3.27.2011

Give Them the Facts by Katharine Birbalsingh

Some excerpts taken from the article.

...this innovative, ground-breaking, 21st-century "preparing children for the modern world" lesson, contains no learning at all. There is no content, no actual knowledge that the children are writing, reading and thinking about.

Gove's reform has caused controversy because our state education system has been moving, for a long time, from teaching children "lots of stuff," to teaching them "skills" instead.

To learn how to count, one must count something. And to learn one's numbers, one must involve the skill of counting. Where then is the bone of contention?

"If they will not learn the way we teach, then we must teach the way they learn." So French teachers write texts using the names of the pupils to make French more "relevant" and entertaining.

What skills advocates don't seem to understand is that taking in knowledge also teaches one how to think.

Many state-school teachers are superb, but as they are judged by standards that value skills over content and are driven by targets and exams, content is inevitably slimmed down.

Reading a wide variety of literature increases one's emotional literacy, which is an essential skill for success.

...boring the kids to death by never teaching them any knowledge is precisely what drives them into the comfort of their Xboxes and PlayStations. We don't necessarily need a massive injection of technology in our schools to make lessons more interesting, as some would argue. We just need to teach our kids something worth learning.

Rigorous English and Maths have practically evaporated from our schools.

Knowledge comes in all shapes and sizes and if some of it was ever problematic, there is no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water.

The skills agenda is so ingrained in our thinking that we don't even question it. For all the good of "teaching people thinking skills", we seem incapable of being critical of the dogma that is depriving our children, in particular our poorest, of the privilege of basic knowledge: what the skills advocates themselves had in abundance at their own schools when growing up.

No, these quotes are not about Education in Portugal but they could be. Moreover, it's even worse in Portugal. Just remind yourself of the Magalhães computers that were given to young students or the tests that were made easier...

I leave it to your meditation.

Full article
Post a Comment