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An Expert’s View: Sir Ken Robinson on Education

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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An Expert’s View: Sir Ken Robinson on Education

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

7

Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Interleaving

It's a strategy of mixing up the type of problems you solve when you're testing yourself.

That way, the testing conditions are more similar to real life, where you first have to figure out what kind of problem you have on your hands and then solve it. 

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Smartphones and Social Media

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There is a strong relationship between anxiety/depression and the use of smartphones, particularly social media usage among kids, though the data also seem to show the positive effects of staying connected with their peers. Online distractions also make youngsters give up their offline life, leading to isolation and further depression.

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Your passion is what you want to spend your time doing and not some random vision written on a blackboard in the sky that you somehow need to “discover”.  

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Align Your Passion With Your Skills

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