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What are the limitations that keep new educational designs from being implemented tomorrow in schools and especially in higher education?

School is my awful job and learning is my amazing hobby; This has been my take on life ever since and contrary to what I thought would happen, it hasn't changed in the last few months of college, when I have actually found that undergraduate studies aren't much different from its earlier analogous structures in what concerns quality of learning.
I figured something would change in college, it had to. No institution of higher education would, like it had always been done before, only try to standardize me through disengaging processes of memorization and mechanization in class, and then test me for it, but they did so, and so I keep dragging my feet through the halls like I always did, uninspired by it all.
Well, here I am watching 10 TED talks and having more fun than I had in any of my classes so far, where I am basically taught simple things as if they were complicated instead of the opposite.
I think the education systems we have are all about making us easily browsable encyclopedias of knowledge and funny looking calculators without ever compelling us to make our own connections between concepts and subjects, understanding them at their core or questioning the underlying mechanisms that drive the phenomena we study, but why? Why does this happen when we have computers that are infinitely better at storing data then our brain and when we know that in order to come up with creative solutions to real life problems we have to do so much more than just recall previous knowledge; also, there is an important link between the education of today and the leader of tomorrow, and if we continue using the educational techniques of yesterday then we will keep having the same uninspired (to say the least) leaders of today. Now my question is: Do you think this is a problem? Exactly what is causing this? Is it a economic or a sociological issue? Does the academic world want to solve this? Does the corporate world? Do the governments? Do you think it can be solved? How?
Thanks

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  • Nov 17 2012: I'm an Associate Professor with 10 years classroom experience, a terminal degree in my field and about 10 years professional non-academic experience in the same field. I am pursuing another advanced degree in Education for the purpose of 1) better educating today's youth and helping to close the achievement gap, and 2) to contribute to the Education Revolution that needs to and hopefully will happen. "What are the limitations..." I believe that money, training, and apathy are central. Money because it is needed to modify every aspect of public schooling from buildings to curriculum to personnel. Training because it is needed to "re-educate" the vast majority of currently practicing teachers of every level from pK-16 equipping them with 21st C methodologies to effectively educate the individual while also teaching the group. Apathy because while the "silent majority" may agree that change needs to happen, they aren't willing to demand change, much less make enough noise that it happen.

    That said, my thoughts for your personal plight are these: you seem to be judging your entire undergrad experience based on 4 or 5 Instructors out of the 35-40 that you are likely to encounter, and judging it on 4-5 courses out of 35-40 that you'll likely take. Not all of us teach the same way so don't give up hope in your first term.

    I could have my students focus on memorizing names and dates and terminology, but that won't make them successful in their careers. What will add to their success is a comprehensive understanding of the why and how of their craft. I want my students to be able to converse, debate, evaluate and ultimately make a personal choice - it's those tools that will aid in their success as professionals and as human beings. I agree with your suggestion that there are two basic approaches to disseminating information - just the facts, go memorize them, or WHY, now let's look at it and talk. Old minds use the former, revolutionaries use the later.
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    Gail . 50+

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    Nov 10 2012: I too LOVE learning, but I only discovered that long after I left school and the indoctrination began to wear off.

    When the great industrialists designed educational paradigms, they were insistent that schools not provide a complete education, but only be taught those skills that would make them better workers. So your education is not education. It's training - and teachers make the simple sound complex because they have to fill in semesters to earn their money, and you can't sell a week's worth of knowledge for hundreds of dollars per credit hour.

    To fix education, you have to fix the economic system that destroys it.

    I love Ken Robinson's talks. But I think that you have to include Dan Pink's talk about motivation
    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html Education serves business, and business is ignoring the evidence of what motivates people - which is the core of a healthy business model. Business sticks to the "you are slave, I am not" hierarchy, and that is fed into your educational system.

    Here is another important talk by RSAnimate - that talks about the problems with capitalism.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0&list=FL23ULzV7ik5lQQo51yOnJ0g&index=12&feature=plpp_video

    It may seem odd to include an economics video in a question about education, but if you understand that education is nothing more than a subsidy for business, established to train the race of laborers, you should see the connection.

    Economics is the reason why students today learn more and more about less and less - the age of specialization. Specialized education is not education. It leaves its victims functionally uneducated.
    • Nov 14 2012: Specialized education is not education. It leaves its victims functionally uneducated

      Quite a good way to put it! Thanks.
    • Nov 16 2012: Thank you for giving such an insightful comment fellow TED lover.

      What you said really made me think about the very important role economics play on education, but even more on the power of education to influence economics and how that could be an opportunity. Let me explain..

      Has you said schools are training grounds for future workers. But isn't the face of business a completely different one from when the currently employed educational system was designed? If so, why doesn't a business that adapts to markets and government policies in a flip of a switch grow in conformity with that and start making an effort to change it, even if for its own well-being. Why don't big companies invest in education the same way they invest in advertising for example? Don't you think that from their point of view it would be worth it?

      Anyway, I've taken your suggestion of putting Dan Pink's talk up there alongside all the others and I will leave you with a RSAnimate video of another of Ken Robbinson's talks in case you haven't seen it yet and are interested in that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U
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        Gail . 50+

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        Nov 16 2012: Yes, the face of business is quite different from that which existed when public education was developed and our educational systems have not responded. This I think is a two-fold problem.

        One is the problems is talked about by Dan Pink. Business just doesn’t get it. But the other pertains to the last paragraph of my post, “Economics is the reason why students today learn more and more about less and less - the age of specialization. Specialized education is not education. It leaves its victims functionally uneducated.”

        Functionally uneducated educators have assumed authority over teaching methods. Ask a typical teacher about American history and you will hear the lies that they learned. Ask them to review the actual historical documents to see the discrepancies, and they will refuse (I’ve often tried). They are perfect representations of Robinson’s example of people turned into sheeple by “education”.

        If we were to ask educators to produce children with open and creative minds, teachers would not know how to do that because, by and large, they don’t LOVE learning. They were turned into sheeple by THEIR educations. They work for a paycheck (and vacation time). So asking business to contribute more $$ won’t help – whether $ goes to schools or students. The problem is much deeper and more systemic.

        When we fix education, we will begin to bring down the entire socio/economic/political model that forms our society. But we can’t even fix it when our entire culture was raised in institutions that leave them so ignorant as to be incapable of understanding not only what is wrong and how to fix it, but it also teaches them to fear the solution that actually exists.
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          Nov 16 2012: It is quite unfair and inaccurate to say that teachers work for a paycheck and vacation time and do not love learning. Perhaps you know some who do, but that is not true in general in that profession.
  • Nov 10 2012: Most of us misunderstand the concept of education. That is why we get so little from schools. So, we blame the teachers, blame the system, the administration, the syllabus...everyone and everything but ourselves.
    Now we've got the internet and computers and fancy gadgets, and we think they are a perfect solution to our inadequacies; but like those men of old looking for some El-Dorado, whatever new system that we clamour for and get would also present its own inadequacies.

    The school system is not perfect. Far from it. And whatever modification would also never be.
    Education is a personal responsibility. The school is only a starting block for education, not the destination. Men like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg know this and now they shine.
    • Nov 10 2012: First of all. thank you so much for contributing to this discussion. Let me tell you though that I couldn't disagree more with what you are saying and I'll explain why in a sec, but first, I want to explicitly say that I find education as we know it to be a blessing for everyone who gets to have access to it and that many people who don't, would give everything they have to be able to go to school. I KNOW THAT.

      Now I also know that the technological, human and financial resources are all out there in much greater quantity then what would be required to change the educational system, and when you say that "whatever new system that we clamour for and get would also present its own inadequacies" I say of course it would, but is that valid reason for not trying to improve it and couldn't that argument be used in every problem we want to overcome as a call for non-action?

      Secondly you claim as if written in stone that school is only a starting block for education, but why? why should that be when we spend 9 hours a day, 5 days a week in school (another strange concept) under the pretext of learning but we are expected to 'really' learn out on our own as if this was a path of penitence we must walk before getting somewhere we wanna be? Why don't we integrate the positive side of self-learning and self-development with the amazing resources we should be getting in schools and instead of having ONE Bill Gates coming up with genius ideas and models built from his garage, we could have MILLIONS of Bill's sprouting from our school and universities.

      To close, let me had that I think the hindrance is (as it has been said in previous comments for which I thank as well) all in the heads of the people who don't believe in a revolution or won't profit from it, don't care for it or simply don't see the need for it, and worst won't even consider discussing it.

      Thank you once more for discussing it here.
      • Nov 10 2012: I have not implied by my statement that it is written in stone that schools are the starting block for education. I just want it to be noted that the education system is not responsible for whatever inadequacies a student/learner/pupil has.
        School systems should change, no doubt about that. But becoming the next innovator like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs is an individual decision.
        It is not as if people can be taught to be innovators. It is the use of the power of imagination and creativity that makes this happen. Now, people have been creative in harsh environments and in rosy environments; so its not about giving excuses for not been creative, or blaming schools, society or systems.
        Dream Big; then do it!
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    Nov 10 2012: 1) Lethargy.
    2) Status Quo.
    3) Inertia.
    • Nov 10 2012: I would like to know how do you relate these concepts together Richard.
      Can you elaborate a bit?
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        Nov 11 2012: I am not Richard, I am Edward, but I will answer your question. Lethargy is an absence of significant energy. It produces nothing and contributes to the "natural" resistance to change for the simple reason that change requires work. Status quo is the argument that the way we do it now is just fine and is the effect of several causes, one of which is lethargy. Inertia is the natural tendancy of matter to resist any change in velocity. Metaphorically inertia refers to the natural, automatic desire to leave something as it is. All of these work together to put obstacles in the way of change.
        • Nov 14 2012: Thank you so much for replying and my apologies for thinking that Richard is a cooler name then Edward. (Just kidding, it was a foolish mistake and won't happen again :)

          I agree with your description of the situation Edward, and sad as it can be this three words just about sum up some of the people I have seen installed in power back where I am from, people to whom development is an empty word and self-interest is a way of life.
  • Nov 14 2012: What an inspiring talk from Ken Robinson. I am a teacher, and I have just completed a research study on teacher goal orientations. I think therein may lie some of the solution. You see, teachers and their students, especially in post primary schooling, focus on performance, rather than mastery. It's much more important to prove that you know something, rather than that you actually know (about) it. Mastery focuses on knowing, and developing your interests for the real reason, that you really want to know more about something. And of course, we also focus in post primary both students and teachers) on making sure no one finds out what we might not be so good at.
    I think that thinking about education, in terms of mastery, rather than in terms of 'learning outcomes' that are SMART (specific, measurable etc) can actually bring about a change in our orientation (both teachers and their students) and enable a better more creative system than anything we can even dream of in current thinking. And remember teachers are being measured through such 'outcome' or performance criteria too.
    I also wonder shouldn't we teach (and learn) cogniscent of personality, in all its manifestations- and how much better that would be for our students.
    I could go on!!
    This debate is a very important one.
    • Nov 16 2012: Thank you for sharing your personal experience Brid.

      I have to tell you how exited I am about having someone who is studying part of this problem discuss it with me and all of us here in the TED platform. I also feel good knowing that someone is studying this issue I have been struggling with for so long.

      Now, I agree with what you said about how there should be a more personalized way of teaching where mastery of subject (and expansion of mind I dare say) are the real goal as opposing to having learning outcomes as the be all end all of education. But the problem people pose to this view of things is that it looks Utopian and impossible to implement. So the question I pose is how would you start implementing this right away, if you had the means to do it?

      Ps.:If there is a link to any research you might have published feel free to share it here, if not I would encourage you to lay out some of your conclusions or results, the full study who knows, as I think you will be blown away by the constructive feedback you might get and it would also be interesting for us to get an inside peak on some actual data from this area of research and so expand horizons on the subject.
  • Nov 14 2012: Old world powers always avoid to be defeated by new powers. People with creative skills hardly become easy to control.
    Perhaps the answer is as simple as that?
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    Nov 13 2012: Yeah, mitchell, although you sort of caught me, since I am a little down on formal education. See a conversation I started about the Maasai rejection of formal ed. We do say experience is the best teacher.

    Your idea of making your papers more personal is cool. I'm friends with a professor of ecological literature, Scott Slovic at Idaho University. He considers himself a literature critic, but he asserts that when a critic writes, it's good to insert some of him/herself into the criticism. I just finished his book, Going Away to Think. You'd probably like it.
  • Nov 12 2012: First and foremost, I would like to say that I'm a big fan of Ken Robinson as well, and I have discussed his ideas at length with professors at my own university as well as alumni, family and friends. The opportunities we have to access information and knowledge are endless, so we are fortunate to that extent, but I would like to tell a short story to show how I relate to what your topic is about.

    By the time I was in junior high school I was already becoming disinterested in subjects like the sciences and math because my teachers were never giving me a reason to study them. In grade 10, when my teacher was reviewing the Pythagorean Theorem with us in class, I stopped her in the middle of her explanation and asked her, "Why are we learning this? What are we ever going to use it for? How is this practical?" The only answer she gave me was, "You have to learn it because it's in the curriculum." Dissatisfying to say the least; however, there is something fundamental that you are missing out on, and you can draw from Foucault to see it. The issue is discourse, both in the philosophical sense and also by its sociological definition as well.

    Power relations are not nearly as linear as Foucault wrote; rather, they're circular as well as hierarchical, and it takes a great deal of effort to change the discourses of any part of society. I have managed to do this in my own classes by subverting the concrete expectations of my professors and exposing them to my own newer ways of thinking, writing, learning, etc. As the practices of education will not change overnight, perhaps you are thinking in too broad of a spectrum for now.

    Try actively learning differently. If nobody in your classes usually puts up their hand to ask a question, put yours up. If you're professors asks you to write about one thing, think of your own topic instead and ask your professor if you can write on that. There's more than one way to approach university to get the most of it.
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      Nov 17 2012: Oh, Mitchell, our conversation ran out below, so i'll use your comment here to continue from below. I thought you might enjoy a book by a friend of mine, scott slovic, called Going Away to think. He is a literary critic, specifically of environmental literature, and he also believes that a critic should inject something of him/herself into his/her criticism. My mother was a second-grade teacher, and she said her kids always perked up, listened hard, when she would tell them something about her home life, her husband or her children.

      You must be a brave person to question your teachers and try different things. Where do you get your bravery? What do you study, where?
      • Nov 19 2012: Wow, thank you Greg. It's not often than any person receives such a compliment.

        I'm a student at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I'm in the Honours Program in the Faculty of Arts, and decided my major in my first year as English. I suppose my bravery comes from a few lessons I learned as I grew up. One was from my father, and goes something like, "Your happiness is your own, and nobody is going to look after it except for you. Do what's best for you and those around you." Another was from my grade 9 Language Arts teacher. He taught me to always think about all the things I hear, read, or see. Turn them over in my mind, and come up with my own opinion. That's how you grow into wisdom.

        There are other things I learned growing up, but one thing I've realized on my own is that more often than not it's better to keep yourself uncomfortable. It's by keeping yourself vulnerable that you can really affect your own life and the lives of those around you, despite what their stature is within society. People need to have their buttons push, because if nobody is willing to do that, to push against the current, then society is going to stagnate and change will never happen. Bravery is only a small part of the equation, the more important things are false bravado and an irrationally deep belief in yourself.
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          Nov 22 2012: thanks, mitch. Say, I'm wondering what questions interest you in life as I have seen statements in your comments but not questions. by the way, if you ever want any TEDster to have the option to send you email, you should actually fill out your profile, as you have to give permission to the website to let people send you email.
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    Nov 11 2012: I suppose in the very worst case you could drop out of school altogether and go to work, learn by experience in the working world.
    • Nov 12 2012: I think he's more questioning the rigidity of traditional education. My longer submitted comment might explain more.
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        Nov 12 2012: Yeah, I got that he was questioning the rigidity of traditional education, mitchell. You did see that I submitted two comments, right? In the first comment, I proposed some strategies for improving things. But I was thinking that if none of them worked, and he was really unhappy, he could drop out. I really like your strategies as well.
        • Nov 12 2012: Hmmm. Yeah. I guess I did kind of wrongly discount what you were saying. Sorry.

          I don't know... there seems to be a sort of dichotomy going on within the general student body, and it really does depend on several different factors that decides how the conversation goes. I have this one friend I'm always discussing this issue with. He prescribes to the whole "Ivory Tower' concept of knowledge and education. He would rather that it's only people who are interested in capital-H Higher Learning that should be allowed to have access to knowledge and information at a deeper level than just the superficial, whereas I'm of the opinion that knowledge should be made available to all in such a way as to make it entertaining and easy to understand. TED does an excellent job of this, but that doesn't mean that the systems involved actually do that.

          The idea of interesting learning is interesting to me though. This semester I've been experimenting in my papers by writing in a very personal format, doing away with the traditional style of research papers in favour of something with more flavour, and the results have been quite telling. I'm somehow managing to pull in a rather high grade average despite most of my professors being of the old-school breed. Maybe changing the rigid mentality of our institutions isn't absolutely impossible to do? It might just take the courage to go against the stream and try something new when approaching the "time tested traditions" or our education system.

          .....as I'm sitting here typing this I'm still shaking my head. My thoughts are chasing themselves around in my head.
    • Nov 14 2012: Schools are also a working environment, remember.
      At least if they are not pure confessional institutions, they are also a place for workers to work, and they have also their own market constraints, depending on each country system and visions on education, public responsabilities on that and other points.
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        Nov 15 2012: Yeah, you're right. Do you think that schools want their students to be happy, or do you think they don't care whether they're happy?
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    Nov 11 2012: Sorry you're unhappy with your school. You could always see a counselor at your school and tell them of your complaints. Or go see your professors after hours and talk to them about your complaints. Do you actually have to take history, or math, to pursue your degree? Maybe you could drop out of these courses, and try to find courses that interest you more. Maybe you could get special permission to skip basic courses and take advanced courses where you would more deeply explore the meaning of things. This strategy might work in history better than in math, in math I don't see how one could jump ahead.
    You're a little general in your complaints. For example, tell me one specific question you would like to ask your history professor that you don't feel you can ask now.
    In the worst case, you could just not give much energy to the classes you don't like and accept a lower grade. Give more energy to the classes you really believe in.
  • Nov 11 2012: There is hope.

    Check out this link: http://m.startribune.com/news/?id=177781501&c=y
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    Nov 10 2012: Is there any more widely discussed topic than this one? The quality of education and availability of it are so important, that I don't think one can reasonably suggest that those within the field as professionals and those outside are not continually engaged in discussing it.

    Your college experience is not everyones. Could you share what field you study?

    In my experience at university in the seventies, I barely had to memorize anything.

    My daughter who recently graduated from college was deciding at the beginning what to major in and by midyear sophomore year knew that she was attracting to the fields and courses that were about ideas and analysis and repelled by those in which memorization was a large feature. So she chose a field of study that suited her interests.

    I think one could inquire field by field what actually needs to be memorized and what doesn't. Terminology often needs to be remembered, or one is continually looking stuff up, even to understand people speaking.

    But I cannot visualize any field where that should be an emphasis. Scholars are thinking and experimenting, as well as being thoroughly familiar with and thus remembering the important work done by others as part of the learning that is the core of their work. Representing the fields with integrity should offer students the chance to do the same. I don't suppose when you say 'memorizing" you mean being thoroughly familiar with the important work in the field of study.
    • Nov 10 2012: Thanks for the reply Fritzie.

      I am in my first semester of a liberal arts and science education. My focus is on biology but I still haven't had any courses related to it yet so I'm currently taking English, Calculus, Psychology and Logic.

      Well, in my experience it is possible to take any field of study and teach it as something comprehensive and exciting or the complete opposite. And it all depends on the approach taken by the experts on how much content should be taught, what kind of content should be taught and the way it should be taught.

      For ex.: When teaching mathematics, if someone shows a formula on the board, they have two ways of having students remember and apply it correctly. Either they say "memorize this formula and apply it when you see x, y and z problem in the way I am going to show you" or they convey the meaning of the formula by decoding it and then explain why it is of good use in x, y and z problem and encourage their students to pose questions, doubts or even disagree with the presented statements.

      In the same way if someone is teaching history then they can prompt their students to memorize a flurry of dates, names and events or they can expose the events to the students by giving possible causes for the first event, it's date and intervening parts, then relate it to the second event and so on and so forth. This causes a difference in the quality of learning independently of the field of study being taught.

      Even thought the first approach is much faster, requires less effort on the part of the lecturer and it is equally as valuable if you want to ace an exam the second one is better if you really want to understand fully what you have learned or even just remember it 15 days after the exam has taken place.

      This is what I mean when I say that memorization is present throughout our educational systems that leave no room for real understanding and mastering of knowledge,

      I don't claim this to be universal, but it is in my experience!
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        Nov 10 2012: I expect biology and organic chemistry will entail a lot of memorization and math, physics, and logic almost none.
  • Nov 10 2012: Originality has to be rewarded for it to flourish. Most of what I've learned was self-taught, not from my education. How do you teach a thirst for knowledge? You do it by finding teachers that promote thinking over rote memorization. If you want to produce engineers, then rote memorization may be desirable. If you want to "create" Nobel Laureates, then rote memorization will stiffle originaltity.

    Yes we have a leadership problem. Politicians can't be innovators because they require consensus, thus any revolutionary ideas will not pass through the palace guard. There will be very little "out of the box" thinking despite what might be professed.

    Look at what happened when Paul Ryan tried to take on Medicare; the Republicans were vilified for raising the spectre of vouchers, yet Medicare is unsustainable. So what happens? We keep going down a path that is clearly wrong i.e. we are burying our heads in the sand over Medicare---we'll deal with that in the future. The future is here yet we are still ignoring the obvious---we will either cut benefits, increase taxes, or increase the debt. There are no other options long-term. Our leaders lack the vision to take on the big issues. Just look at America's approach to energy. Let's drill for oil, frack for gas and mine coal. How can we have vision when most Americans just look at their pocketbooks?

    Visionaries are viewed as crackpots and crackpots don't drive policy---politiicians do.
    • Nov 10 2012: Thank you the reply and for being the first person to answer to my thread Richard.

      Well I am not American so I don't have enough insight to critically speak about Medicare but I definitely agree with what you said about the solution for change in education depending on finding good thinkers who are willing to think together with their students, but then again, isn't it easier for them not to?

      In the same way that students benefit more by not thinking to much since they already have a ton of ridiculous work to do, teachers also have this problem. And even though there are the ones who are simply obtuse (and they do exist), don't have anything to give and deny any benefit form this way of teaching, there are many more who might like to do this exercise but cannot because they still have tests to correct, meaningless meetings to attend, a certain number of pages they have teach for each lecture and many more systemic issues that once again keep the creative answers from emerging.
      • Nov 19 2012: João,
        I don't know what field you are studying in but there are quite a few situations where memorization is a key element to understanding the facts. For example, I'm a third year health science student and in my first two years I had to take a myriad of courses that taught medical terms, how cells work, basic chemical principles that all had to be simply memorized so that this year and further down the road, I can understand the body, how it works and be able to communicate effectively with others in my field about it.
        While I do agree that the school system needs to be changed, maybe don't be so quick to abolish teaching students how to memorize, it does come in handy. Perhaps the solution to the education problem is in learning to more evenly split the curriculum from a younger age between teaching children to memorize and teaching them to be innovative.
  • Nov 22 2012: I am a first year college student as well. To answer your questions in order...

    Yes, I believe the current education models are woefully inadequate.

    I believe it's caused by a wide variety of factors. Economics and sociology are but two, albeit two large encompassing areas.

    The "academic world" is like many other societies. That is to say, it is not of a single mind. There are many professors who wish to change the way things are structured, but when students are paying $500 for tuition and textbooks the students expect a finished product. Teachers can be fired for using an off the wall approach that fails.

    The corporate world is all for higher education so long as it means you can do your job better. in fact, they'll even help fund some of the research on better education practices if it's in their interest (particularly tech companies).

    Governmental systems each have their own unique take on the situation. Some actively promote changes in education. Others very aggressively resist it.

    The education systems of today aren't something I would say can be "solved". Rather, I believe they will evolve. As can be seen in your Related Talks list, a number of technologies and practices have been proposed for building a better system. Many schools are taking note, and making conservative moves towards a transition. For example, the concept of a fully online class was inconceivable two decades ago. Now, almost every college (and even some high schools) are utilizing them. As technologies and methods are tried and tested, they will become more accepted.

    All of this, however, doesn't solve your immediate problem of dull classes. My personal advice is to learn the material they teach, and then learn past it on your own. Independent study is much more enjoyable than rote. Additionally, it's fueled by your motivation rather than your teacher's. Google Coursera and pick a class that interests you, or one you aren't satisfied with.

    Best of luck Joao.
  • Nov 19 2012: There is zero value to memorizing facts today as explained in this great talk by Seth Godin. Sir Ken Robinson also has two fantastic talks on TED (already mentioned in comments below).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXpbONjV1Jc&feature=plcp
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    Nov 18 2012: One reason is in the selection of textbooks. There are better educational methodologies for sure but not from the "established" publishing companies that are in control and know how to send their representatives to university and school districts to keep winning their selection making them feel obligated because they offered them a blow your mind presentation of their "robust" curriculum (of the same thing) and left samples and gifts, and made them an irresistible package. The adoption of curriculum and methodology should be studied and consulted by the people that know and care considering options outside the box.
  • Nov 18 2012: Current Education System is not a good education system. It is text book based learning system , which is an abstract way of learning and more over it focuses on too much information and also too fast . Which ultimately leads to cramming and learning by rote.

    But,The actual learning process is spontaneous and slow..

    When I was in class 3 I cam across a word called "Panic" and its meaning was given at the end of the chapter. After reading the meaning I still did not understood the word, Because it has no direct association with the visual image of how a person looks like when he panics, what emotions are visible on the face of the person. All these were missing.

    The text book based learning has the drawback , you never know what actually the word means and how it is associated with real things. In text book based learning when you find any word , you often try to find the meaning in the dictionary which ultimately leads to another abstract word. Its like a loop one abstract word point to another abstract word.
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      Nov 18 2012: textbook should not be THE learning objective but they could be one of many mediums to experience learning. for example, learning happens when you engage and contribute from your own brain as you read from a textbook, internet, magazine, ebook, poem, etc.
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    Nov 16 2012: The world has grown. Today, there are many different occupations. Yesterday, your only option was farmer / entrepreneur.

    Since the world needs such a wide range of specialist, the best way to get them is to teach everyone everything & let them decide which path they like best. It works, but we all wind up hating school at some point. No one likes to waste their time. A large portion of our educations felt like a huge waste of time & we complain about it alot... However, that time did infact serve a purpose. Maybe not to the individual, but to society as a whole.