Some education systems are obsessed with testing, and some are focused on individual self discovery and teachable moments. Which one do you think is more productive?
One of my hats is teaching reading to children who have difficulty learning. I have made it my goal to help each child discover the magic in learning. If they love learning, our relationship is easy. They ask for more things to learn about and for different ways to learn them. I give them choices from what I have planned specifically for them, and they choose with enthusiasm enjoying the task they are given.
If a student leaves school feeling that everything is hard or feeling that there’s no purpose in learning, we have failed. There are many unmotivated kids sitting at home after their schooling is done.
I don’t know how to infuse a love for learning in schools that follow the format of competition that began for me with FCAT (a Florida assessment given in the third grade that was equivalent to taking the Bar as a lawyer). Those tests have only gotten harder because they don’t take into account the individual child; what he or she has learned and it’s application to life. Now, teachers just have to teach test taking skills and the exact skills on the test. How sad is that. It will just serve as comparison to other schools which is translated into money given to a school. It is such a stressful situation to all involved including the children.
eI left the system several year ago and I couldn’t be happier. I make a difference one child at the time. There’s great satisfaction when they come back to the office saying things like, “I am sorry I had to go ahead one more chapter because the story was so good… or Can I start reading chapter books?or …Could we focus more on math? I need to get better at subtraction…. or Can you help me write a speech for Boy Scouts or an essay to get into the young firefighter cadets? Many times our next step comes from them.
In Finland and other countries, children begin to discover themselves and make decisions at an early age. They are expected to choose a sport and electives early on. They are also given lots of freedoms where they have to make choices constantly. These kids actually do better on academic tests when compared to kids in other countries. Their focus is not on the test, but on the child’s growth and wellbeing.
Our goal in education should be to help students learn who they are and what they are able to do, and to help them have a thirst for knowledge so they are not afraid or lazy to apply it, understanding that it’s all part of the process. They also need to learn to think and make decisions on their own. This takes practice and we can give them that time while they are still kids.
If this has not happened as children, when we become adults, we have difficulty knowing what we would love for our lives to be. We have difficulty choosing careers or staying in them. We have difficulty relating to others, and finding satisfaction in what we do.
Let’s help our little ones to discover themselves, to enjoy learning, and to love life.
Your DreamBuilder Coach