Improving our educational system

To implement: Project-based learning, quality and relevant curriculum, and a skill-based education.

To eliminate/reduce: The importance and amount of testing, the importance of quantity on assignments,busy work, and the main goal of going to college.


Why project-based learning?

During a project: Collaborate, design, share

After a project: Collect, organize, manage

Projects are great ways to evaluate the students in place of testing. Using projects as classwork, homework, and in place of tests is the most useful in all learning types; this includes audio, kinesthetic, and visual learners. Projects can be set up in a way that suits all or a specific type of learning. The information gathered to create the project is automatically remembered and stored as the process of doing the project is in action. This takes away the emphasis of learning the information, and places more emphasis on a creative license on how to make the project. This involves an increase in passion towards the subject/topic, motivation as to finishing the project, learning how to time manage, and learning the importance of collaboration, teamwork, and using your own skills to your advantage.

Why quality and relevancy?

Relevancy of curriculum corresponds to the ever-changing world and keeping the curriculum constantly up to date. Such as skills over facts, and learning how to learn over packs of knowledge.

Repetitive assignments pull the passion out of that subject from the student and therefore creates a rebellion from learningthe subject that they now dislike.

Why a skill-based education?

This would create an environment geared towards learning and practicing skills instead of memorizing facts and formulas that wouldn’t be used. Why spend time on things that are specialized for particular careers, when you can generalize that everyone will need certain skills to survive in our ever-changing world? No one will need the knowledge of a Mathematician, Scientist, Economist, and a Health Specialist all at once. Use the same time to teach students how to present in front of an audience, how to problem solve, collaborate, develop who we are and who we want to be. We can do this by creating curriculum skill-based to have an understanding of such things listed above.

Why reduce the importance and amount of testing?

The purpose of testing is different than how it is used. Students look at tests and “night-wasters” where they must force information into their brain that they will memorize long enough for the test, and forget about it later. If we switched tests for projects, we could focus more on learning the skill and only memorizing information when information is needed to master that skill. Skills become embedded physically and mentally as we tend to use vivid pictures and manipulate objects to learn the skill which then, it becomes second nature.

Research shows that testing is not always an accurate method of evaluating students, especially if a student is a poor test taker to begin with. Testing also does not show the evaluation of important skills such as teamwork and communication; both of these will be crucial to know and use in a job/career.

Instead of memorizing what will be on the test or the material given to study from, with the short amount of time they have to study, they are forced to memorize and not ‘learn’ the material. This causes a problem with short term vs. long term memory. They will remember whatever they study the most, and then forget what they short term memorized soon after the test. Short term memory causes them to forget the information soon after and not be able to recall it from memory; like they never memorized it in the first place. If a student learns the topic, it goes into long-term memory and the information will be stored for a much longer period of time. Those who learn and not memorize are able to not only recall the information, but also understand it for themselves. This idea ties back with project-based learning. In place of these tests, projects become valuable ways to easily evaluate someone’s skills, hard work, and show that they learned and did not memorize the information.

Why reduce quantity over quality?

Many teachers feel the need to assign homework even when it is not needed. Sometimes, fewer assignments are more efficient. This creates possible busy work and changes the purpose to the assignment itself. There is no correlation between the amount of homework and a student’s academic achievement.

Why eliminate busy work?

Eliminate useless assignments and replace with useful skills and curriculum that will prepare us for careers in the future.

Why reduce the main goal of going to college?

Learning how to learn is one of the most fundamentally important things to utilize in life and the majority of the world doesn’t know how to do it. Our educational system currently teaches towards the goal of students going to college. (This goal is closely related to students learning how to take AP tests and less focus on the subject itself). Not everyone wants to, or needs to go to college to accomplish their aspirations, dreams, and who they want to become. Why don’t we instead focus on skills we will use, and less towards going through a particular path.



Discussion

  • Becky Cassar GO COURTNEY!!!

  • Anonymous I'm ALL in of this one, Courtney!

  • Kristin Phillips-Matson Go, Courtney! I fully agree that project-based learning is a superior way to educate students and get them taking ownership of their education.

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    Becky Cassar, United States

    9 months ago Comments: GO COURTNEY!!!
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