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If you could change how schools work…

Topic #266:

If you could change how schools work, what would you change? What is wrong with how public education for kids is structured? What works well? What specific things about school do you remember, good and bad?

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  1. How about making people take more languages, other then any you know fluently. More science, math, my parents saw organic chemistry in high school! Just something to better prepare us for college. Oh and no scaled grading, college doesn’t do that and it sets you up for a downfall.

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  2. A greater attunement to the various ways people learn, the various kinds of intelligence, the learning challenges some face, but must importantly I think emphasizing cooperation over competition, kindness over cruelty, and tolerance as the only way the world will find peace.

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  3. If I could change how schools work. I would insist that issues such as homosexuality, religion etc be discussed along with other subjects. For example religion would be discussed with history, and homosexuality with hygiene. What is wrong with how public education for kids is structured? Not much that I’m aware of. What works well? Most of it as far as I know. What specific things about school do you remember, good and bad? I never finished my education.

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  4. Having worked in a secondary school for the past two years I have seen education at Its best and worst. One of my issues with school is the pressure that us put on youngsters to achieve. Sometimes I think target grades can be too unrealistic which then means students are often left feeling like they have been ‘set up to fail’. Currently there is a new scheme running throughout school’s across England called ‘stage not age’. This is where students in the lower years of school are grouped by ability and not age, a great idea you may think, but so far bullying is proving to be an issue.
    Finally, I remember school being a place where I was aware of authority, and I knew waiting outside the headteachers office wasn’t the place I really wanted to be. I’m 26 and didn’t need an iPad in my English lesson to write a creative story, or the latest phone to hold a class poll. Sometimes you need to go back to basics.

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  5. How schools work–and opinions on how they SHOULD work–has been the topic of thousands of books and, more recently, blogs and web spaces since Dewey started his first experimental school in Chicago. I had an outstanding public school education during the 1950s and 1960s, but the quality of public education has been plunging since the beginning of the 1970s, when theorists first starting publications that were seriously misinterpreted by educators. The theories were great; the implementation sucked. Being an educational “specialist,” perhaps this is the topic on which on should use for the 30-day book challenge. I’ll get on that…

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  6. 1st: Get rid of the curve grading system and back to the old way of have the students make the grade by answering all the questions to get an “A”, a 90 to get a “B” and so forth. Now all they need to do is a minimum and they get an “A” which in the rest of the world is a “C” or even a “D”.
    2nd: No child should be passed on to the next grade without being able to complete the basic requirements for the course, which means they have to be able to read, write, and speak English, the language that was chosen by our forefathers to be the language of the USA. Spanish or another language could be their second language.
    3rd: Give the teachers the right to expel any student who does not conform to the silence and decorum required by all students throughout the rest of the world.
    These are some of the reasons that the US is getting behind in the number of highly trained scientists and professional people. The way it is now, only the rich will be able to make a decent living, leaving the rest of the US living in poverty.

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  7. I worked in the Public School system for 30 years…saw things that needed changing…but, mainly I saw teachers working their selves to death trying to help kids that came from single parent homes…kids that lived with grandparents…kids that lived where they heard gun shooting at night…kids that hadn’t had any breakfast and sometimes no supper from the night before…kids that had to wear the same clothes over and over…Kids that would rather be at school than home any day…Yes, changes in school would help…but, changes in society would have to come first…

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  8. First the teachers have to have a good education. The very idea that some teachers cannot spell is one big downfall. Teachers should go through an overhaul every three years to see that they have kept up with todays new technology. Meals for the school in areas that are poor that should be paid for by the government. Second hand clothes shops within the school for children who have no clothes or shoes. In the school the shop would be for everyone and less bullying about that question. We need teachers who can teach not teachers who have the knowledge but do not know how to teach and bore the pants of the children.
    Thanksgiving

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  9. i saw many times more than 200 times the destruction of USA & INDIA many times they were destroying like a piece of glasses. And i dont know what it means………………….

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  10. I think the key is to build self-confidence by recognizing and encouraging character strengths and gifts. By reinforcing the good qualities in a child, they’ll grow both personally and as a member of society; a child who knows she is kind and analytical is going to be more productive that one who is constatly asked to speak or or reminded that she’s not gifted in math.

    This basic idea came from Martin Seligman’s book “Flourish” and his idea of “positive education” for well-being and achievment in schools. I agree very much with this concept, and pilot programs have been very successful. Here’s some more information, for anyone interested:
    http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletter.aspx?id=1551

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    1. I completely agree with you, Erin. I think the fundamental thing here is the well-being of the children.
      I sometimes feel this is forgotten a lot in school’s, mainly because staff aren’t always aware of the social background of their children. Care and compassion goes a long way.

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      1. It’s so true! Looking back on my childhood, I remember the negative – “Erin needs to ask more questions and become more enagage.” I think setting the same standard for every child can be detrimental – when you’re constantly labled “shy,” “disruptive,” or any other negative trait, you’re going to associate yourself with the negative perceptions and feelings.

        As I got into high school and college, professors started poing out that I was gifted in writing, in science, and in research. Suddenly people recognized my “gifts” and I flourished because I focused on the postives. Thankfully, my parents have aways pointed out and helped me to build my strengths…but I think doing so in school would make such a difference. Not only would have brighter children, but kinder, more couragous, and more well-rounded and society-oriented individuals.

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  11. If there should be something that needs change in schools, i would be very glad to change the teachers perspectives of teaching. A teacher should not stand to a very high amount to be paid goverments or private owners because its of my believe that “teachers reward is in heaven” i was bread in a slum where schools were introduce to explored nothing from the poor because parent wants their ward to be something great in th future. If something needs change it would be the bad intention of school establishment. Scheme of work in schools should be reduce to the rate of which an average class member could assimilate.

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  12. I would encourage homeschooling and I would also encourage schools to be structured so that they are run locally—no big districts and admin stuff. Schools would be set up so that there are teachers that teach to specific learning styles—which would mean classes would be for instance set up for 1)kinesthetic learners with a teacher that is the same and teaches to that learning style. 2)similar classes set up with teachers in each of the other generally recognized learning styles…..that way each class would be set up with students in that learning style—fewer learning clashes, more natural learning.
    http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/if-you-could-change-how-schools-work-post-266/

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  13. Quality School experience is I think the key to every child’s education.Children can learn a lot of things given a a focused attention to every aspect. Each child should be given due attention. One teacher should not handle more than 20 students. Going back to basics is also important like reading books,poetry reading,reading in front of the class. Kids now have short attention span..well, this is based on my own experience..my kids can not stay put and read their books nor study for a longer time..than spending time playing games in the computer or watching TV..how is this so? How can I help to make my kids better persons and excel in school considering these challenges? Anyone have an idea??

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  14. You can’t fix the public education system in a blog post. As a Special Education teacher I live the system daily. I admit that I am paid well and get great holidays. Teaching is a calling for those who are effective. Like any other job there are people in education who should not be teaching. The system has become too large to manage successfully. There are too many players that do not see the children or the families I work with everyday. It’s not change of policy or going backwards that is needed. We need to come together as a society to create caring communities that value the same things – equality for all, best practices in assessment, teaching strategies and accountability by all in the system – including parents as partners.

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  15. The problem with schools and the education system is how it’s so secondary in this country. The Government doesn’t spend enough money on it, they’d rather send people in to outer space to look at moon rocks. The Government spends over 100,000 dollars to keep one person in jail and barely 10,000 dollars to keep on kid in school…that’s a problem. It starts at the top, you can’t expect young people to value education when the Government doesn’t even value it.

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    1. I think life skills are essential as most of the students i have come in contact with towards the latter years of school have no clue what is expected of them in the ‘real’ world.
      Life skills should be a core subject whereby students learn about; Mortgages, loans, jobs, utility bills etc.. This is something schools are working towards introducing but unfortunately, the ‘life skills’ subject is only introduced towards lower ability children.

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  16. I would think about starting school as early as 6 AM for some children whose parents start work early and as late as noon; this would relieve traffic. You could still start school early but take extracurricular activities that teach life skills, time management, financial management, life choices and consequences, job skills and different career paths, parenting and responsibility, animal care, laundry care, auto care, mentorship from elderly, taking care of the elderly, hone talents, cooking, nutrition, sports kids can’t learn at home or in the neighborhood (rock climbing), games that require thought (chess), crafts, cultural and ethnic thoughts, ingenuity and invention. You could introduce siesta (resting periods between 2:30 and 5:30 and begin again in the evening.

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  17. I do not believe students are any different today than they were when I attended school. I attended a private school and I hated it, but I had a stay-nine rating of grade 13 in the seventh grade. Schools today lack discipline and ambition. Our teachers have become burdened down with government interference and bureaucratic nonsense. I would get the government out of our schools and let teachers teach. I would scrutinize teachers and terminate those who lack the skills required for bringing our children to a college level.

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  18. First, I would change when and how we teach foreign language. I would start younger in an attempt to keep pace with Europe.
    Second, I would pay teachers more.
    Third, I would change the school year to 12 months with one month off for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New years, and one month off for Independence day.
    Fourth, and most important, I would give families education vouchers that they could use at an accredited school of their choice. This would mainly be public schools, but if a private school wanted to gain accreditation they would be eligible. What this would accomplish is to give competition among schools to be the best and get the most students. Now, you must go to the school in your district even if they are not any good. This plan, which is similar to what they do in Belgium, would change that.
    Finally, and most radically, teachers would be federal employees. They would be paid more this way. Also, they would be subject to standardized training. Guess I’m more of a liberal than I realized.

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