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Dale Farnan

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What changes would you make to education?

I am a 16 year old high school student who is somewhat dissatisfied with education in general in today's society. Too much emphasis is placed on memorization as opposed to creativity. Many students are more concerned about getting good grades than actually learning. The focus on not making mistakes discourages innovative solutions to problems.

What I ask you is: If you had complete control, what changes would you make to the education system? Should fine arts be taught more? Should math and science? Should we have a class in logic or creativity or kindness? Should the teacher to student ratio be raised and how would this help? How can we make better use of available technology to help students learn? How can we promote creative thinking?

What practical ideas can you suggest to improve education?

Topics: education
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    Jun 17 2013: To completely answer your question would take a lifetime. So, let me just bite off a little chunk of it. I've been teaching college for a little over a decade. What I've seen is that instructors are viewed as a liability. Let me explain that before the flames begin. I've seen so many schools spend big money on recreation centers, stadiums and classroom facilities. Yet, while they're spending big bucks the vast majority of faculty is part-time without benefits. This is because the ones who have power are making decisions based on the American corporate business model--which is all about turning short-term profits. Buildings, land and facilities are real estate assets--appreciable commodities. Faculty are viewed as a cost: a liability on a profit and loss statement.

    Until developing, retaining and giving faculty the freedom to teach is a priority our system will be in the dumper. Education at its simplest boils down to teachers and students. Teachers must be viewed and treated as an asset!

    On the student side of things, the system is designed with the underlying assumption that students are lazy slackers and learning is an unnatural process. Think about how the system motivates--by an external system of rewards and punishments: grades, policies and procedures. Why would the system do this unless the paradigm of practice (never stated) is that we need to force people to learn? When motivation is external students are conditioned to conform to requirements placed upon them. The system is not based on the assumption that learning is a normal, natural process and that if we connect to students' natural drives and ambitions they will flourish!

    So, to answer your question, our system is designed in ways completely incongruent with how we learn. We are operating out of accord with human nature. People have internal drives and learning is a natural, normal process. We are designed to be creative beings. Until we start building on the right philosophies things will stink!

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