Rethinking Education

I don’t agree with this guy 100%, but he does raise some interesting questions. Does our educational system need revamping? Even if a child “succeeds” through high school and college and graduates with a 4.0, how much of that information will they remember? Have they learned more than how to regurgitate facts?

“Forgetting is almost immediately the nemesis of memory, as psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered in the 1880s. Ebbinghaus pioneered landmark research in the field of retention and learning, observing what he called the forgetting curve, a measure of how much we forget over time. In his experiments, he discovered that without any reinforcement or connections to prior knowledge, information is quickly forgotten—roughly 56 percent in one hour, 66 percent after a day, and 75 percent after six days.” (Why Students Forget... )

Although other systems abound, I’m going to address only six basic techniques for education: traditional, classical, unschooling, unit study, Charlotte Mason (living books, etc.), and Montessori (hands-on learning, etc.). Many public and private sectors latch onto the traditional or classical methods of teaching, but what if memorization and fact-gleaning isn’t necessary anymore? With technological advancements, any information we seek is at our fingertips within seconds. Information isn’t at a deficit, but understanding is. We are learning more and more facts, but as a culture, we’ve become less and less competent in the fields of critical analysis, deductive reasoning, logical argumentation, and discerning fact from opinion. These attributes–alongside the ability to learn and understand information–help our children successfully move forward in life. Thinking outside the box and being innovative, and not just regurgitating information, makes for successful people–problem-solvers, entrepreneurs, creative thinkers–those are the world-changers.

Thankfully, I had a balanced education. I thrived under the traditional format (textbooks, workbooks, etc.), but I also had plenty of time to cultivate my creative interests. I blossomed under a family of entrepreneurs and explorers and changers. We were encouraged to try, and fail and keep going. Push the box edges out and make something new….a hexagon, a diamond…? Make a new shape.

Not only should children be allowed to explore their options and various “smarts” (not everyone is academically smart* and that’s okay–good even), but children need to learn how to think critically. How many times will our children grow up and encounter false ideologies or irrational propaganda? More times they we could count. Their ability to process and accurately categorize that information will determine if they are blind sheep or cunning wolves in a culture that wants everyone to adapt, accept, and fit in.

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*Eight Different Ways of Being Intelligent (* 8 Great Smarts by Dr. Kathy Koch)

  • Words – power of language – talking
  • Logic – power of questions – asking
  • Picture – power of observation – seeing
  • Music – power of sound and music – hearing
  • Body – power of movement – doing
  • Nature – power of patterns – collecting
  • People – power of people – relating
  • Self – power of quiet – reflecting

So, don’t be afraid to ask those hard questions and weed through the chaff to find the pure seed that will grow into something beautiful for your child.

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