Thanks Omega. I was just thinking this week a debate course should be mandatory in school. Ok, maybe not, but the basics of forming and defending one's (or analyzing another's) argument or position should be, especially common fallacies used by people in discussions/debates. As Yadda yadda, I did not learn these in primary/secondary school at all. I took a post-secondary philosophy introduction course, which barely brushed on it IIRC, so that was about the extent of my formal education on such things. I am just blessed/privileged with a naturally inquisitive mind inclined toward analytical thinking (not that my family finds it such a blessing
Omega, on 30 June 2017 - 10:14 PM, said:
I'm trying to organize my thoughts about education reform. At the moment, i'm seeing six basic goals of public schooling::
Maximizing employable skills is straightforward: take whatever community colleges would teach, and teach that to high school students.
I don't disagree, but I am less and less certain that this kind of stuff (skills for specific jobs) is of prime important in our rapidly changing world. So my mind goes in two directions here. Though it is more commentary on our societal/economic structure than on what we should teach children.
- There will always be low-skilled labour/services needed, and people who, either due to lack of ability or opportunity, end up there should still be able to support themselves (i.e. a living wage).
- If automation replaces most of them that presents other issues. Doesn't really change the underlying issue though. There will always be people with a lack of ability for highly advanced education (and jobs), and I don't see their numbers budging lots. Automation will just make more people lose opportunities for employment, at least partly regardless of ability.
Maximizing exposure to art and general knowledge is not terribly different from what it has always been.
As long as one recognizes that general knowledge isn't unbiased (nor is the status-quo for that matter). No way does school have time to teach everything, but I think it would be interesting if they included a day at the end of the term for formal critiques of their course. It would acknowledge to the young students that that the narrative the course has given isn't the standard/default/only one and that there is so much more to explore out there. I am thinking more about history, but even art could fall under it, as I took visual art throughout high school and it was awfully euro-centric, and there are plenty of indigenous art methods/styles in my country that they could have brought into the courses here and there. Though I am probably going more into the weeds here than you intended
I assume most courses are covered under here/general knowledge: official language/literacy, number system(s)/math, geography, ecology, history, social studies, art (visual arts, and music), science.
And don't forget civic knowledge of one's government. Though maybe that falls under the next part.
But maximizing ability to participate in society effectively, that's a complex topic. I feel like it overlaps with the concept of virtue.
Process conflicting sources of information to determine truth
Ask for help
Recognize cognitive distortions and biases
What else? I need feedback and thoughts!
I think of these as basic life skills. Not to downplay them, just the opposite. Plenty of kids come from disadvantaged backgrounds (not talking solely socio-economically, kids from the middle/upper class can come from dysfunctional homes and lack these skills), and need exposure to these skills from somewhere. And that somewhere for them is either going to be the school, or problematically: the media or their peers. So I totally agree.
What about other basic life skills? Emotional self-regulation probably overlaps with some of what you said. What about home-economics? Health (mental, socio-emotional, physical), human-development (especially child-development/parenting), sex-ed?
ETA: Oh! And financial literacy.
I'd probably add in media literacy too. With media everywhere people need to be able to evaluate what they are being constantly exposed to.
I've heard this about parenthood: parents aren't raising children, they are raising adults (while recognizing the developmental needs of their children)
. And I think our education ought to be the same way.
Things that don't seem explicitly
to be covered above:
- Second language (general knowledge?)
- Physical education (considering the obesity epidemic and the amount of screen time both adults and children get these days, I don't think it can be ignored).
There is also the fact it is just not what
we teach children, but how
we teach children. As in how school is structured, very often irrespective of childrens' development needs. We need how
we teach children to match how
they best learn. This is also of prime importance when talking about education reform. Montessori schools were on the right track, as far as I can tell. And Finland seems at the vanguard of changing how teachers teach.
There is also a movement of sorts to try to lengthen the school days to accommodate the work schedule of double-income or single-parent households (assumes they work regular office hours?). I actually disagree with it, but that is a structural problem far beyond what you are discussing.
Edited by sierraleone, 01 July 2017 - 08:43 AM.