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Education: What changes should be implemented in our school systems?

lightsun

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Education: Why is it in a generally stated belief that far eastern students are better than us in math as well the sciences? What factors in our country prohibit a change in catching up?
What changes should be implemented in our school systems as how we educate our children? What should we focus upon? My view is an attention to detail in critical thinking and empathy skills being taught along with effective communication and active listening skills


"In the Montessori and Waldorf school systems the teachers are facilitators and help the child discover their interests and guide them along in pursuit of their potential and individuality.This is the aim of the Montessori and Waldorf school system. The child already at birth has hidden wisdom locked away within. These school systems allow the developing child to come into their own by helping facilitate and develop the young child's latent gift's and talent's.

This is the way parents are supposed to be. Parents should act as custodians, guardians, protectors and role models but never pushing their own agenda and unrealistic personal expectations on top of the child and thereby suffocating the spirit of their children becoming an independent and unique being."
 

lightsun

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"Hilary Clinton wrote a book called "It takes a village." I concur. To me, some of the most pivotal influences on childhood are child rearing and education. We all have a stake in and a voice to speak up for how children are educated. For whatever reason the wealthiest strongest nation on the planet is behind in many pivotal areas and this includes education. To me to heal as a society starts with the children. It is of paramount importance that we invest in our future by prioritizing on education and our children's future. I would think that this country would put an emphasis on childhood education. We must make the pivotal changes needed in how we do things and how we think of ourselves, our children and our future."
 

Cor Luctis

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Education: Why is it in a generally stated belief that far eastern students are better than us in math as well the sciences? What factors in our country prohibit a change in catching up?
What changes should be implemented in our school systems as how we educate our children? What should we focus upon? My view is an attention to detail in critical thinking and empathy skills being taught along with effective communication and active listening skills
It isn't just the far east, or even mostly the far east. Our education system, for all its faults, does have some advantages over theirs. The better example I cite is Finland. Here we can find some of the answers to your questions, answers that cannot be dismissed by the usual argument that Finnish society is less diverse, a claim I have not verified.

This is what I have heard about Finland. They do very little standardized testing, so teachers are not constrained by the need for constant test preparation or "teaching to the test". Teachers are recruited from the top of their university class, and are given considerable autonomy in how they teach. By contrast, in the US both curriculum and methods are often tightly constrained, and standardized testing is rampant. I was involved in STEM curriculum development for a few years, and we were told the lesson plans had to spell everything out, leaving nothing to chance (or the creativity of the teacher). It almost had to be teachable by any random person off the street. It is no wonder that the brightest university grads pursue other professions.

All this points to the fact that our education system is far too process oriented/bound. It needs to be much more goal oriented, and oriented toward goals that are meaningful. We generally evaluate schools based on standardized test results and sometimes graduation rates. The latter are meaningless unless graduation requirements are substantive. The former mostly measure the ability to do well on standardized tests. We need to start looking at what happens to these graduates, say 5 years out. Are they gainfully employed in a career with a future? If they attended college, did they graduate and go on to a job? Did they learn a trade or join the military? Schools should be preparing students for further education, careers, and adult responsibility. How well they do at this is the real measure of their success.

As to how to achieve this, the Finns are on the right track with minimizing testing, recruiting the best grads to teach, and then turning them loose to do so. We also need to reduce class sizes to permit more individual interaction between teachers and students, and restructure the school day and the curriculum to be less atomized and more integrated. Technology is an important tool in education today, but especially in elementary grades is often overemphasized* at the expense of personal interaction and basic skills like reading, math, and hands-on experimentation. Funding saved here would be better applied to hiring more teachers.

*
 

great_bay

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Students should had been encourage to do their homework at school when all classes are over.
 

lightsun

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It isn't just the far east, or even mostly the far east. Our education system, for all its faults, does have some advantages over theirs. The better example I cite is Finland. Here we can find some of the answers to your questions, answers that cannot be dismissed by the usual argument that Finnish society is less diverse, a claim I have not verified.

This is what I have heard about Finland. They do very little standardized testing, so teachers are not constrained by the need for constant test preparation or "teaching to the test". Teachers are recruited from the top of their university class, and are given considerable autonomy in how they teach. By contrast, in the US both curriculum and methods are often tightly constrained, and standardized testing is rampant. I was involved in STEM curriculum development for a few years, and we were told the lesson plans had to spell everything out, leaving nothing to chance (or the creativity of the teacher). It almost had to be teachable by any random person off the street. It is no wonder that the brightest university grads pursue other professions.

All this points to the fact that our education system is far too process oriented/bound. It needs to be much more goal oriented, and oriented toward goals that are meaningful. We generally evaluate schools based on standardized test results and sometimes graduation rates. The latter are meaningless unless graduation requirements are substantive. The former mostly measure the ability to do well on standardized tests. We need to start looking at what happens to these graduates, say 5 years out. Are they gainfully employed in a career with a future? If they attended college, did they graduate and go on to a job? Did they learn a trade or join the military? Schools should be preparing students for further education, careers, and adult responsibility. How well they do at this is the real measure of their success.

As to how to achieve this, the Finns are on the right track with minimizing testing, recruiting the best grads to teach, and then turning them loose to do so. We also need to reduce class sizes to permit more individual interaction between teachers and students, and restructure the school day and the curriculum to be less atomized and more integrated. Technology is an important tool in education today, but especially in elementary grades is often overemphasized* at the expense of personal interaction and basic skills like reading, math, and hands-on experimentation. Funding saved here would be better applied to hiring more teachers.

*


Coriolis wrote, (1) "Our education system, for all its faults, does have some advantages over theirs."

On this note I can share that America ranked number one among our fellow nation's in educational opportunity. We ranked 1st in Access to Higher Education. However are system is designed mainly for rote memorization and not teaching either empathy skills or critical thinking. We can not evolve as a species without these learning both attributes. I have been a proponent of learning to use critical thinking. In addition this skill should be taught in our early education rather than waiting to learn these skills at the collegiate level. I find it necessary that we learn to think for ourselves. This in lieu of rote memorizing of facts.

Coriolis wrote, (7) "...start looking at what happens to these graduates...5 years..."

The way I see it there has to be scientific research done in a control and experimental group to show the significant, if any disparity of students learning cognitive discipline and empathy exercise's against the one's that don't receive such instruction. What are the graduation rates of the control and experimental group? What is the percentile of crime of the students after they graduate in the two studies group? Does implementing my own hypothesis of missing elements (empathy skills along with critical thinking) which are in need of instruction show a positive influence if taught? What is the happiness ratio of the two sets?"

Coriolis wrote, (3) "Teachers are recruited from the top of their university class...are given considerable autonomy in how they teach."


Schools in Finland provided developmental health, and nutritional services to all children free of charge. Their education in past years was ranked number one in the world.


(2) "... little standardized testing..."

(4) "...US both curriculum and methods are often tightly constrained, and standardized testing..."

(5) "...education system is far too process oriented/bound.... oriented toward goals...meaningful."

(6) "...evaluate schools based on standardized test results...graduation rates."

(7) "...start looking at what happens to these graduates...5 years..."

(8) "Schools should be preparing students...further education, careers...adult responsibility.... real measure of...success."

(9) "...reduce class sizes...permit...individual interaction between teachers...students..."

(10) "Technology is an important tool in education today, but especially in elementary grades is often overemphasized* at the expense of personal interaction and basic skills like reading, math, and hands-on experimentation."

Coriolis you have shared much information and food for thought.
 

Cor Luctis

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Coriolis wrote, (1) "Our education system, for all its faults, does have some advantages over theirs."

On this note I can share that America ranked number one among our fellow nation's in educational opportunity. We ranked 1st in Access to Higher Education. However are system is designed mainly for rote memorization and not teaching either empathy skills or critical thinking. We can not evolve as a species without these learning both attributes. I have been a proponent of learning to use critical thinking. In addition this skill should be taught in our early education rather than waiting to learn these skills at the collegiate level. I find it necessary that we learn to think for ourselves. This in lieu of rote memorizing of facts.
From what I have read, Asian schools emphasize rote memorization much more than we do, vs. problem solving or more creative pursuits. Some of this may be a stereotype, but there is at least some truth to it. Whatever advantages we have in K-12 education end here, though. As I have mentioned before, I don't think empathy can be taught explicitly, only modelled.

Coriolis wrote, (7) "...start looking at what happens to these graduates...5 years..."

The way I see it there has to be scientific research done in a control and experimental group to show the significant, if any disparity of students learning cognitive discipline and empathy exercise's against the one's that don't receive such instruction. What are the graduation rates of the control and experimental group? What is the percentile of crime of the students after they graduate in the two studies group? Does implementing my own hypothesis of missing elements (empathy skills along with critical thinking) which are in need of instruction show a positive influence if taught? What is the happiness ratio of the two sets?"
What would be the control? We should not be experimenting explicitly on our kids in any case. There are already schools with sufficiently different approaches to make meaningful comparisons. We simply track how well the graduates are doing with job and civic responsibilities, say 5 or even 10 years after graduation, and see whether there are any correlations, then examine to find whether there is actual causation. We can look at things like (un)employment rate, income level, completion of college or higher education/training, criminal record, debt, living independently of parents, and probably other measures that don't occur to me right now.
 

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I've heard great things about the Montessori system; it produced a bunch of very successful people like Bezos, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin.

I'd eliminate most homework assignments and most rote memory tasks.

I'd add more hands-on or application-based learning. Teach science by following how scientists answer questions through experimentation. Discuss the experimental design, data gathering, and interpretation.

Currently, kids are taught how to read by memorizing words; this needs to stop. This is why we see 40% illiteracy rates in places like Detroit. Go back to teaching reading by phonics and pronunciation.

In every subject, there is a list of fundamental skills or knowledge that kids need to learn; each child should be quizzed individually by the teacher or a teacher's aide to make sure they grasp the fundamentals.
 

EcK

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Education: Why is it in a generally stated belief that far eastern students are better than us in math as well the sciences? What factors in our country prohibit a change in catching up?
What changes should be implemented in our school systems as how we educate our children? What should we focus upon? My view is an attention to detail in critical thinking and empathy skills being taught along with effective communication and active listening skills

East asians have greater spatial/ mathematical cognitive skills than native westerners. So outperform us on math.
I dont think it s necessarily linked to education as these same east asians outperform westerners in thw west too.

As to changing the education system i think the public school system in general is broken.





"In the Montessori and Waldorf school systems the teachers are facilitators and help the child discover their interests and guide them along in pursuit of their potential and individuality.This is the aim of the Montessori and Waldorf school system. The child already at birth has hidden wisdom locked away within. These school systems allow the developing child to come into their own by helping facilitate and develop the young child's latent gift's and talent's.

This is the way parents are supposed to be. Parents should act as custodians, guardians, protectors and role models but never pushing their own agenda and unrealistic personal expectations on top of the child and thereby suffocating the spirit of their children becoming an independent and unique being."[/QUOTE]
 

hurl3y4456

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Well, the advent of calculators and computers implies that we have more access to solutions and can compute more readily without much mental energy....Therefore, the programs should become more rigorous, and grades should not be inflated. Of course, there is not a 1-1 relationship in respect to transferring grades from other regions (especially China)....Since their program is more rigorous and extensive (high competition + quantity of people), their grades will inevitably be deflated as they transfer to U.S. Interest levels are proportional to effort, so someone who lacks interest in their studies will find other avenues to attain a higher grade with minimized effort (copying, relying on route memorization). By adding more extensive projects (requiring more time/energy to attain knowledge) and creating tests that are not a complete replica of hw, we can be assured that students will have to adapt to the new criteria. Of course, there needs to be a reasonable work load.
 

DarkPassenger123

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Students will always find ways to cheat or beat the system with minimal effort.
Lack of interest will always be present in students. A rigorous system allows for more sophisticated ways to cheat.

Hence Indians are expert cheaters
 

hurl3y4456

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Students will always find ways to cheat or beat the system with minimal effort.
Lack of interest will always be present in students. A rigorous system allows for more sophisticated ways to cheat.

Hence Indians are expert cheaters

True....if we take away guns (gun control), of course people will find more sophisticated ways to kill....Yet, they must be inclined to perform those actions. Those who are genuinely interested in the program will work hard to digest the material.
 

Fay

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There're a lot of things totally wrong with our system. Of course, it's important for children to know their background, history, learn how to use language and numbers. But independent thinking and creativity are equaully if no more important. Schools pay so much attention on memorizing the facts instead of developing children's unique talents, help them develop their indentity and understand the pros of their personal skills.

Usually, what shcool produces is a robot, ready to serve and exist within a given system. What the world needs though are creative people who can push the boundaries of the known and explore new ways. Only if we can nurture independent and open people willing to wonder and explore, we as a society, can grow and develop and profit.

Of course not everyone is a creative genious, that's why I said schools should pay more attention to personal gifts and talents of children and help them develop their skills at young age.

I promised myself that if I'll ever have kids, I would never make them go to a state school.
 

hurl3y4456

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There're a lot of things totally wrong with our system. Of course, it's important for children to know their background, history, learn how to use language and numbers. But independent thinking and creativity are equaully if no more important. Schools pay so much attention on memorizing the facts instead of developing children's unique talents, help them develop their indentity and understand the pros of their personal skills.

Usually, what shcool produces is a robot, ready to serve and exist within a given system. What the world needs though are creative people who can push the boundaries of the known and explore new ways. Only if we can nurture independent and open people willing to wonder and explore, we as a society, can grow and develop and profit.

Of course not everyone is a creative genious, that's why I said schools should pay more attention to personal gifts and talents of children and help them develop their skills at young age.

I promised myself that if I'll ever have kids, I would never make them go to a state school.

Agreed.....The system acknowledges those who conform to it by abiding by the rules and attain answers according to the teachers methodology. One reason I enjoyed Pure Mathematics is that it allowed me to come up with novel solutions, however, in regards to tests, most people followed each proof in a step by step approach according to the teacher's solution. There was one time during a final exam in which I solved the proof using my own approach, which I knew would be a risk if thew TA couldn't follow the logic or my logic was incorrect. Luckily, he was able to follow it. I derived satisfaction from going against the grain and derived new methods to solve proofs, however, not everyone attains the same energy in doing so.

Think of the best chess players....they tend to start playing at a very young age, which permits them to derive satisfaction because they learned at an age in which the brain is being remolded at a fast rate. The same applies to creativity.....If you start at a young age, the brains connections between different regions are stimulated at the same time the brain is expanding in volume. If you never use creativity (very unlikely) up to maturity, then the mind seemingly discards it or derives less energy because the skill is not well developed. Thus, by conforming to the academic system entirely, students become deprived of such a skill and simply reject its use. However, there must be a precursor to creativity or a catylist.....Without a curiosity to dive into the unknown (--> novel solutions), then creativity will not be fostered.

Also, we must consider population expansion.....There exist a maximum population (critical point) in which humans can sustain themselves.....If creativity trends upwards, then there will exist a period within the future such that rapid advancement occurs (technology, industrialized expansion, exc). Thus, the demands placed upon society inevitably increase (because we have to facilitate its development), which further condenses the time per each individual event/action. Since rapid growth in development implies that me must adapt rather quickly to the change, a communication gap between generations will be induced that is proportional to the rate of change. Thus, there must be a limited number of creative geniuses per unit population....Else, the rate of change will become imbalanced to support proper adaptation. Therefore, for these reasons, population increase should be halted proceeding the advancement stage....However, we saw an increase after industrialization due to rapid development of global transportation. Now, it's tending downwards due to increasing independence and busier lifestyles/ increased responsibilities overall. Also, hormone changes are inducing that effect as well but I won't get into that.
 

Virtual ghost

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This school model, that school model ... wrong approach.


Personally I have nothing against learning facts but it is vital that the facts are useful and up to date. Plus that children know exactly why they are learning them since that gives them focus and today they are learning plenty of useless stuff. In my opinion education should learn kids how to understand, navigate and control their environment. Plus the system should try to figure out the strength of the child and direct them more in the direction that interest them. Also those that want to go in the direction of computers should go there but I don't really want to rise a generation that just stares at the screen the whole day. Since the most important things aren't online and those that master physical world will have the upper hand or however you want to call it. Thinking about things is good but running in mental circles isn't and I think that it is important to avoid analysis paralysis as a foundation of intellectual thought. Also with classic education the child should get a course in civil society, voting, how to handle money ... and all related issues. Plus the infrastructure has to be on the level, roof that isn't leaking, functional toilets, a place to eat something, library, computer rooms ... etc.



However in general I would boost technical/practical and scientific education because without this you are nothing in 21th century. You don't understand how chemical foundation of the economy or environment works. You can only have the most basic consumerist use of technology. You will probably buy plenty of useless and harmful junk in good faith. You will probably have health problems. You just can't be a free man without this and neither the country can really be independent/productive if it doesn't have a manufacturing base of some kind. Schools simply need to adapt to reality and that is pretty much the end of the story.
 

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I think we need to rethink how we define education and recognize that it's not just about acquiring academic skills and knowledge, but also about acquiring skills that are essential for being healthy, functioning adults. There should be less standardized testing and more of a focus on things like social-emotional learning, problem-solving, and coping skills. I also wish that schools, and society in general, put less emphasis on college as the ultimate goal, and put more time and resources into offering viable alternatives for kids who aren't ready for college, or who recognize that college isn't for them. Also, equity. I've worked in both suburban and urban schools and I'm still amazed by the huge differences in resources and educational quality that can exist in towns and cities right next to each other. I get that this is largely due to disparities in wealth between those living in such places, but I still think that more should be done both federally and in individual states to bridge this gap.
 

Mole

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We compell children to become literate by law.

But now there is no need to ccmpell children to learn to use the phone, TV, or computer.
 

J. Starke

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Independent thinking, problem solving, learning about the laws of your country as early as possible and learning IT skills as early as possible. Also learning a second language as early as possible.
 

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Oversimplistic answer, but treat schools more like a business in the sense of accountability. Give people options so that those in poor communities can send their children to better ranking schools outside their district. If a school is failing, figure out why they’re failing and give bad or underperforming teachers the boot, give better more innovative teachers raises. Rely less on purely test results to determine a child or school’s success and more on their development and growth as a person. Axe teachers unions where they prove to no longer be useful in guaranteeing fair and equal work protections, workers unions in general have gotten way too large and corrupt and have overstayed their usefulness IMO.

Again, oversimplistic view here, but then again, education, taxes, healthcare, etc. doesn’t also have to be so bloated and convoluted as we’re seemingly making it out to be as a society.
 

тень

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More practical everyday skills, less trying to cram the entire history of human technology and advancements in a handful of years. I think what should be considered "higher education" needs the bar lowered, and high school be where you can start specializing in a certain feild.

Stop the administrative bullshit with accountability, book cartels, and shady funding. School should not be that expensive. Also being able to choose where to go to school should be a given.
 

Tomb1

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Scrap the zero tolerance policy on fighting. For example, A walks up to B and whacks him in the face and is about to whack him again when B knocks A out with a right cross...under the crazy zero tolerance policy schools employ B would actually get in trouble. I can understand suspending A but punishing B for not being a punching bag is downright insane.
 
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