One problem I always had with school was that you could pass a test after having memorized work. You don't actually need to understand what you are learning, just sit a remember and then regurgitate when you write and then forget everything.
This happens in all subjects, even maths, which is considered a subject that must be understood, not memorized. For instance, someone is told at a young age that they must simply remember all the formulas and they will pass. This works at that time, but as time progresses the maths gets more difficult and the work becomes more complex and suddenly that formula does not work anymore. Now you first have to do one formula then another and you have to figure out which, but since your only maths knowledge is memorized, you can't!
A very simple example of the difference between memorizing and understanding maths is in your multiplication tables. I know a lot of people say kids should memorize every one of them up to 10. Damn that is boring. But I believe you should not memorize it. For instance 5 times 8 is not simply remembered as being 40, it should be taught as being 8 times 10 divided by 2. If basics are taught this way then more advanced things like 36 times 5 can be calculated when that leveled is reached.
Sure, in the US, they've revamped it over and over...I'm 33, my youngest is 10, but I can't recognize any of the concepts, definitions or teaching methodologies (and yes, I remember something of the fourth grade just not a whole lot).
Then when I consider that the USA has gotten worse nationally, in Math and Science education at the age my children are compared to every other industrialized country in the world...I wonder: why exactly did Bush enact "leave the children all behind?"
Probably because the establishment WANTS the kids who go to "normal" schools to be forced to take that job at their corporation to keep overpaying the CEO's (we have the highest paid CEO's in the world, and the largest gap between CEO pay and worker pay). :)
There are tons of good ideas, however, where is the incentive for people to change the system? Those who are smart enough to realize they're getting a raw deal, send their kids to private school, teach them more at home, or something else...those who don't know the extent that their futures are being eroded, well, probably listen to one political party or another and falsely believe in 'change'.
After Sputnik the US revamped education pushing math and science and for a while US public education was the envy of the world. I believe that a large degree of current education problems comes from the breakdown of family life. Prior to 1980 most households had one breadwinner but since '80 most have needed 2 to get by. Now we are on the 2nd generation of latchkey kids who do not know the way things used to be. Americans have been asked to work harder and harder with less time and energy left for their families so now TV and schools largely raise our kids and the parents are just along for the ride. The only end I see for this viscous cycle is a complete revamp of society with more emphasis placed on a happy and harmonious family life instead of working our fingers to nubs so our CEO can get a bigger bonus.
Another issue I have with schools is that it focuses on one method of learning i.e. do exactly as your teacher says. Often when people get to university then they struggle because they first have to find what works for them, and by that time you are so swamped under work that you do not have the time to properly figure out your learning method - which should be understanding. As Steven said we often focus too much on parrot fashion and not on understanding (something which is vital in real life). I think it should be important that kids be asked to explain why they are doing someone rather than just explaining how it should be done.
What you said in regards to CEO's earning so much is very true.
One of the companies I have audited are always telling their employees that they don't have enough money to give their employees large increases. But that same year they paid dividends equal to 20% of total salaries. Now this is a company that has 100 employees and the Director is also the only shareholder. In total they paid R10 million salaries of which R1 million went to the Director/Shareholder. Add his R2 million dividend and one person made 33% of the amount made by the other 99 persons helping to run the company.
Also linking theoretical work to a practical side of things makes it more interesting (hence using monopoly for maths).
I remember in school we would plant bean seeds in cotton wool with water and then around the same way learn about how seeds grow into plants etc. We also learned about the differences between root systems and then our teacher took us outside and we went to dig up a few plants and identified the types of root systems. Check out seed .org . za as they are a charity that do this to some extent.
Yes an another thing is the darn Task Test, all it seems the schools are teaching for is this test and I think there are a lot of valuable skills that are being left out. I don't remember taking anything like this when I was a kid and teachers seemed to teach more skills and usable life task, then just teaching to pass a test. I think the test they need to teach for is real life and do children have the skills they need to make it in the world.
God bless the USA, I feel you, and I do project with my kids, things that they can't get at school. I know as a kid me and my Dad drag raced, and while I don't drag race with them, I have gotten them into the high end RC planes, and I have found you can learn quite a bit from this. I also want to take one of the planes and run it on Hydrogen, but this is a lot of weight to work in the model.
I agree, parents need to be more involved in their childrens' daily lives. Although I don't necessarily agree with one parent being the breadwinner. I would rather like to see both parents working less so that both have more time to spend with each other and their kids.
College prep coarses, so thr prepared for college, and I think the more private schools have a better learning environment, and get teachers that actually care about the student education, that's just a few things
Yes I remember doing this, where did all this go, now kids go to school and it is all books and memorization. Also they seem to push sports more then education, injuring our kids before they even reach adulthood.
I don't know about where you live, I am working to get my kids in Harmon Science Academy here. It is a school that by the time they get out they can have their first year of college knocked out as well.
I love to here when a CEO is employed with a company just to get fired not to much later and they have made more money then a lot of people will see in their lifetime. God Bless.
My students have to work almost 24/7 only to deal with national and regional test which will put a test on the same thing but done twice...
Also to make maths more fun, it can be incorporated with something like playing monopoly or whatever other game that uses figures.
Gettin kids so they want to learn snds like a good plan, most kids think school is borein, make it fun and they will learn faster
any more specific activities, dear?
Nice answer, I like that theory