Friday, May 01, 2020

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the New Innovation Era

Our current education is stuck in the past. There is an excessive emphasis on the memorization of facts and the application of formulas. These are things that are easy to test on standardized tests. This may have been useful in past centuries where knowledge was difficult to obtain. However, now most everybody carries a device that allows access to vast stores of knowledge and the easy computation. This leaves much of what is learned in school useless. Most students forget the knowledge learned. (In one example, they tested students at the start of the next school year on a "dumbed-down" version of the final exam. The scores went from Bs to Fs.) Today, the problem is not obtaining knowledge, but being able to properly evaluate and discern the truth. People need to be able to do, not know. (A funny example was given of "bicycle riding" and a Bicycle Aptitude Test. We could easily test that students have esoteric knowledge of bicycles, but that is not useful when it comes to riding.)
I'm reminded of the case where a Chemical Engineering department was concerned about the lack of language proficiency of its (mostly non-native English speaking) students. However, most of the foreign students passed the test, while the native English speakers were stuck in "remedial English" classes. Some people had "test knowledge" of English but couldn't communicate, while others could communicate, but couldn't pass the test.
The argument here is starkly different from many education reformers and education apologists. We can let other countries excel at tests. What we need are more creative thinkers. Teachers are doing a horrible job in part because of the system they are in. Most of the skills learned in school are irrelevant. Lecture courses are largely irrelevant these days. Instead education should be focused on helping students to learn. Multiple choice tests are easy to grade and fit people to a curve, but they just don't help. We should not deny students resources available. Don't teach towards the test. Let people learn what interests them. It is almost an "unschooling" within a school that is advocated. It is time to stop 19th century education in the 21st century.

No comments:

Post a Comment