When I previously blogged about this topic, it was more or less a general rant about what school systems are doing wrong. There are lots and lots of people (Politicians, I’m looking at you.) who rant and rave, but never get anything done or propose ways something can be done.
I’m not a politician (thank God), nor am I really educated in educational matters, so I don’t even know if the following ideas would be realistic or feasible. I’m just a concerned citizen who has been through the American public school system.
How we can fix our schools:
1. Focus more on teamwork.
Teachers do assign projects that involve working in groups, but I don’t think they do it often enough. Often, group work is mismanaged so that one student ends up doing most of the work while the others slack off. Working in teams is such an important skill to learn for the real world and if school teaches kids that they can delegate all the work to the “smart kid,” then it’s not doing any good.
2. Emphasize public speaking.
Like group work, public speaking isn’t emphasized enough. Students should be required to regularly speak or make presentations in front of the class. Yes, I know most students hate this – I hated it, too. Public speaking is a huge fear, and it’s better to face that fear sooner, rather than later.
3. Don’t be so lenient.
In the past, I have had teachers who would grade on a curve when the class doesn’t do well on the test. Teachers simply don’t have the time to go back and make sure students understand the material – they just plunge ahead to the next topic. Grading on a curve may get students a higher grade, but have they learned anything? No.
4. Do away with the “track” system.
In my school district, and probably many others, there are three different tracks a student can choose from when they’re planning to enter high school. These tracks dictate which courses a student is required to take to graduate. There’s the career prep track, the college tech track, and the college/university track. Instead of having tracks that tend to discriminate via income level, (Low-income students usually take the career prep track, while high-income students choose the college/university track.) schools could implement a system that does not foster discrimination by dividing students up into three groups.
5. No more busywork.
In high school, whenever we had a substitute, they’d just hand the student a sheaf of worksheets that we’d have to finish by the end of class. Or we’d have to copy definitions out of the back of the textbook. What good is that? No good at all – and it’s only going to make students restless, angry, and bored.
Anyone else have any thoughts? 🙂