In an enlightening article on the website Mindshift, writer Tina Barsheghian argues that school’s traditional structure is outdated. In order for real learning to occur, several things need to happen: school days should start later to allow students sufficient rest, alternative testing methods should be explored, and more caring school environments should be fostered. Additionally, parents should be educated to allow their students time for rest, play, and family. As a tutor, I’ve seen the negative effects of sleep deprivation, rigid testing methods, and anxiety on students’ ability to perform, and couldn’t agree more with the author. Read on for the full article.
The current structure of the school day is obsolete, most would agree. Created during the Industrial Age, the assembly line system we have in place now has little relevance to what we know kids actually need to thrive.
Most of us know this, and yet making room for the huge shift in the system that’s necessary has been difficult, if not impossible because of fear of the unknown, says educator Madeline Levine, author of Teach Your Children Well.
“People don’t like change, especially in times of great uncertainty,” she said. “People naturally go conservative and buckle down and don’t want to try something new. There are schools that are trying to do things differently, and although on the one hand they’re heralded as having terrific vision, they’re still seen as experimental.”
“I’m astounded at the glacial pace of change in education.”
During this time of economic uncertainty, especially, Levine said parents want to make sure their kids won’t fall into the ranks of the unemployed and disenfranchised young people who return home because they’re unable to find jobs. “There’s so much anxiety around the economy, they’re thinking, What can I do to make sure that my kid isn’t one of the unemployed”? she said.
Yet therein lies the paradox. It’s exactly during these uncertain times when people must be willing to try new things, to be more open, curious and experimental, she said. In education, although there are great new models of learning and schooling, they are the exceptions, and the progressive movement has not gained much momentum.
“I’m astounded at the glacial pace of change in education,” she said. “Like many academic areas, there’s a huge disconnect between what’s known and what’s in practice. It’s very slow moving.”
Levine, who was a teacher herself for many years, said she has tremendous respect for educators and believes they need full support from parents and administrators. But until the directive comes from those in power — national and state policymakers, superintendents, principals — what can teachers do individually to make learning relevant for their students?Read More