Every day researches write tons of articles and give lectures trying to explain education and their problems, there are even social groups determined to point your fingers on the teaching work to excuse educational failure; but truth be told, while I write this article, and you read it, there are children in their classrooms that do not understand what they are supposed to understand and suffer with something kind of simple they should learn with joy; teachers are worried about the next assessment period and there are people with university degrees without employment.
The unfortunate thing is this does not happen in a continent in particular, or in a particular country at a school in particular. Yes, what I mean is that we already know the problem of the education, the real work is how can we solve it?.
I am no one to resolve it, but with the resources at my fingertips I´ll explaining the 10 biggest education problems. But if you expect a recipe to solve them, better don´t continue reading.
1) Confusion between education, teaching, and learning.
"Teachers are guilty of school failure" is read in some press releases, however, this accusation only shows ignorance.
There is a difference between education, teaching, and learning. Each has specific actors, rules and different functions.
· Education is provided by the State or by Education Center who decide plans and valid programs either for a country, a state, a city or for a school. If refers to State education, schools can make modifications, and in the case of private institutions private curriculums are designed from what the responsible of a group who decide what must taught (Puelles Benitez, 1993) also should be mentioned that at the international level, education is a right that all people but especially children have (Aboites, 2012).
This is why education is outlined by experts in design and management curriculum designers and once a design is done, they begin to develop educational programs that will culminate in the best of cases, in the writing of books appropriate to meet these curriculum plans. I say in the best of cases for which many make is only makeup old ideas.
In the latest case of the model by competencies in Ibero-America, the model applies but the designers did not consider that this required a change in curriculum design, and made an incomprehensible mix of competencies by student’s goal and added the same long, disjointed, and erroneous content (Dzib Goodin, 2012a).
· Teaching is the implementation of these plans and programs, such work rests directly with teachers, of course, they played errors and horrors of plans and programs to use them to teach students. Teachers are the bridge between education and society, because their object of work is what society give them to carry out its work.
Academic agendas focuses on confined spaces of time are also riddled with administrative issues that teachers must attend.
The teaching part of social groups and is where society enters the scene, that if society creates child apathetic and not wanting to learn, teachers must work with them, because teachers are the recipients of what education and society offers them, is why that criticism of the media and sometimes parents seems to me so serious, because that statement is repeating the same mistake with medicine, because there is a complaint that people have the tendency to auto medication and prefer to go to alternative medicine, which produce a problem and about economy and health; but at the same time they claim that doctors kill people.
Education is in crisis, teachers can't teach, people claim, but sent children to school to educate them (Can someone explain me that?). This is similar to the parent who complains that his son or daughter says bad words, but when we listen to that father, we can see children only repeat what they hear at home. Teachers repeated the same errors that journalists, parents, and society have.
· Learning is the process that focuses on the student, especially in the brain of the student. It is a neurocognitive process and evolutionary that feeds not only of teaching provided by education. It is a necessity of the species. Mistakenly says that you learn in school, but in reality the brain learns in all environments in which is located, this includes television, social networking, art, and even errors.
So education problems are the curriculum designer’s mistakes. School failure is produced because curriculum designer’s misconceptions and many learning problems are not children problems, are actually teaching errors. Psychologists, who need so much to be in the picture, have sought desperately to radiograph two processes that cannot be seen in a photograph: on one hand the learning process, believing that they can see it, but what is not known today can be learned tomorrow and intelligence, which is fixed in a brain that changes and evolves all the time (Conrad, 2004; Dehaene, 2004; Fernando and Szathmary, 2010).
2) Memorizing is a key aspect to learning
This is an issue that has been controversial to educational and neurocognitive level. Education based most of the time analysis of learning in which the student recalls, however there is an error in this idea, because what the student remembers, not necessarily learned it, understood learning as use and handling of information, however, this has become widespread even in international testing (Packiam and Alloway, 2012).
But the memory is a complicated subject in neuroscience, firstly by which models are usually complicated to enshrine complex processes (Glöckner and Witteman, 2009; Dzib Goodin, 2011a; Dzib Goodin, 2011b) and because memory is a delicate process that depends on the type of task and context (Brewer and Gimbel, 2011).
In the case of education, the biggest drawback is used into disconnected tasks, without context. In addition if student knows something nothing happens, and if he or she doesn't know either. Several studies about the error as a source of knowledge remain unknown for curricular theorists.
The first thing worth analyzing is the process called cognitive economy which indicates that everything that is not used; it’s technically deleted (Homel, Colzato, Fisher, Christoffels, 2011). The cognitive system uses memory intelligently, but resumes are loaded with information, without time to analyses, relate, and determine what is important. Besides teaching dictates as it has to learn, when you have dates focusing on academic tests. "You need to know this for tomorrow" and the day after tomorrow?, that isn't important, because they will give you a new content. Joke BuzzFeed wrote about the 49 things they learned at school and are completely useless. I think that if we focus a little, we would find much more.
Memory if specially based on more than one process, i.e., not only through the vision, but hearing and through Motors process, the students learn better if they read, hear a Conference, commented on the subject, wonder, draw and also write about it (Cameron, Brock, Murrah, Bell, Worzalla, Grissmer, Morrison, 2012). Learning occurs with all the senses, not just vision and hearing.
Store or no store, here is the dilemma. Memory provided that learning is meaningful for students, not for the needs of the curriculum designer.
The attention process is socially misunderstood, people believe that putting attention involves to have the look on something, however, the brain pay selective attention and through a complex cognitive process determining for the conservation of the species and that depends on the adaptation to the environment, produced by the interconnection of the neural networks that allow parallel processing sequential, or based on hierarchies that results from mental activity with a richness and infinite flexibility (Klein and Lawrence, 2012).
Selective attention is important, but at the same time the brain has adapted to be aware of the environment to respond where necessary (Dzib Goodin, 2011). So ask a student to concentrate on a single point of living with a boring stimulus is going against the evolution of species. This misunderstanding of attention has led many children to wrong diagnoses.
When people ask me how to make the students pay attention and not be distracted with the environment, the answer is very simple: say something interesting. Take into account the student and understand that curriculum designers are not aware of how the brain works, by what they do not know how difficult that is to keep the attention of an audience, so the work of the teacher is used innovative materials, change the tone of voice, allow participation and also find relevant information, play with the environment, do not allow the student to fall asleep and doing something else that indicates the contents of your class is not interesting.
4) Extensive curriculum
Curriculum designers probably suffered when they went to school, therefore designed plans loaded with information. The model of competence?, have of course no clue about how students can get their goals, because they focus competition in view that program has more content and forget the student (Dzib Goodin, 2012a).
The excess of information adds a problem which relates to those who run the plans and programs that are errors in textbooks at all educational levels, is not difficult to find errors conceptual, historical and even format, playback that is perpetuated, and when a student sees something on the Discovery Channel, it investigates in Wikipedia or listen at a Conference and asks the teacher about who is right. There is a personal conflict that is not always possible to respond.
One solution can be programs with less content, more critical thinking, metacognitive processes, (Evart, 2012) and more creativity in the resources that are used.
5) Teaching of science and technology
Most of us, socially agree that science is an important element for the progress of any country, so it’s important to include it in education and course curriculum designers, have no problem in make it count, because developed countries have a good amount of Nobel prizes. The difference is that these countries have higher investment to make science and technology a sustainable business.
The United States is particular country, it´s number one in scientific publications, but is curious and representative: their Nobel prizes are imported. Schools suffer from the teaching of science, but have a difference; they have much investment for development areas.
On the other hand, Latin American countries, have very good scientists who are working in countries where needed, because they offer not only a job, but a decent style of life, examples can be in United States, Canada, India (Dzib Goodin, 2012b).
The teaching of science, should not fall into teachers, I think is a social error to say that they should know everything an expert knows, the teacher should know neuroscience, acoustics, mechanics of strings, orthopedics, epidemiology, organic chemistry, speech therapy, genetics, molecular biology and all the specialties you can imagine someone. To that is added cleaning faces, emotional intelligence, writing, drawing smiles, tells stories, trainer and leader...
The teaching of science should be in the hands of the scientists, because isn't the same teaching science and being a scientist, since the scientist knows that there is more than one way to do research and that the options to solve problems are multiplied depending on the number of variables and that nobody can know everything.
For their part, those who teach science believe that the only important thing is to follow what the book says, including errors, not out of the script, they pretend to know it all and are unable to innovate, for that has never done research without a budget.
The problem is that scientists feel untouchable beings. Although I remember in a few chapters of Cosmos Carl Sagan in a classroom explaining to children how to see the stars; why scientists should be those who teach science in schools?, because scientist have passion for what they do and that passion alone is transmitted when someone loves what he does.
Scientists may be on the basis of their examples teach critical thinking and thereby society could fail to assume many things as Burnett (2012) shows us an excellent argument of how society looks at science either the debate about who is and is not science (Hone, 2012).
In this case, the solution is not simple, socially there is to make a place to science, do scientists to speak with society using a comprehensible language, make that investors see an economic future and that science is not exclusive of universities where the chosen few fight over how many coins that has been an uproarious scientific crisis (Fanelli, 2009, Tucker, 2012).
6) The teacher is everything
From the point of view of education, the teacher is everything, from the point of view of learning, the environment is the most relevant and cognitive flexibility key to adapt to the as specie.
From the point of view of education, the teacher is an instrument that applied programs, applied evaluations, which enable the strengthening of the system, is often confused with an educator and the cause of the educational crisis.
But the teacher is much more, is who teaches how to learn at the same time every day learning how to teach. Teachers Sculpt consciences, support thinkers, teacher is the instrument between education and society, that does not educate, not decides how it is taught, since it is tied by programs and the guidelines of the centre and which only has a limited margin of action between bureaucratic procedures, assessments and programs.
He is the person who is grateful for the academic success of children or who is spits you if the country fails to tie with the international ranges. But is the least guilty of what is called school failure.
7) Children problem
Psychologists speak of problems of the school, when a child does not learn is subject to a set of tests that evaluate what is not capable of doing and delivered a report saying: "before their observation that the child cannot read and write, we have demonstrated with psychological evidence that the child cannot read and write.” Jean Piaget last century began an epistemological revolution before the observation that most importantly was not the mistake of the children before the tasks but the logic with which the child came to this response. Also adds that what the children don't know today, can learn it tomorrow, hang him why a label that you cannot shake off?, those labels lead to conform with it is or to prove that it can be better.
The reality is that no matter what a child is, but what might be.
Educational interventions are always when you allow the child demonstrate if he or she can perform a task and when the child understands what they should do the same, usually from different to the worked in the classroom strategies.
Effective strategies to teach children with academic difficulties there are as many as stars in the sky, all equally effective if applied properly, because there are two things that education forget: there are no two brains equal, not all learn at the same pace or in the same way as they have interests, needs and different talents.
Helen Vendler says it loud and clear: the great artists were not always students model (Allen, 2012). You cannot have molds where everyone will meet the expectations of some few, socially successful, creative, different people we like. It admires the great innovators, who close the academic door that drawn purple flowers when everyone else drew red butterflies.
Before judging the child, observe if there was enough red paint, maybe he child only have access to purple colors.
8) Technology at the service of teaching and learning
Psychologists and designers of educational materials, water ink stating such or which educational material is best to learn, the list goes from conceptual maps, video games, Montessori, audio visual materials, but that the child learns of a radio or a Discovery Channel program is priceless.
Jan Amos Comenius, was a Protestant Bishop who lived between 1592 and 1670 and is remembered as the first person who put images in a textbook, because he thought that it was necessary children knew how was the world (2010 Downey). This is an example of a simple act, which is still looking for echo when we look for the best way to teach.
Learning is not restricted to a classroom, nor has exclusive contract with such or which method, expensive school, or material. Learning is an evolutionary necessity, how to teach is relevant only if you teach the correct rhythm. Teachers who fall in love to the students with only his voice, there are those who employ all sorts of strategies, there are those who play baseball in classrooms and there are those who organize debates in class.
New technologies allow the use of blogs, video conferences, video... but the search is similar to the Comenius. We are still looking for something to help children to see the world. It is important to use the right strategy for the right purpose.
What is the best strategy?, you have a long list: twitter, Facebook, Cut the rope, conceptual maps, movies and videos, songs, board games, computer games, songs, works of theatre, Discovery Channel, a chat with Pope or a historian... say something relevant and make it significant and undoubtedly someone will learn something, and if they don't learn now, use another strategy by that sure the child will learn tomorrow.
9) Creativity and innovation
Governments know that creativity with innovation and science are key to exit from educational and economic backwardness, but in this desire to reproduce the historical models of religious education, it seems that it has not learned what doesn't: "If you want to learn how to be creative, you must do what I tell you and as I am Indian you”. The same applies to science: things are so by that I say it; If Darwin or Freud said, there is no way that they are wrong. These are the many myths that kill creativity and destroy innovation. There are no recipes, sometimes there are moments of luck, I doubt that anyone can teach creativity and let another be creative with the current model of education. Many good artists sow seeds in schools, but triumph when they leave them.
What should guide is looking for talent, but an educational barrier, should be deleted for this "all learn in the same way.” This has been a good technique when working with 50 students, but among those 50, 10 are not going to understand what you are saying by that sit in the farthest room part and are distracted with the voices of peers, 10 more is not going to matter what you have to say, 25 understand half and the other half doubt it and 5 are motivated to learn. How to teach all?, simple: ask that the students of the course expect, adapted the program to your needs and look for creative ideas, including never properly valued ideas from students.
Art has an impressive social role in society, but is never properly valued, but art has an impressive power, even though as a tool in education is usually forgotten.
However, sometimes the creativity and art can give response to social needs as shown in the French artist JR (You can see here a video) who uses his art to the good of society.
I cannot pass the impact of art, art must be in schools with plays, with music, with paint, must be a life experience, as well as science, sports, and reading (You can see here a video).
Learn the art and learn with art. Is why both science and art should be on the street, echoing a society that although it says need them, unknown them and sometimes even afraid of them.
11) The society as a beneficiary of education
I know that I said that they were only 10 errors but here is one more: internationally has the right to education, but students do not have the right to learn at their own pace, under their own needs and their own mistakes. Becomes the link between the good wishes of the education and the needs of the brains that are desperately trying to understand what the school environment gives them.
A couple of years ago I wrote an article entitled: educational evaluation and its forgotten the object of evaluation, is where explain the why assessments have no sense in learning, because they do not adapt to cognitive processes. Perhaps the student not answered correctly from the parameter of who designed the test, but not given the opportunity to learn from his mistake, which loses the value of evaluation.
The society has something magical idea that education can bring a better life. It is the argument that all us convinced to go every day to school, between 12 and 19 years, so at the end the dream is not managed. They can societies in different countries be wrong?, just look at the giants of technological innovation: all dropped out of school to pursue their dreams, and innovated.
When education takes into account who learns and the needs of specific regions and does not seek only a technique by which "so you learn better", "do it this way because that is the right thing", "I'm going to teach how to use your brain", "the Finnish model is the best". When education understands that there is no first students and students from second, because to date children talent programs were not 100% effective, there is a single school in the world capable of producing geniuses or talents, there are children that without government support get ahead with the help of a good teacher, perhaps the investment is not in computers, but on talent for teaching.
Let's be consistent, if teachers are to blame, let us give them groups, but they are not guilty of the atrocities of curriculum designers, educational administrators and those who write textbooks, riddled with historical, conceptual, and spelling errors.
Do not kill the dreams of children, each child happy with their learning, can probably become a successful adult, may not all be a Steve Jobs, but will at least feel good with what they do. Well the reflection worth.
It seems to me then that the role of education is to help children find their talent, the work of teachers is to provide tools to find that talent, society must shelter that talent and the child will take the complicated task of finding amid a sea of social needs, those skills that they are simple to create its own jurisdiction enabling it to exploit talents.
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