Monday, August 6, 2012

Longtime teacher: Who to blame for education's failure? Students

A longtime Utah teacher wrote a provocative column in the Salt Lake Deseret News recently in which she said it's not the fault of the teachers, the systems or the tests that so many students are failing these days.

Most of it, she says, is the students themselves. Read her column, and let me know what you think.

I believe her declaration has a lot of merit. Too many kids today don't want to work. Heck, a large percentage of 20-somethings won't even read a comment on Facebook if it's more than two lines long. "Too much effort," several have told me in one way or another.

I'm convinced parents play a significant role in this as well, in that too many aren't involved enough - or take the steps necessary - to get their kids to complete their assignments.

But shifting societal trends is like trying to turn around a battleship - it takes time...and a lot of room.

With technology available today to do so much for us, how do we teach our children to solve problems....when Siri can do so many of those tasks for us? With movies and television programs clipping through scenes and story lines so fast the brain can barely keep up, how do we teach them to build patience and attention to detail?

I'm not asking "How do we turn back the clock?"

It's more, "How do we drive home the significance of learning in this new environment?"

Because it's not just that they're failing in the classroom that's significant. This failure to learn will cripple them once they enter the world of employment. And that, in turn, will cripple our economy as well as our society.

1 comment:

  1. I don't disagree that her points are forces affecting the outcome. But I think she's also not allowing for the system or the teachers to bear any responsibility either. It would seem to me that if a student refused to do the work and the teacher and system gave that student some discipline to include a failing grade (e.g. meaningful consequences) might perhaps help turn the battleship around.

    To me there's fault in the system that elevates student self-esteem over meaningful productivity and student performance. And in a system that emphasizes less work for more pay - it's a rarity for kids to spend 5 straight days in school anymore let alone week after week. So, I can't agree with her in that the system and teachers apparently bear no responsibility.