Posts Tagged ‘standards of learning’

Bill Gates and “educational reform”

September 1, 2013


Bill Gates thinks he’s large and in charge.

First, he conquered the computer landscape with his programming (& plundering tactics) and moved on to other things.

His foundation delved into health issues and after much work they “eradicated” malaria. Another feather in his cap.

After seeing how well his Windows performs (not very, thank you) and knowing how viruses once-eradicated seem to come back bigger and stronger, I don’t think we need to thank him just yet.

Now, flush with the victory over an age-old disease, Gates has now set his sights on another major problem: education.

Call me skeptical but after the “advances” he has made in his earlier two conquests, I really don’t see how he is either 1- qualified to lead this fight, or 2- innovative enough to take us where we need to go.

Most revolutionary educators that I have read lately complain about the testing and “standards of learning” matrix now in place.

So, has Gates come up with a way to creatively evolve that process?

Heck no! He now insists that the way to improve education is the expand the practice to include teachers.

That seems a bit like patching a tire to fix it and, when the patch leaks, put some bubble gum or scotch tape of the leaky patch.

But what sort of thinking would one expect from a person who dropped out of school and even thought he could trademark the word “innovate”?

I shudder to think what product our educational system will produce if this dilettante is given free reign.



Teaching, Misunderstood

February 21, 2012

Learning is NOT what educators think. The concept in our “modern” schools is that you set the data on the student’s skull and utilize a jack hammer to slam it into their brains.
Unfortunately, nothing is ever learned in this many.

Teachers have this odd notion that their purpose is to TEACH. And that is completely and absolutely WRONG! Their purpose is for the student to LEARN.

What’s the difference, you ask? Most people are of the opinion that teachers teach so students can learn, but the process does not work like that at all. New concepts spoken by the teacher enter the student’s mind like some foreign language, new and undecipherable. Modern teaching methods assume that by practice, practice, practice, the data somehow seeps into the brains. Hey, people, this is not some mystical, magical process we are talking about, this is learning.

Of course, they point to their marvelous Standards of Learning testing program to show that the system works. But get real, please! If the system actually worked, would there not be more people passing the darn things?

The teacher can present data but until the student absorbs it, there has been no learning. The learning part of the equation does not come from the teacher, but from the student. You can teach all day long and jack hammer it into the kids, but until the student decides to actually learn it themselves, there has been nothing accomplished.

So, how exactly do you get the students to learn anything?

First, you need to see how they learn anything. Do you think kids learn the statistics of their favorite teams and players by the rote method? Do you think trends in fashion and makeup are something that has to be drilled into them? No, this is something they pick up independently of any ‘education system’, this is something they pick up because they are interested.

Ah, and there’s the key: interest. So how can you make education interesting? Years ago, Sesame Street and other venues found ways to make learning fun…

Oh, so interest and fun might be keys, huh?

And what is so interesting about learning the multiplication tables or memorizing a string of otherwise useless names and dates from history? In the 1984 film “Teachers”, Richard Mulligan played the role of a nut-house escapee that is mistaken for the new history teacher at JFK High. He is pretty wacky and teaches the different periods in costume and by enacting some of the history.

Pretty crazy stuff, huh? Except that the students actually learned from this crazy methodology.

Perhaps our educators could learn something from this tactic, perhaps not. Either way, it is most important for them to remember how, when they themselves were younger, how did they best learn?

Of course, I am not actually thinking our educational system will change like this and become responsive and responsible to the children’s needs. I know so much better than that!

Our system trains the kids to pass the tests. Nothing more. Whether they actually learn anything or remember any of this for later life is far beyond the scope of our system.

If they can pass the tests, even if they forget it all by the next day, our educational system feels it has succeeded.

Yes, but succeeded at what?