has a point and it is cleverly illustrated in this video which shows that the current system of education was designed for a different time and age. It was conceived during the age of enlightenment, at a time where the concept of compulsory public education funded by taxation was novel and revolutionary. Prior to the 19th century there were no public schools as we know it. Only those from affluent families were able to afford education, albeit through private tutors.
Sir Robinson brings up another point which is that our educational system and even the physical design of its architecture is modeled on the “interest and image of industrialization.” He suggests that by stepping back and taking a look at our schools we can see that they are “designed to run like factory lines, ringing of bells, separate facilities, where we educate children by batches, by age group.” By dividing and isolating the students and judging them separately we are in fact separating them from their “natural learning” environment. Most great learning, according to Sir Robinson “occurs in groups through collaboration.”
He asks a very good question: why do we teach our children by age group? Since children of the same age group respond and perform differently to different subjects. What’s the logic behind this? Is it about conformity and standardization? Is the structure of our current education model compatible with the age of technology? Are we preparing our children with the skills and knowledge necessary to survive in today’s globally-interconnected economy? Are all these standardized tests really necessary? I wonder. What do you think?
The Frustrated Evaluator