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Kevin Saide

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Reforming the education system

Having worked with thousands of young people in disadvantaged situations over the past 30 years I believe that we need to reform the Education system to meet the needs of these young people. Education has paid lip service to managing the needs of difficult kids and it is time to look at this old system.

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    Apr 4 2011: A new curriculum based around the Technological Revolution would be a dramatic change from the industrialized model that is currently in use. A new technological curriculum would abandon the current textbook-driven, teacher-centered, paper and pencil curriculum that has proven to be unsuccessful and inadequate in preparing students to solve 21st century problems. Experts agree almost unanimously that young people aren't receiving the necessary skills to flourish in the 21st century marketplace. As Robert F. Duvall, President and CEO of the Council for Economic Education says, "We teach things, subject matter, but we don't teach how to think, that is, to analyze and synthesize novelty." Education will continue to fall apart if students, teachers, and parents don't stand up and take action. Taking action is leadership and thinking outside of the box is divergent thinking. Psychologists have proven that divergent thinking is more crucial than useless learned knowledge. Students can't be taught how to think. Rather, students need to think how to learn. Schools have an archaic curriculum that focuses on memorizing facts and forgetting them instead of learning. We need to get rid of the rigid rules, restrictions, and requirements that are discouraging creativity and allow students to create their own curriculum. Every individual thinks differently and should learn meaningful information in a way that is easy for them to comprehend and attain. Technology is the future and should be utilized in the classroom. Additionally, course titles need to be changed to fit today's global marketplace. Students don't need to learn about the history of feudal Europe in 3rd grade, 7th grade, and 10th grade. The problem with the current curriculum is that information is constantly repeated (and most of it is useless anyways). Learning how to create a product that utilizes technology through the sharing of ideas is far more important. I suggest reading Outliers and The World is Flat.
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    Apr 9 2011: Speaking of this topic of Education reform I came across this talk by Sir Ken Robinson. Hopefully you might find this as inspiring and entertaining as I did. The link is:

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    Apr 4 2011: More ideas of education reform please! this thread will not get left behind! It is gravely more important than religion.
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      Apr 9 2011: What you are saying would require a whole new look at how we educate which is what I think we need. Critical thinking and analytical thinking is crucial if we are to help our young people keep pace with the enormous pressures with which they are confronted. Schools that are teaching Philosophy in latter high school are helping students to build a foundation for understanding life and why other people do what they do.
      I think we also need to equip students with skills to deal with social media. They learn how to use this technology from an early age but do we need to teach them how to manage it?
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        Apr 12 2011: Technology is a must to teach kids turning 10 because it will require memory as well as free thought to maximize potential!

        With a new education system comes new meanings around subject terms. Example:as of now philosophy is a class more revolved around the history of thought and not the science of thought, this needs to be corrected! Example2: Math, our forefathers of math would have killed a small country of people if they would have knew they could get a basic calculator. After geometry and algebra, calculators all the way! Example3: Science now in the curriculum comes off as people science or earth science... science is the most limitless subject it is the father of math and philosophy. Science class needs to be replaced with a health course, space-exploration course, evolution course, or whatever does not just give the idea that science is a bunch of facts and figures it simply isn't!
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    Apr 4 2011: "Should we just allow kids to learn in the ways of which their intelligence is best suited, like in Gardener's eight intelligence theory?"

    Gardener recognizes that there are multiply intelligences and we all have them all with the potential to develop them. However the debate on what is an intelligence factor, part, or type is still going on. Some suggest up to 11 intelligences.

    Drop the intelligence concept for a while, it truly is a complex issue.

    Now consider thinking; critical thinking, analytical thinking, problem-solving, so on and so forth.

    We do not change anything in the system except first and second grade together and third and fourth grade together. In which these now two grades no longer have separate subjects, separate ages, or separate books and questions. The subject is thought construction i.e thinking skills, critical thinking, philosophy, logic, anything that involves the idea of "thoughts building on thoughts, while remaining transparent". Now, these kids have been taught for 4 years (maybe not that much is needed) how to construct thoughts logically, orderly, and openly.

    My question is for anyone, what would be the result for these students as they continue with the rest 7 or 8 years of education in normal conditions?

    I personally believe they would excel while being bored with the rest of the education or excel while driving their teachers insane with questions.

    The idea is to set it up so no matter what the subject matter is, a student has the ability to understand that interest to the fullest extent.
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    Apr 4 2011: "The current system is ineffective because of the 3 month summers we give, brain dumping of all the information is a problem, the hours and dates should be altered"

    They brain dump because most of the information isn't relative to their lives (as so they feel) but can you blame them for feeling that way? I remember my entire education and the most important things I use now are math and English. Science and history classes are just "remember and test on later" type classes. Math, if there is no good teacher there is no absorption. Physical education = 45 minutes play time, maybe once a month class on sexual diseases. Really, the electives were the best part of education!! You got to pick what you wanted after years of being told what to do.

    I agree, 3 months off is bad. Should be 4 and 1/2 months, but more spread out throughout the year.

    School shouldn't start at 8 or 9 (seriously? do parents and the older generations really even know what our younger generations are like at all? or did they forget what they did as kids?) Schools starts at 10 ends at 7, with a hour lunch/free period. That is either a hour per 8 course OR 45 minutes for 10 courses. Every other week is a 4 day week instead of 5. The kids of the future are going to only party more and harder. Let's compensate that. 9 hour school days? What?

    The future involving technology and globalization requires WORK, it requires a lot of work to maintain accordingly. Change is needed immediately. Schools haven't reformed since WWII they just gotten easier so kids can go to college easier. I know for a fact many colleges in New Jersey dropped their standards, whether it is for money or we are more dumb now than ever before in comparison, change is needed.

    ANY CHANGE. Another problem are the "politics" around schooling. Which is a nice way to say money issues, you cannot put a price on our future. Why do lawyers, doctors, and architects make more than teachers? Who taught the lawyers, doctors, and architects!
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    Apr 3 2011: We have to start young, VERY young. I am trying with some animated cartoons that hopefully will empower kids to speak up, communicate more effectively and most importantly stand up for their rights and learn their responsibilities. It's called FINDING MY MAGIC and in it children learn about the power within them (inside a 'magic box' with 'me messages'). Just finished - hope it has the impact it needs.
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      Apr 9 2011: Sounds interesting Eve. Are these strategies you developed?
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      Apr 9 2011: Just had a look at your profile so will follow some of those links.
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    Apr 2 2011: Can you be more specific about which needs are being least met for difficult kids, Kevin? If we bring this down to the concrete level, perhaps we can generate actionable suggestions for you to begin slowly building.
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    Mar 28 2011: In getting at one of the underlying issues in the initial question, I think the solution for many kids with exceptional learning needs is not to give them less structure and guidance, but, rather, to equip teachers with the training and resources to provide for the diverse adaptations the students need. Increasing the amount of psychology training for teachers and reducing student: teacher ratios are both good starts! As any of us who have been teaching for very long know, not every kid = 1. Some kids need 2x as much time from the teacher in class, and some need extra time outside of class. Some students need 1.5x worth of comments on their work to help steer them in the right direction. Others require 3x as much class management or lesson pre-planning to make a project work. There is great, innovative work being done in education research and in psychology for connecting with students like these who bring extra student-ness to the classroom, but very few teachers are provided with the training, incentives, or the time to put them in place effectively.
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      Apr 9 2011: Thanks Erik - I would be interested in some of the research you mention. Certainly teahcers need a 'different' way of looking at how they educate the young people to whom I refer. I agree that they don't need less structure but more a sytsem that doesn't "educate" the creativity out of them.
      You have mentioned which needs are being least met - this is difficult to state clearly - first I think that the need to be accepted for who you are in a system that wants everyone to be the same is important. In my experience it breaks me to see a young person who I know has had a shocking upbringing but at the same time has risen above it and developed an enthusiasm to better themselves only to be 'punished for not fitting in to a system that focusses on a curriculum from which we "must not" deviate.
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        Apr 11 2011: Human Exceptionality by Michael L. Hardman, et al., is a good overview. The 10th edition was updated in 2011, I believe.

        I totally agree about the heartbreak of watching a kid with extra challenges be squeezed into the cookie cutter designed for the (mythically) 'average' student! In many of those cases there should be a meaningful distinction between the curriculum goals and the methods of instruction/practice, but that distinction often falls by the wayside in the day-to-day scramble for a teacher with a 30-1 (or higher) student-teacher ratio.
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    Mar 22 2011: What a good way of looking at the question - I too would like to hear how the current system provides holistic education - aren't we just moulding young people to fit into how we want them to be rather than equipping them to handle the pressures of the future, particularly those more vulnerable.
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    Mar 22 2011: I agree with you Marcel - as long as basic education is provided for then why can't we focus on the areas that our young people are interested - I often think of the FAME schools in America where there was a good combination of learning academically crossed with music and dance teaching.
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    Mar 21 2011: the education system needs an over haul. children should be taught basic, primary or hardcore education from as early as age 2. since children are extremely intelligent at that age. and to continue teaching children from age 5 , would cause time, money and life to be waste in terms of productivity. Likewise, children should be taught in the subject areas that they love, instead ofr been forced with subjects that they have no love for. for example, a student love music shouldnt be feed sciences.
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    Mar 20 2011: Indeed the academic treats students as products not individuals and true education doesn't come from constructed lessons that have guide lines. True education comes from trial and error in both the students experience and the educators.

    Indeed now more than ever technology must be implemented into schools; the future is only going to have a greater need of technology teaching must respond to this.

    However I am interested in anyone suggesting the current standard education curriculum is not a prehistoric to today's need. Yes, I would like to hear the argument that our current system is doing any good at all.