Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is This the Best Way to Learn?

Dylan has a language exam tomorrow.  Is it me, or shouldn't the night before an exam be focused on that exam?  If that's the case, why is there homework in math, science, social studies, and reading?

More and more, I'm becoming dismayed at the very way education is handled these days.  It makes me think of McDonalds.  If a single hamburger and a bag of fries is good, more must be better, right? Supersize it!

That's education right now.  The idea that more is better.  More homework.  More information.  More tests.  And everything is stepped back so that it happens at a younger and younger age.

These days our society is set up to give kids less independence and we're cautioned to watch over our kids every second, but at the same time we are encouraged to engage in their education earlier and earlier.  Subjects and homework in pre-school, reading by kindergarten, chapter books in second grade, algebra in fourth grade.

It just doesn't make sense.  We don't trust them to go to the store by themselves, yet we want them to perform at a high level on high-stakes standardized tests.  We want them to read on a grade level two years above their actual grade.  Even extracurriculars are on speed.

I am not at all saying that if your child is gifted or talented that they shouldn't be given the opportunity to shine.  But I think we've gotten to where we think that all children can and should do that.

We've become so swayed by international test scores that we think more knowledge = more intelligence.  But knowing more doesn't mean that someone will get through a situation better than someone else.  Innovation and creativity are what has traditionally set the U.S. apart and neither of those things have anything to do with a vast quantity of reciteable information.

We need to take a step back.  We need to let kids be kids.  We need to let them learn outside of a pressure cooker, not in one.  One subject at a time.

At least on a test night.

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