Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What's Most Damaging in Schools Today:

In looking back at my own public school experience in Brooklyn in the 1950's, I get an interesting reading on what is going wrong in Education Policy today. It's not just the scripted curriculum. We had that then. There was a whole lot of memorization and rote learning in pubic school classrooms I was in. We also had a bunch of testing and drilling, most but not all of it created by our teachers.
But though class was often boring, what we had, which students today are losing, because they are constantly prepping for tests which their schools and teachers will be rated on, is a lot of free time and a chance to show our talent and creativity outside the classroom. We had lots of recess. We took many school trips. We participated in, and occasionally even wrote and produced, school plays. And students had ample chance to exercise responsibility, if they earned it, by serving as crossing guards or hall monitors or members of the audio visual squad. There were so many fun things happening during the school day that I looked forward to going there even though classes were often a drag.
THIS sense of excitement about the overall school experience is what I fear students are losing as testing and the fear of testing controls every portion of the school day, and play is erased.
Do we really want to turn children into grim faced, fearful adults in the making or can we once again provide the time and the space to allow them to be kids?