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Who SHOULD control children's education? And what if those who should, don't?

We are having a debate on this topic at this link: http://www.ted.com/conversations/10094/education_who_should_have_con.html
when a member suggested that I am really asking TWO questions, so here they are! I am really looking to discover what the general ideas are, so there's no wrong or right answers. Thanks for your participation!

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  • Mar 23 2012: personally, both of parents and teachers are responsible for their children's education. as somebody said, parents, to what extend, are the first teachers in student's life, who inspire their creativities and nourish their emotions as well as affect badly to their characteristic. meanwhile, thanks to teachers, i mean good teachers, children take chances for breakthrough in their life.
    in particular living period of a child, the reponsibility of parents and teachers are different. the problem here is that there should be a link between family and school to make sure that children grow up fully - physically and mentally
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    Mar 17 2012: The community for which the school is the hub should make the important decisions.

    In New Zealand, our current government really has no idea. They have the one-fix, tick-a-box approach that is typical of accountants-cum-bureaucrats.

    The best solution to these sorts of problems (when all the wrong people control education) is to ignore them and get on with the guts of the job which is really all about the students in front of you.

    Having said that, it's getting increasingly difficult to put up with all the unnecessary idiocracy and it's gotten to the point where it's almost not worth pursuing teaching as a vocation.

    The ministries lack vision (or even just common sense), the professional development circuit and many resources are thinly veiled advertorials for a private sector that has spotted both a captive audience and tax dollars up for grabs. There is a plague of buzzwords and catch-phrases which are perfect for a key-note speaker's syrupy monologues but carry little of substance for those who's job is not just being overpaid to deliver sound-bytes..
  • Mar 22 2012: My first response to these questions was the parents, since the parents have the largest influence on their children than anyone else. However, the parents are not there at school teaching their kids, so I change my answer to the teachers. Teachers are on the frontlines of education and their abilities to educate can make or break the level of education their students get from class. For instances, my parents played a small part in my education. The only thing they did was tell me to go to school and if I came home with bad grades, like my brother, I wouldn’t be punished for it. However, my teachers, the good ones, were the ones that really taught me to be excited about learning. I strongly believe that I would not be studying microbiology in university if it were not for my teachers. I also have some experience with horrible teachers that were only teaching for a pay check instead of educating. When there is a large amount of these teachers that lack the desire to teach, like in impoverished areas, then the children will lack in education. I believe that there should be some consequence for teachers who don’t understand the impact they have on their student’s futures.
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    Mar 22 2012: My point is parents should control the Children Education ,Because of parents are the responsible for ensuring their children attend school.Teachers ,now they are only preparing lesson plans and teaching classes as per the Syallabus,
    Parents they must create a good environment and maintaining good health for their Childrens.
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    Mar 22 2012: The answer is do everything we are not currently doing. making learning interactive focus on attainment not achievement. Attaining the knowledge not achieving grades. Creating geared learning environments for different types of learners.
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      Mar 22 2012: This is the goal...we have seen school systems try "individualized instruction" as well as many other wonderful ideas.

      But it comes down to accountability....There has to be a way to measure student progress, and also teacher effectiveness.

      We have had wonderful conversations on here about changing the grading system in schools as well as other great education conversations.

      You can access them on the left of this screen under "Popular Topics".....go to the "See all topics" and then look for the appropriate links.

      I enjoyed reading your comment. Many educators I know teach with a child centered philosophy, and are very effective.
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    Mar 22 2012: Naturally, its parents. If parents are not available or unwilling or unable then a second best option must be followed ... mostly institutional in the case of advanced countries. In traditional societies, the extended family scarcely fails in this regard, albeit, it endangered.
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    Mar 21 2012: This needs to be broken up a bit more than two question. First, I think control is the wrong word. I think it should read responsibility. With that...

    Who should be responsible for a child's education? The responsibility to find the child's passion, is in the hands of the child. The responsibility to allow exploration of interests, that lead to passion, is the responsibility of the parent and educator. In this way, it is not a one-or-the-other control. It's more like a symbiotic relationship where each member benefits. Remember, teachers and parents learn from their students/children. The responsibility, however, to progress a society's values, is in the hands of the parents and educators.

    What if those who should be responsible are not? Again, break this down a little more. If it is solely the child being irresponsible, the parents and educators will be on top of that instantly. If it is solely the parents, the child and educators need a process to identify and remedy that. If it is the educator... well, their profession relies on being responsible so I don't see that happening (if they are irresponsible, they'd be fired). It gets a little more interesting, however, when more than one party is irresponsible. In that situation... it's up to those who have a determination to do what is right... in the face of the wrong.

    It's a sort of checks and balances...
  • Mar 20 2012: I myself am a freshman in high school and the way I look at education is, is that the government has set rules, not very strict ones but rules in place that guide you through early education, and then parents are the ones who help tell you how hard to try in school and what you should do after your senior year of high school. Based on the government I need to go to school everyday but I don't think that is the right answer to this question. The public school system is out there to be used but if we don't put forth any effort then it is a waste of time. In my house the question hasn't been am I going to college but what college will I get into. Now talking about the effort factor my parents are extremely harsh in grades compared to my friends, they expect me to do better than how they did in school. This is completely fine with me because I hate failure and I feel that not doing your best on everything you do is just a ware of everyone's time. To sum up if feel that the government should just be there for the rules and guidelines but I think it is the parents who ultimately decide what goes on with their child.
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    Mar 22 2012: I will tackle one aspect of your question.

    Sooner or later, children grow up. As adults, we can choose to seek education, and literacy, if it was lacking in our childhood.

    I think many of us take education for granted here in the US because it is free and available and also there are many ways to educate your children here in this country.

    Other places in the world, well I guess it varies.

    There's the old addage: "Education begins at home".....parents bear some of the responsibility, teachers bear another chunk, but ultimately, regardless of whether or not others took an interest in our education, we have the ultimate say on how much education we acquire in the long run.
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    Mar 22 2012: Roberta on the deepest level we all have final control of our own actual education. Yes societies, organizations, parents and other people attempt to control the education of children of all ages. They can only influence by licensing and labeling it and thus have an effect but the final results are created by the response of the persons own free will. To quote a sweatshirt I saw for sale at a university depicting a horse "They can send me to college but they can't make me think!" We only begin to really learn after we choose to pay attention. Again, how many teachers or therapists does it take to change a light bulb? Numbers are irrelevant since success depends solely on the desire of the light bulb to change.
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    Mar 20 2012: Thanks all for contributions and please continue to do so, I just wanted to add some ideas to enlarge the conversation. What happens if the child's parents refuse to send him/her to school when he/she reaches age six? what if they chose a different path for their child? What if governments decide not to support anymore the present system of education? what if everything was left in the hands of the child's family?
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    Mar 20 2012: The social theory defines education. In other words, education is the need of the society. Thus the structure and goal of education is ultimately owned by the affected and / or involved society. Well, when you try to define the "affected / involved society",its a bit tricky. If you are fortunate, both the concepts will converge. There, you have an easy way to define what is required for the recipients of education. But mostly the affected and the involved societies will have conflicting priorities. In such situations, we can't really say the rights and wrongs of education and its appropriate control structure. Ideally the definition and implementation of education should happen through the never ending dialogues happening among its stakeholders. Stakeholders may involve governments, religions, families, individuals, political organizations, and many other social constructs and structures.
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    Mar 20 2012: There should not be any SHOULD , there should not be any CONTROL.....
    Well guidance, shaping up etc can be there following kids interest. That has to be in the hand of kids, parents & educators not in the hand pure / pseudo bureaucrats....may sound utopic but that's my view.
  • Mar 20 2012: People can learn thru these five avenues: Push/Punish [old ineffective controlling way]; Accidental learning; Requirement [a mandatory class to learn how to use a heavy equipment for example]; Determination [passion driven]; Offer [invitation to participate/collaborate where the learner can freely decide to participate or not]

    Children like other people learn thru these 5 avenues as well. Our focus is general tends to be on the Push/Punish. This avenue is ineffective and steals the opportunities from children to nurture and connect with their true passions. If you remove the Push/Punish, you will see that the learner should be the leader of her education. Of course, parents, government, and other entities should form partnership with the learner and offer quality, respectful, and loving support.
  • Mar 20 2012: I think that everyone should be in charge of their education, with the help of a guiding system which would teach only the basics with a lot of optional complementary subjects (this could work online like tutorials) and this way kids would get into things they are interested in as opposed to teaching everyone the same thing.

    We should reward curiosity with knowledge and reward creativity with support.

    And what if those who should, don't? well I live in Mexico and pretty much those who should, don't... so it is not a what if, I think the result of "those who should, don't" is the current situation.
  • Mar 18 2012: It should be a partnership between family, educator, and mentor teams. Each person in the partnership should do all they can to increase the level of education for a child. first line educators and family members should stay abreast of the child's progress relative to their expectations and question other members of the team at an adult level when there is something observed that seems odd, is missing, or is adversely impacting the child's progression towards being a successful adult. In this instance i see mentor teams as not one of the first two groups, but adults such as coaches, religious leaders, scouting leaders, youth group leaders, music teachers, etc. that are all interested in the well being of the child enough to volunteer and help with progress.

    I think that those that do look out for the education and well being of a child should be vigilant to speak up to public welfare officials if they think any group member is not doing their job, particularly the primary care givers and educators. However, raising a child and educating a child will always carry some risk to both the child and those that try and help that lessons will not be learned or that they are the wrong lessons. Both educator and student are human and therfor subject to imperfections.
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    Mar 18 2012: That is another TWO questions... *smile*
    Anyway...
    Parents... or next of kins... or in the case of orphants ... foster parents.

    About what if this doesn't work is a bit complicated.
    The easiest answer would be to make a law out of it. So there'll be legal consequences if they don't.