After reading Will Richardson’s blog post, 9 Elephants in the (Classroom) that Should “Unsettle” Us, I lost a lot hope in America’s current education system. The article discussed the reason that our education system is failing to produce students with vast knowledge and skills necessary for success. Will mentioned that there are many issues that are plaguing our schooling system, yet these issues are hardly presented in the public eye. I have always believed that education is power, but is our education system really educating the youth?
Will Richardson brought up the point that schools are obsessed with numbers in America. Teachers, parents, and even students are more concerned with grades than they are with the actual learning taking place. Standardized tests and grades are the determining factor for many of the educational policies. However, Richardson also presented the fact that most of the material covered in school, do not stay with the students outside of school. …”As Matthew Lieberman from UCLA notes, ‘For more than 75 years, studies have consistently found that only a small fraction of what is learned in the classroom is retained even a year after learning.” The reason that Richardson believes that students are not retaining the information that they learned is because the fail to see how the material relates to their own real lives and they fail to see how grades and test scores really demonstrate skills. I can completely understand this concept, looking back on my own education I have lost so many skills that I used to possess because it didn’t apply in my daily life. As far as using numbers to determine skill, this happens after schooling. For example, in my job I am evaluated in terms of 1,2,3, and 4 for performance. I have always thought that putting a number on a persons’ value in any way was a waste of time and energy. I prefer evaluating students according to criteria. For example, if I am evaluating a students ability to add I would have a set list of criteria that either the students met or didn’t, such as ‘student can accurately combine single digit numbers and produce an additive.’
I was also very struck by Richardson’s idea that schools are not built for long lasting learning. In deliberating this, I realized that the majority of the long lasting learning that I have done comes from experience and not from a lecture or text book. I realize now that experiencing things like working as team, problem solving in a high stress environment, and critically thinking occurs in daily life and as educators we need to be setting kids up with the opportunities to do these things.