Introducing the Elephants in the Room.

Wow. After reading this article my mind was boggled. To be honest after a semester in this course I have learned so much and how our public schools systems are really not preparing our students for the real world. I just didn’t know exactly what it was or how to put my finger on the issues that were the driving force behind this feeling. I myself have gone through the public school system wondering when I am going to use the content I was being taught. I can tell you, I have not used it much, and I am even going to be a teacher.

I think that as learners we ALL can relate to the fact that we have learned useless information throughout our school careers. In 9 Elephants in the (Class)room That Should “Unsettle”  Us, the first elephant really struck me. It addressed the fact that most of what students learn, they forget within the first year. I can personally say I know this is true because it’s happened to me! Our public school systems are obsessed with teaching curriculum that is measurable and that students truly aren’t learning and is not related to real life and the real world learning.

The second biggest elephant that stood out to me, that was also number two on this list, was: the fact that we know most of our students are bored and disengaged in school. Duh! I think that anybody that went into classrooms today could tell you that the actual content bores kids. Now, I have to give it to teachers, they have and do come up with fun ways to deliver it, but why should they? Learning should be fun and should interest students, as educators we shouldn’t have to tire ourselves out thinking about a million different ways to try to deliver the content in new and exciting ways. We need to open our eyes to this and realize that intuitive learning is where it is at, and the “learning” we are measuring for our students isn’t doing any favors for anyone.

The last big one that I had NO idea about was the fact that curriculum is just a guess. I cannot believe that it was “written” by around 10 middle aged white guys about 120 years ago. I think that the age of how long ago the curriculum standards were written tells us something. The world is definitely a completely different place then it was back then and education should be as well. If we are constantly updating state standards every 3-5 years depending on the state you reside in, how can the core requirements for the curriculum for all not have been updated for over 120 years?! That seems ludicrous and truly archaic.

I think that people think as educators it’s taboo to agree with the fact that education is not perfect. I think since we are the people in the classrooms witnessing these “elephants”, we need to voice them and explain the need for change. We know the way we are doing it is not working, so why not try for a way that will?

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Introducing the Elephants in the Room.

  1. timmikeisel says:

    I agree that schools teach information that is measurable, not necessarily beneficial. Students “learn” what is easiest to assess but not what they would actually benefit from. I agree that people don’t discuss these “elephants,” but why not? Why can’t people admit that our education system isn’t perfect and should be changed? It is our duty as future educators to address these issues and do what we think is best for our students.

    Like

    • hillarybollish says:

      I agree Timmi. I think that the fact that there is about 1/4 dropout rate across our Nation says something about our education. Nobodies education system is perfect, but I think we need to start somewhere instead of imposing more high stakes testing and thinking that this will help students learn anything of true value.

      Like

  2. mollyecarrollblog says:

    I agree that as future educators it is our job to take out students learning in our own hands. I think that it’s important for teachers to understand the boundary of state standards and valuable knowledge. I have to wonder what our education system would look like if more of US schools adopted the North Star format or Sudbury schools way of teaching! What was your most favorite unit this semester?

    Like

    • hillarybollish says:

      I wonder too. I think that drop out rates would go down and students would enjoy their time in school more because they would be the leaders of their own learning. It would be great to implement something similar to North Star and Sudbury but I think that our society is too data driven right now and I think that those school systems seem to idealistic to implement in public schooling.

      Like

  3. blogwithkel says:

    Hillary,
    First things first, I would like to say what a joy it has been to read your blogs. You always have such great insight into the world of education and you speak so beautifully. I hope to see you in some of my classes in the future.
    Overall I think you have a great post here. You did a great just articulating your thoughts. While I chose a couple different elephants, I didn’t tread too much into the one involving curriculum. Now my fear is: When is the last time we redefined curriculum for our students? That is a scary thought. Times have changed so mush and schools should be changing with it.
    Good Job! And Have A GREAT SUMMER!!

    Like

    • hillarybollish says:

      Thanks Kelly,
      that’s so sweet of you! I hope we do have some classes together as well, it would be nice to “see” a familiar face. I agree, I feel the fact that curriculum is so outdated is extremely alarming to me. Our world has changed so much in a short amount of time, let alone 120+ years.

      Like

  4. ryanlmosier says:

    I think that the first thing that you said about how you learned from this class and that you now are aware of so many problems makes it obvious you are an innovator and a solid educator already. We have to stay current with information and then adjust to bad trends that are happening. Great Post I hope we find all the answers.

    Like

  5. ashlynhansondiglit says:

    Hillary,
    I have loved reading what you have to say this spring semester. You are a great writer and always bring other points to the table that I hadn’t yet thought of. I would agree that it can be difficult to admit that a system you are a part of has some flaws. No one wants to do this. But if we want to see some changes and be a part of a system that truly prepares our kids for their futures, we have to be willing to step up and take responsibility. What are your thoughts on possible solutions to the “elephant” that is curriculum? So much of it is tired and outdated, so what can we as future teachers do about it?? Thanks for sharing!
    Ashlyn

    Like

    • hillarybollish says:

      Thanks Ashlyn!
      I have enjoyed reading your blogs as well. I agree 100%, I think taking responsibility is the first step in trying to build a better education for our students. I think one of the first steps is in getting a committee of teachers, and congress members to hash out a new plan. I think that having a diverse panel as well as actual teachers on that panel would possibly help with the reinvention of our current curriculum.

      Like

  6. courtneyhaywood says:

    The 120 years is crazy! So many things have changed in that time. Though due to how long it has been in place it is taking a long time to move forward. In fact I think it scares a lot of people because they don’t know what else to do about it. I like your thoughts about every 3-5 years on a state basis. Though a flaw here would be implementation taking almost the whole time before you could make sure it works. Though it would be better than waiting 120 years! Great blog!

    Like

    • hillarybollish says:

      I think you’re spot it, I think that people just don’t know what to do about it because it has been in place so long, so they’re scared to change it even though it’s not working. Yes, that’s a good point, but the 3-5 years isn’t necessarily changing any curriculum it is just a time period that it has to be reviewed to make sure that those standards and curriculum is “up to date”.

      Like

  7. vmfank says:

    Hillary,
    You said it best that this information was written 120 years ago and things have changed since then. Therefore teachers need to be innovative in their thinking and teaching. Technology has advanced greatly since then and can be used in the classroom for learning and not just for video games. Because it is technology that children use at home, using it in the classroom will help to engage them more. Nice job.

    Like

    • hillarybollish says:

      I don’t think it matters in the real world. The way our system is set up I don’t see a drastic change happening anytime soon on measuring “important” standards. So, I think the best first step is to at least make a more positive and current change so we are at least measuring something more modern. Heck, I’m with you, I would rather get rid of measuring objectives all together!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s