Mrs A's Blog

My Rambling Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

Education and Prizes…

As a kid I was fascinated with awards.  I loved to watch all the entertainment awards on TV…  The Oscars, The Academy Awards, The Golden Globes…  I liked the fact that people were rewarded for their hard work and perseverance.  As I got older I started to wonder if other people were recognised for their hard work and effort and this led me to investigate the Nobel Peace Prize, the Australia Day awards, and a variety of other awards. (Did you know Australia has 55 awards!)  While I have never actually received an official award, I do have a lot of respect of those that do.

I have recently finished reading “Stop Stealing Dreams” by Seth Godin and after musing over the eBook and thinking about my teaching practice and the system we teach in.  I started to think about the awards we give out at school.  We honour the students who come number 1 in their subject, number 1 in their sport, number 1 in their cultural groups.  We give awards to the student who is the most improved in sport, cultural activities and academics.  We honour the hard work and effort of the students who can answer the questions we pose on the tests the questions they answer in their assignments.  But what is this really teaching them?  It’s teaching them to remember.  Occasionally it’s teaching them to use some higher order thinking skills

Seth Godin makes many good points about the reason for schools one of which is that a “schools function is to create the workers we need to fuel our economy” (chapter 6)  However since the invention of school the needs of society and the economy have changed.  Schools no longer need  to “create homogenized, obedient, satisfied workers and pliant, eager consumers” (chapter 6) We need entrepreneurs…

This leads me back to the awards…  Coming up with inventions way back when, must have been a lot easier than it is now.  That one thing that everyone needs and wants.  As time goes on, and more and more things are discovered, its going to become harder…  It will become harder for the Nobel Foundation to determine who to award the prize to.  However its harder for students to think outside the box if we are teaching them the way we currently are…

It’s time to start teaching kids to think for themselves…  start teaching them the skills…  STOP teaching them knowledge…  Knowledge can be looked up…  Skills (at this stage) cannot…

 

 

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