The Importance Of Evaluating How People Learn

1248 words - 5 pages

The world is constantly spinning. The environment is constantly changing and human beings are constantly evolving. These statements are what I consider to be facts. Why is it then that it is so difficult for our country's education system to understand these facts and react accordingly? What I find to be interesting in my recent readings of Friere, Noddings and Chapter 6 of How People Learn is that the authors seem to be desperately trying to make the reader (or the world in general) aware that times are changing and that we must change with them. It is not enough to put state of the art computers in our classrooms and say that we are doing what we can to keep up with times. So much has happened in our world since the "behavioral objective movement" of the 1960's that Noddings mentions in her article, yet it seems that our education system still expects that teachers be able to predict exactly what students will learn before they even attempt to learn it. Because the system still employs the "banking method" that Freire speaks about in his book--where teachers simply make deposits in the safe deposit boxes that are children's' minds--we are keeping our young people from understanding the world that is changing and developing even quicker than they are.

I became disgusted when I read this statement from chapter 6 in How People Learn:

In the early 1900s, the challenge of providing mass education was seen by many as analogous to mass production in factories. School administrators were eager to make use of the "scientific" organization of factories to structure efficient classrooms. Children were regarded as raw materials to be efficiently processed by technical workers (the teachers) to reach the end product (Bennett and LeCompte, 1990; Callahan, 1962; Kliebard, 1975). This approach attempted to sort the raw materials (the children) so that they could be treated somewhat as an assembly line. Teachers were viewed as workers whose job was to carry out directives from their superiors--the efficiency experts of schooling (administrators and researchers). The emulation of factory efficiency fostered the development of standardized tests for measurement of the "product," of clerical work by teachers to keep records of costs and progress (often at the expense of teaching), and of "management" of teaching by central district authorities who had little knowledge of educational practice or philosophy (Callahan, 1962). In short, the factory model affected the design of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in schools. (1)

Yes, it is extremely disturbing that the 20th century fostered such ideas. What is more disturbing is that those ideas are still prevalent in the minds of some administrators and educators alive and kicking in the 21st century. One can not deny this. Particularly because only a couple of hours ago I had a phone conversation with my 17-year-old sister, who is a senior in high school, in which she thanked God she was...

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