Here’s something Scott McLeod posted today on his blog Dangerously Irrelevant:
When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending…
- that short-term memorization equals long-term learning.
- that students find meaning in what we’re covering in class.
- that low-level facts and procedures are a prerequisite to deeper learning.
- that analog learning environments prepare kids for a digital world.
- that what we’re doing isn’t boring.
He’s turning these into a challenge – presumably, to change what he does and / or the environment he is in – as well as to inspire those within his sphere of influence to make similar changes.
I would like to suggest my own ugly truths about education that I would like to work to banish in whatever small way I can. Some of them are the same or similar to Scott’s.
Five Ugly Truths About Education I Would Like to Change
It’s time we stopped pretending that…
- exams and tests are the most important means of judging a student’s mastery of the knowledge and skills acquired in class.
- the syllabus and associated standards are the most important thing in teaching and kids need to ‘get the facts into their heads’.
- low-level facts and procedures are a prerequisite to deeper learning.
- incentivizing academic achievement (with awards and prizes) encourages students to excel at acquiring twenty-first-century skills.
- kids have enough time to process learning deeply and effectively.
It’s time we stopped pretending these things are true.