Most children love going to school. At first. Pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade possess this certain magic that just entices children to want to learn. So what makes them lose that? School gets to be a drag and the system attempts to turn them into mindless drones that simply regurgitate information back to them. They don’t want children, they want robots.
There are those lucky few that find ways to learn outside of school. These are the few that don’t want to stop learning, these are the few who keep reading, keep searching,
keep learning. But, they don’t do this in school, they have to do it on their own free time, and then, how many kids do you know that want to do that on their own? The answer? Not many. Most that don’t drop out turn to hoping they get C’s at the bare minimum, praying that they get a 21 on the ACT.
The result of this mass mentality leads to a higher than optimal drop out rate, and a mass of people who know how to take standardized tests that aren’t ready for the real world. High school teaches nothing pertaining to the real world. At least, it didn’t for me.
The blog “School Vs. Learning” by George Couros exemplifies this. He discusses the differences of two things that should be the same but aren’t: School and Learning. These are two things that should go hand in hand, but they don’t. It’s heart breaking. Sadly, he doesn’t really give any solutions for this problem. Tina Barsehigian in her post “Nine Tenets of Passion-Based Learning” tells us why we have this problem; it’s simple. We need a way to measure how much students are learning. Unfortunately, no one learns a goddamned thing by studying how to take a test. No one remembers it either.
Thankfully, there are teachers out there like Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach who have actually tried something about it. She discusses this in an interview about Passion-Based Learning in the 21st century. Finding something that students are generally interested in, she is able to link that into multiple areas. She uses the example of skateboarding. Getting into concepts like politics, geometry, and even science, she is able to relate all of this back to skateboarding to make it interesting for the students. Even for subjects that she can’t relate back to it, she will still find some part of the subject she is teaching to try to make it interesting.
This kind of teaching actually gives students some sort of incentive to be there and learn as opposed to learning how to take a standardized test so that they can get all the scores and know literally nothing by the time they get to real life away from their parental unit(s).