The lost tools of education

Community-Building Tools Members of Education World's "Principal Files" team speak out about the power of bulletin boards from the primary grades to high school. They say bulletin boards loaded with student work add personality to school hallways and speak volumes about what teachers value most. Photos and additional resources. Principal Carol Robertson is a huge fan of bulletin boards.

The lost tools of education

Is it knowledge in basic skills, academics, technical disciplines, citizenship…or is it something else? Our formal education system says only the academic basics are important, emphasizing the collection of knowledge without understanding its value.

What about the processing of knowledge—using inspiration, visionary ambitions, creativity, risk, motivation and the ability to bounce back from failure? There is a huge, disconnected gap, which is a problem for high school students in particular. Thomas Edison and many other super achievers never finished school.

They succeeded because they knew how to research information for a selected project and process that knowledge. The classroom environment does not work that way. It focuses on the collection of knowledge with no clear purpose other than high grades.

If pleasing the teacher does not motivate, then there is nothing to process, outside of memorizing answers for a test. The typical student is academically challenged while being starved for motivation. Lack of motivation is lack of knowledge-processing skills. All the elements in my opening paragraph relate to education, and all should be considered.

Only what can be measured will be selected, and the measuring tool is the written test. Anyone who does not have the ability to put clear thoughts on paper is labeled a failure.

Natural skills, including knowledge processing, do not count. What is exercised grows stronger, and what is ignored stays dormant. The classroom exercises the collection of academics, leaving all other natural skills in the closet.

The lost tools of education

Tests do not measure intelligence or ability; they do not measure how the mind processes information, how motivating experiences develop persistence, or how the mind sorts out instincts, opinions, evaluations, possibilities and alternatives.

Knowledge by itself has no value; it is like a dictionary filled with words. Words alone have no value; they are given meaning by the process of stringing them together. Unfortunately, our education system is becoming a system that memorizes the dictionary. When students have memorized selected knowledge, then they are given a one-day test, based on dictionary knowledge, which will influence their employment opportunities for the rest of their lives.

Natural skills are not considered. Knowledge only has value when used with a process, and process in an artificial environment is not predictable or measurable. Education should be a lifetime experience, not limited to youth.

Achievers in life use inspiration and motivation to overcome barriers. Teaching to the test does not inspire or motivate anyone. Memorizing does not inspire a love of learning; in fact, it does just the opposite.

Educators are switching to tests because there is a crisis in education of their own making, and society wants measurable results. This pressure is passed on to political leaders, who base political decisions on measurable academic testing.

These tests are based on acceptance of the educational status quo. Every student must now become an academic intellectual, or be labeled a failure.Need help choosing a card? Select the type of credit card that interest you. Bulletin Boards Are Powerful Teaching, Community-Building Tools Members of Education World's "Principal Files" team speak out about the power of bulletin boards from the primary grades to high school.

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