Education needs time to stabilise

Yes, this week, I have broken one of my rules, and not included the word is. But, in my defence a post titled: “education is in need of time to stabilise” is very clunky.

Over the past year, I have read numerous articles, blogs, and Facebook posts on how to best teach students so they can get the best from their educational interaction–journey- outcome etc, etc. In reading the various espousals of educational wisdom, I wonder if they are written more for the need to write something, in addition to suggesting changes to educational practice. I think this more of blogs and Facebook pages.

[As an aside, I don’t post weekly as I do not think I have that much to say, and if I do, then it is not really important enough for a weekly post.]

As an example of what I mean, this week I read a post a by a ‘science evangelist’ that lectures are culturally biased; I have learnt the 5 ways to get students to listen. I have also learnt that I need to make learning fun, help students integrate with technology (as if there is a choice), the 12 things I was not taught at school about creative thinking and so on. I have learnt to flip my classroom, and I have to tell you this would mean something different in the all boys’ state school I went to in the 1970s.

Another idea I have been exposed to – in the adult education domain – has an educational flow of identifying and informing the students of the subject/topic, then confirming their understanding through a short summative assessment task, then allowing the students to explore and apply the learning through learning activities such as problem-based learning. This idea has been embraced without any discussion or challenge, until it come down to the educators, like me who have questioned how we can confirm learning through a summative assessment task before the student has had time to absorb the learning at a deeper level.

So, now imagine that you are a teacher, whether in primary, secondary, or tertiary environment, who wants to do the best by their students and is on the lookout for new ideas, what do they chose? Or, do they need to at all?

In this age of modern technology are educators bombarded with too much information on how to carry out their craft? I think so. I think that the best educational techniques need time to be tested and incorporated into practice.

On top of this continual barrage of what is “the best way to educate” or not, primary and secondary school educators are being told they must incorporate many, non-educational items, in their curriculum. I wrote earlier about lunch box inspections, and LLN. And I am sure if I did a Google search I could find much more, such as religion, ethics, anti-bullying in person and online, racism, multiculturalism et al. Many of these things, I think, are truly the domain of the family.

With all of this being forced into the curriculum, when do educators at all levels get to do their job and, well, educate? Is it time that we put an embargo on new pedagogical approaches and allow teachers to settle? Is it time also we embargo new items for the curriculum and refocus on core items? I would like to see this happen, but I wonder if we can get the academics to agree.

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