New Ways of Doing Business, New Tools...

A New Approach on How Things Are Taught.

Below is a movie I recorded myself in the past that should reinforce this message to an extent. The end result of it will sound generalized, and lacking supportive material (and I'm also a rather nervous speaker), but I believe that receiving any student input at all is invaluable to providing ideas, and I believe that I am addressing a new problem that I will attempt to elaborate on in this explanation.

 

Students come to school and they don't want to learn, or at least, that's what is heard. Whether it is because of gang-related activities, a complete lack of interest, a fear of pressure, or a distaste in too many subjects. There are tons of reasons, reasons that are the student's fault, or the teacher's fault, or another person's fault. The blame game could go on forever, but only one group of professional workers can really change the rules and put the whole thing in reverse.

 

The video looks into the student side of what should be done, but this should not be shoved down their throats irresponsibly or angrily without first notifying them of what is trying to be done on the other side. In order to know how to get a student to connect, a vital part of learning and the love of it, a teacher must demonstrate interest in connecting students to the subject of what is being taught, in general.

 

I apologize for disappointing those who believe in practice-makes-perfect. While it is true that practice performs the art, perfection can only really be achieved when the heart is really in it. To address my point less artfully, and to be of more clarity, a student must be able to work through a subject and ask, but not rely on the question, "When will I use this lesson in my life?"

 

I have seen too many students ask this question in the wrong way: rhetorically. In the past, tradition has had it that drive is the full responsibility of the student. Unfortunately, it's time to face facts that cracking a whip at grabbed ankles is not what makes a person who thinks as much as a person who obeys. Giving up on the student without attempt is out of the question, for minds are then wasted. Instead of all of this apathy, despise, and tradition where education is a business where you get fired, why not address the matter in a way that tailors more toward providing a means for legitimate student interest?

 

The teacher needs to assume a new duty to correct this new problem of failed connection. Teachers need to be provided, as they need to provide, as well, connections in how the subject they teach can be used in the outside world. Whether it be videos of how a person has found a way to transform mathematical equations into flower art, or perhaps how using a woodworking machine safely and correctly has led a young entrepreneur into fashioning his own skateboarding business, a positive incentive will encourage students to not only pursue knowledge in the subject, but think creatively about how the matter can be used. No more nonsense about how learning about circumference can work out a problem regarding the perimeter of a lake. The new age of learning requires more logical, practical, applicable, and sometimes unpredictable sources of connection.

 

The teacher needs to have control of the tools used to teach. Students need to be exposed to more than Microsoft Office, but be educated in multiple operating systems (while Windows is a high-quality series, Linux distributions and Macs, especially beginner Linux distributions ("Edubuntu," as it is very popular in outside countries, for example), need applications, for the working industry is rising with the usage of these systems). Teachers need to be donated higher-quality technologies and provided better security of these new attainments. Most importantly, teachers need education, themselves, clear education, on how new tools operate. Open-source technologies can not only provide an application opportunity for students (especially those in programming and what subject pertains to the application's usage), but since it is often updated with new improvements, it is clearly seen how a tool that grows with an educational environment can demonstrate how up-to-date an educational environment can be.

 

Students need less homework. If a teacher does the job well enough, ten questions should provide ample exercize to determine whether the class needs more practice or not. I'm not suggesting that teachers simply hand out less homework, but reconsider the ratio of teaching time to homework opportunity. More time should be spent on teaching the matter instead of assigning so much homework and then having students coming back the next day to consume the teaching time with questions regarding how a certain problem is done. Teachers need to learn which problems confuse students the most and demonstrate how problems are worked out in that case. When the student goes home and wonders whether a^2*b^2 can be expressed as (a*b)^2 in the case of a certain problem (of which he actually can, but that's beside the point), the student should have had the fair time to ask about the question during class time instead of being distracted with all of the other problems, or better yet, the case should have been explained during the lesson that Americans pay to get done right. It's a common and easy mistake that will continue to happen as different students find themselves stuck on different problems, but it is up to the teacher to recognize which ones are being missed the most and let the class take note of what happens in it.

 

Finally, students need to be informed of things that will make them more competent in the world. A Government class needs to be taught about more than the three branches of government plus voting. How many High School freshman know that they have to sign a document that makes them available for draft pick when they are eighteen? Are kids unable to tell tax return forms from property leasing requirements because they are increasingly stupid, or are we going to assume responsibility for not taking the initiative of teaching them what they need to know about their country? How many times can we laugh at the woman who called 911 over McDonald's being out of Big Macs before we realize that she did that because she didn't understand what 911 was even for, and, additionally, could that be our kids someday?

 

I think that what is being asked for is suggesting a lot to be drawn from districts and teachers, possibly more than they can handle all at once. The suggested ideas provided can all be attained for free, especially tools used in Linux, and Youtube/Vimeo videos and the like. However, this does not detract from the difficulty of changing so drastically and then asking so much from teachers who have probably been hopelessly passing through redundantly pathetic High School students for decades. It should not be done because it is easy, not because it is hard, but because it is a new collection of ideas in a time where old ideas are not performing to full expectancy. Some schools are beginning to turn around and be more open with parents, students, volunteers, and all of their suggestions. Schools need to be notified of what they should start doing correctly, instead of shoving students on their way.

 

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Idea No. 44