Monday, April 27, 2009
How Then to Educate Our Children?
This weekend, a homeschooling mother shared this YouTube video on a homeschooling discussion group along with the statement that 'school is obsolete', meaning, America’s progressive education system must not be what will help our children. I watched the video, and was reminded that I'd seen this video in 2008.
This blog post is an expansion of my response to the group.
For those who found the video interesting, this same topic was touched upon lightly by Sir Ken Robinson in his online lectures recorded 2008 and prior, and moreso he discusses it in his book tour for his new book “The Element”.
After viewing the video and hearing those stats the question is what should our youth be preparing for? If we choose to homeschool them then what does that mean for how we should guide them and instruct them?
Rather than use the statistics in this video to bash schools and their educational content, and say, "in our homeschool we will not choose to teach what the schools teach", I would love to hear what some of you think we as homeschooling parents could be or should be doing instead. If we know this information, what choices do we choose to make in order to prepare our children for an unknown and ever-changing job market?
If the future requires adult workers to work with things that have not been invented yet then how would one prepare? Or shall we focus on some foundational elements of developing our children as a person, character traits and a good work ethic?
Does a liberal arts education (such as a classical home education) truly prepare people to work in all industries (such as working with computers and the Internet and new technologies)?
I guess the question is 'what does getting an education mean' and what does it mean to be 'an educated person'. The answer would differ for those people to whom schooling or being educated means vocational training or 'preparation for the workplace' than someone with other ideas of what it means to 'be an educated person'.
As to the question of a large scale education reform in public education in America it seems to me, even before watching that video and hearing those statistics, that such an endeavor is impossible due to the size and scope of America's public schools and the large number of people, organizations (including a huge union) that stand in the way of change. A complete overhaul of the system seems impossible.
The only changes in American schooling that seem to work are small changes that utilize small numbers of people and wind up (sadly) helping small numbers of students relative to the overall population. It seems to me the best strides in education reform have been the creation of magnet schools which have specific specializations. I note that often admission to those schools is competitive and usually requires lottery systems in an attempt to be fair with admissions. And some charter schools seem to work well while other charter schools have failed, so they seem not to be the answer either.
My long book review of “The Element” by Sir Ken Robinson
My blog post of thoughts after hearing Sir Ken Robinson lecture in January 2009
For Further Reading
The Element by Sir Ken Robinson
Real Education by Charles Murray
Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
A Different Kind of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto
Instead of Education by John Holt
Technorati Tags: education, education reform, vocational training, liberal arts, progressive education.