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An Expert’s View: Sir Ken Robinson on Education

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/education/learning/an-experts-view-sir-ken-robinson.html

nytimes.com

An Expert’s View: Sir Ken Robinson on Education
Robinson, a best-selling author and longtime advocate of transforming education, discusses topics including testing, bureaucracy, and parents’ power and choices.

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The role of parents in educating their children

Parents have more power and choices in educating their children than they realize.

Many parents are concerned about the changing world and uncertain futures their children face. They are anxious about education, a narrow curriculum, that schools are not cultivating curiosity. They worry about their children being medicated for "learning problems." However, many educators share the same concerns and are campaigning for change.

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Education options for parents

Parents have three options:

  • They can work for changes within the current system.
  • They can press for changes to the system.
  • They can educate their children outside the system.

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Education: The story of Finland

Governments are desperately trying to improve education using strategies such as standardization, testing, and competition, especially in literacy, mathematics, and science. But it is generally not successful.

Finland is following a different path. They don't have a mandated curriculum; they encourage a broad curriculum and seldom do standardized testing. Consequently, they are more successful in education.

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Students under stress

Eight out of ten teenagers experience extreme stress during the school year. Parents can help in three ways:

  1. Learning to recognize the signs of 'toxic' stress
  2. Encouraging more downtime.
  3. Work with the school to reduce the avoidable causes of stress such as excessive homework and testing.

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Questioning standarized testing

The endless testing was an attempt to raise standards in education. Instead, it resulted in a culture of perpetual competition, causing excessive stress for teachers, children, and their families but with no real improvement in standards.

The purpose of assessments is to support and improve student learning. However, there are much better ways to accomplish this than through countless tests.

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Charter schools as an option

Charter schools are independently operated public schools. They have a bigger say in what they teach and how they work.

It is said that charter schools can spread new practices. Some do, and some don't. Another argument is that they give parents more choice in education. But the choice may be apparent and not real.

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The purpose of education

The purpose of education

The purpose of education is to enable students to understand the world and the talents within them so they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens.

The role of the government should be to create the best conditions to encourage such an education. Some ways include adopting a broad and balanced curriculum and developing guidelines and resources to support it.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Social-emotional learning

Social-emotional learning

Schools are supposed to be able to adjust to their students' needs and requirements throughout the year.

Especially in times of crisis, the technique called social-emotional learning is a m...

Support teachers' needs

While going through a crisis of any kind can be challenging for most of us, one category that for sure feels the change is represented by the teaching staff worldwide.

When asked to teach their subject via Zoom or applications alike, teachers have to change their way of presenting the topic, make them seem more interesting and, what is even more important, to make the class more interactive; this can eventually lead to sadness, anxiety and fear even for the most experienced teachers.

Mentoring relationships within schools

If there is one thing that teachers should be particularly good at, this has to be mentoring their students.

By doing so, not only do they guide an individual's self-development throughout his or her school years, but they also emphasize the idea of human interaction, which should actually be the basis for most of our successful actions.

Parent-teacher groups

Creating parent-teacher groups enables parents to share their opinion in regards to topics that concern directly their children, such as classroom activities, field trips, or homework. 

...

Parents and field trips

Allowing parents to participate in their children's field trips can prove an inspired idea, as they often have great suggestions. 

Moreover, getting their feedback both before and after the trip might lead to the improvement of such activities.

Parent mentor programs

This kind of program often results in successful cooperation between parents and teachers, therefore ensuring that no feedback is lost. 

Parent volunteers get in contact with other parents for topics related to their children and forward their opinions to teachers, enabling an efficient communication of everybody's thoughts and suggestions.

Education during epidemics

Education during epidemics

94% of countries implemented some form of remote learning during the pandemic. And this is not the first time that educators have made use of remote learning.

During a poli...

Radio school

The radio school experiment during the polio outbreak was highly innovative and untested. Some 315,000 children in grades 3 through 8 received lessons on the radio while at home.

Chicago teachers collaborated to create on-air lessons for each grade, local radio stations donated air time, and local papers printed class schedules each morning. Classes were just 15 minutes, providing simple broad questions and assigning homework.

Remote school challenges

News stories reporting on radio school were mostly positive, but articles also pointed out the challenges. Some children didn't have access to radios. Other kids were distracted or struggled to follow the lessons. They could not ask questions in the moment, and kids needed more parental involvement.

In 2020, when the pandemic shut down schools, many countries turned to multiple platforms, such as television, radio, and internet. However, they continue to face similar challenges to those the radio school faced in the 1930s.