Being alone for the better part of each day gives me plenty of time to think about all kinds of things. Something I have pondered a lot is what is “education” supposed to be. And I go back to my own days in grade school and high school. (Yes, it’s been a long time ago but I can still make the trip. At least on good days. LOL)
I took all the “hard” courses in high school. Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Biology. But what did I honestly learn? Like what did I study back then that somehow still comes in handy every day?
All I can really pinpoint is typing. Just like I’m doing right now at my computer keyboard. For some reason, when I was in the tenth grade I took a typing class. And have been forever glad that I did. Why did I take it? My guess is because I was in a room of mainly young females. I certainly had no clue that over the next 50+ years I would spend a jillion hours at a keyboard.
I know I learned how to read and write way before high school came along. But beyond that, did I really learn much useful info? Especially considering the times we now live in when someone can ask Alexa any question–and probably get an answer. And it be much quicker and probably more reliable than doing it our self. Which probably means we ask Google instead of Alexa.
I hear some people say that kids need to know Algebra so they can better understand math concepts. Somehow, I have trouble buying into that contention. When was the last time any of us sat down with pencil and paper and figured out some math problem? When was the last time you gave a cashier a twenty dollar bill and he/she figured up the correct change on their own?
All of which circles back to our test-crazed world of education today. Do we teach high school students what they really need to know, or just what can be most easily measured? I am looking at info from the state department of education that lists dates for taking NINETEEN different tests running from August 2018 to May 2019.
I am also looking at a hand-written note from a school system test coordinator that says, “How many instructional hours does this take from our teachers so they can be bashed for low test scores. The very kids (poverty) who need more quality instruction are the ones hurt the most.”
Are we concentrating on the right things? How do we measure character, knowing right from wrong, ability to collaborate, and all those things that an electronic device can not do for us?
What did you learn in high school? I would love to know. firstname.lastname@example.org