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Reforming the education system to incorporate new findings about children

As a student myself, I am learning about many new research findings on how children learn and grow, leading me to wonder why this new knowledge isn't being incorporated into our current education system. I will give an example of two ideas that I believe would be beneficial to our education.

The first finding that I believe should be incorporated into how our educational system works is that certain age groups need a certain amount of sleep. For example, teenagers from 10-17 need 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep and adults need 7-9 hours. Here I am trying to functional at 100% on 4 hours of sleep, and I know I could be so much more productive if I got enough rest. This knowledge is so well known, why do schools not give us time and realistic goals to have us get this healthy amount?

The second is the idea of the Eight Types of Intelligence including Linguistic, Logical, Kinesthetic, Spatial, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Natural. I just wonder how many kinestheticly intelligent children are diagnosed with things like ADHD when they just aren't made to sit still for 8 hours a day.

My idea is just to incorporate findings such as these to make education more effective and beneficial for the children and our future.

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    Nov 19 2012: Everyone assumes that children (and others) can be "educated"
    Children are not educated - they learn. And they do it all by themselves.
    In that light, what we regard as "education" is very close to "torture".
    I suggest everyone takes a look at this - we are damaging our children in the name of a hideous lie.
    No one really needs education, they need only the opportunity to learn.

    Stop devising factory farms for humans.
  • Nov 18 2012: I think there are educational opportunities now that did not exist when I went to school which could lead a certain personality type to extreme study habits. If you are taking AP classes, are part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) or a similarly accelerated program, you could be getting college level work in high school. This can be good or bad, depending on the student. Some students are perfectionists, and think they need to spend every minute making a product perfect. Some students are either ultra-competitive or afraid of not getting an 'A' on everything. These students tend to drive themselves to extreme work ethic habits, knowing they are unhealthy. Some students have parents that drive them to these limits, which is a very unfortunate situation, if true. Often, it is the child's perception that this is desired, and what is really wanted is for the child to succeed, but not at the risk of health.

    If you are old enough to realize something is wrong, then you also should understand that there should be adults in your life to help you remain healthy while you learn. I would talk to your parent first, explain how much time you are spending with each class and that you are worried about your health. If you get no support from your parent, you might need to talk to a guidance counselor or teacher to get some support, or even a principal. All of these adults want you to succeed and be healthy. From a parent's perspective, it is difficult to know how hard to push a child, particularly if they are gifted or hard on themselves relative to academic competition.

    Consider the last paragraph in what Fritzie provided. If you are not using your time wisely then the problem may be something you need to fix. Realize also that spending large amounts of time that is unproductive can lead to this problem as well. There are many tips and techniques for improving the quality of your study time to make it productive. Perhaps this will help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stu
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    Nov 18 2012: Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences is not new research. It is almost thirty years old and has been a part of the thinking of those who develop curriculum and pedagogy and of those who train teachers for a long time. Gardner is at Harvard, which has given him a platform and the kind of credibility that leads to rapid sharing of his ideas within the profession of education.

    The sleep thing is challenging, but if you are getting so much work that you can sleep only four hours each night, I am most curious to know where you go to school, My kids always got a huge amount of homework, in my opinion, but there was never an issue of forcing them into four hours of sleep.

    Are you making good choices as to how you spend your time after school? If school is roughly from eight until three, that leaves seventeen hours. If you were to sleep eight hours, you would still have nine hours left for everything else, including homework.
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    Nov 23 2012: I don't know about the sleep issue. I went to Stanford, which is a demanding curriculum, and I was able to get eight hours a night and succeed in my classes. Why is it that you're only able to get four hours?

    As far as eight types of intelligence, i'm sorry your conversation is closing, as I'd like to think about it more. On the face of it, it does sound good, for example do you mean physically energetic kids would be channeled towards athletics? Of course, even in athletics, you have to have your energy under control, you can't just be running around crazily. I like the idea of differentiating kids, of saying kids have different strengths and personalities. And of taking something that could seem like a problem and turning it into a strength.
  • Nov 18 2012: Ahh, I should have looked more into Gardner's theory to realize how old it is! It's new to me as I just learned about it in class ;).

    With the sleep issue I think it may also have to do with my major, graphic design. It's a lot of practical work that has to be perfected, taking a lot of time. And to stand out from the many other graphic design students trying to get jobs requires me to put in more time as opposed to those who would sleep more or use time for non-school activities in order to develop a better portfolio. I definitely try to make my time as productive as possible, don't worry! I am also, sometimes regrettably, one of those perfectionist students.

    Thank you all for your responses, it's really interesting to hear other opinions about ideas swirling in my head. I actually came here on a school assignment, but will be frequenting these forums more as there is some fascinating things being discussed.
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    Nov 18 2012: Cynthia, I believe your initial idea is great. I agree that education needs to be tailored by the educator to best fit the needs of the students. I think your examples are lacking a little steam, but again, you have the right idea. The amount of sleep per night for children and adults I think is much more dependent on the time management skills and discipline of each individual student. I am a full time student, with a full time job, married, with a child on the way, and I still manage to get 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Secondly, I agree that the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is given out way to easily without looking at the reasons behind a child's behavior. There are so many other factors that are involved with a child's behavior (discipline, authority, environment, etc.) that could promote behavior that is analogous to ADD/ADHD but is really just the result of other factors.

    Great topic, maybe there are other reasons and examples as to how we can best tailor and modify the education system to best fit the needs of the students.
  • Nov 18 2012: Reforming the educational system is a must. I think starting at a different level should be looked at along with sleep and individualism. I never understood why teachers are one of the lower paying professions but are instrumental in educating the children for the future. Our society is backwards, we pay athletes a substantial income that the water boy probably makes more than some teachers. I do agree changing sleep habits and evaluating the individual and education level they should be at will make for a better system. But when you have teachers with minimal test scores on SAT or ACT test, how do we expect them to help our children. The system needs to be reformed starting with how one qualifies to become a teacher. Another important factor our the children's parents. If the child is not getting enough sleep, is the child getting the right parenting?

    I hope I am not too far off from what everyone is stating. I find this site very interesting.
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      Gail .

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      Nov 19 2012: Teachers being lower paid was once a problem. Now it's a myth. Compare a teacher's compensation package with the total compensation package of other careers requiring masters degrees and the myth becomes obvious.

      Look at the recent Chicago teacher strikes. Starting pay is $75,000.00 and that doesn't even include the incredible benefits that teachers receive on top of that.
  • Nov 18 2012: If you ever have any education courses you would learn that many things in education are not related to education. In fact, I am sure that you have observed it. Reread You Don't Understand Me #1 Kersey is using Meyers-Briggs He gives the distributions for the average public school (American) Why would you expect real interestr in Education. Basically the Promethians will be bored to death by anything but an honors or Whatever class Why are we deluding ourselves.? Germany for example gerts the other kids out of academics by eighth grade or whatever. politics and sales are not left brain endeavers.