And How To Fix It
1) Rote Learning
Education used to be about knowing things. When there was no internet, mass media or any newspaper – the information was passed on from older generations to new ones. The more you could remember and write it down, the better.
But that phase is gone. Now, there is the internet. And the definition of education is changed. The information exists – yes you should know some of them. But you shouldn’t remember everything.
Because for that, you have computers. You can look it up online. What we need from is that you understand the things, make inferences, use them and do something new.
The education system still relies on rote learning method. Where the exam is how much you can remember and write it down. This is bad and makes bad student.
The way to fix this is to have exams based on projects. Let the students learn whatever they want. That way, you will learn so much more. Remember the things because it is something you love and then showcase your understanding by doing a project. Which can be anything – a presentation, live demo or collaboration work.
When you make exams based on understanding and not rote learning, it will reflect in the quality of education.
2) Untrained Teachers
On the other side of the equation of students is the untrained teachers. Or worse wrongly trained teachers.
Being a teacher is a privilege because you will impact the lives of thousands of students over the course of your career. And whatever they bring to the table, might depend on how you teach things. Or how you share your viewpoint.
The most common bad thing teachers do is that they push their personal agenda and not focus on the diversity in the class. Also, students shouldn’t be punished for discipline. You are not a military teacher. Because most act like that.
Let students be. Make things interesting and teach in different styles, let the students take an interest. Because once you teach fantastic, a good amount of students will enrol in your teaching.
Also, some students will never be attentive. Don’t focus on them and ruin the experience for everyone. Give a heads up once and then go back to the fantastic teaching. Remember, you are here to give the best even if it’s for one student.
At the same time, be open to ideas about how you can improve and answer questions of students regarding anything. Because teaching isn’t just what’s in the syllabus. You are grooming the kids for a lifetime of values and perspective.
3) Lack Of Empathy
Empathy is an underrated skill. When you think about it, everyone has their reasons for what they do. For example, when you see a kid who doesn’t do homework, there can be many reasons – one of them being that her parents fight at night and she feels sad.
There are many reasons for bad things that kids do, When you encounter them, you have a choice – think about the worst possibilities and punish them.
Or be open to possibilities and try to understand where they are coming from. Showing care, understanding and possibly helping them is what you should do as teachers.
The relationship between students and teachers is sacred. Don’t ruin it with a lack of empathy. Human beings are weird, complex and emotional. Hit every cord, because that’s what makes them human.
There is a no linear trajectory of complexity. There are layers. And you as a teacher is one of the puzzle pieces. Don’t make it hard what is extremely hard.
Understand, show emotions, connection – be empathetic about what you experience in your teaching experience.
Do what you wished your teacher would do to you. You remember the good teachers among many – because they have shaped your life. Give back to the current generations, they deserve it and you owe them.
4) Education-Job Misfit
The most cited reason why the education system is considered bad is because of the job you get. The ultimate goal of education isn’t to get a degree. Because you can’t put food on your table with that.
You need the money that comes from jobs. But the job market has become such that the degree isn’t considered enough.
Or the employer considers you for the employment of a low-level job by asking a high-level degree. It’s as if the employment world knows that degree is useless and is not an indicator of job capability.
But the education system hasn’t caught with this reality. And therefore, the education system encourages you to pursue the certificate every now and then. And there is no conversation about how to get a job or the eligibility or getting skills for a potential job.
When you get a degree, that’s it – you got the degree which states you have spent so much time in this system and successfully done everything they said. Now, go and get a job – no guarantees.
The job culture should define many of education because many people are studying to get a job and improve their lives.
5) Focus On Assignments
If you have done engineering or science-related classes, one thing which is common is the mindless assignments.
Often the writing work is so long that many students outsource their work. The focus is on the quantity and not quality.
There is no room for new things. For the last 100 years, this is the written assignments which have submitted and you are told to do the same. And so students oblige and spend many hours writing assignments which are basically copy-pasted from the previous years’ students or from the internet.
Either way, they aren’t learning anything from this homework which is often given. The better way is to make them do assignments open-ended.
The students should decide if they want to indulge and what should it look like. Make a room for anything unique. Let the students try out new experiments, writing style or reporting mechanism. Let the creativity flow and you will see the magic happening.
Sure, when you do such types of assignments, most of the given work would be bad. Some would be okay but few would shine. And then everyone can learn.
Compare this with the fact that now all the students’ assignment is the same with different handwriting. Nothing new and you accept it.
6) Treating Everyone The Same
No two human beings are the same – they see life differently and how they study is completely different. For example, you can have 100 students in your class. And you can divide them in groups based on their study pattern – morning, night, lazy, active, only practical and so on.
But if you have an education system which works on a simple plan then many students will be getting lost.
If you have school at morning then you will not be able to cater to students whose brains are active in the afternoon.
Let the students pick on how they should be educated and approached they prefer. Then you can club them and start the class.
This alone makes up a major shift in how you see the world and work. This is true for work culture too. Not everyone is active and at their best from 9 to 5. Everyone has their best period where they can sprint and achieve the most.
When you have flexible time, you create an environment where kids thrive to the best of their abilities. And isn’t a school for that purpose.
Different kids, different approaches makes the best education system. There are many different variables at play too. But this is a great starting point.
7) Physical Punishment
Punishment is a controversial subject in teaching. In most Asian culture, beating kids is the norm. And in western culture, not beating is a norm.
The physical punishment is bad. If you try to discipline with force or trauma then the kid will have a scar. Or she will grow up and realize that the beating is the ultimate and be sick of it.
If you want to make sure kids follow moral values, show them how good they are. And they will follow them because it is good. If you resort to beating, then you are making it a point that beating is normal. And when someone isn’t listening to you, you beat them up.
That is a bad moral value to showcase when your main purpose is to teach good. Beating’s don’t do good.
If you want to punish, then restrict the entertainment lifestyle for a certain period. So they can get little discomfort. That’s it.
Be vocal about what is wrong or right and what is acceptable in your house. Because they are kids, they are your liability – tell them how you aren’t going to beat. But won’t tolerate the highly mischevious things. Strike a balance – and if they are too bad, you can always send them to boarding school.
Regardless, don’t resort to beating. Teach, make them understand your viewpoint and strike a balance – that’s the key.
8) Avoiding Poor Kids
Kids are innocent. Education is the right of every kid. Sure, teaching has become a business and it requires funds. But you can maintain a balance – by charging rich kids a higher amount so you can enrol poor kids at subsidy or free.
This way, you will be educating the poor kids who need them the most. For this, school authorities, government and parents have to get involved.
Poor kids need education so they can understand their situation better. Think about it, get a job and get out of the poverty cycle.
When the education system works for the rich then the system fails. Because education is the weapon which can make the world equal in many ways. There are many exploitations in the world – the most brutal being not being able to attend lectures.
Because this will make poor kids liable for more exploitation. So if you are in the position to contribute, make sure the kids get the education regardless of their background.
It’s not only a good karma thing, but it is also a necessity to make the rights for all the wrongs that have happened.
Sponsor a kid’s education, this will have an impact on the entire family and many generations to come after her.
9) Marks System
As long as there is a marks system in the schools and colleges, there will be ranking. And those who score less will feel like they did something bad.
Marks system is bad. Because the education system is based on rote learning and the ancestor method of finding who is smart. Generally, that smartness is confined to algebra and science. History is told to be mugged up. Because those are facts.
But there is a perspective, layering and understanding in history and everything. Things are not one-dimensional. You can live your life like being number 1 is the best thing.
But schools are supposed to make everyone better. And yes, the capabilities and variables would differ, but everyone should be successful. Else, what’s the point if only select few are going to rule the world.
Also, smartness is subjective. You can’t know everything and there will be always something at which you will be good enough for you to live your life. And that should be the goal.
10) Yearly Assessment
This is in line with the marks system. Every year, there is a big exam to determine if you can go to the next grade.
And it is messed up. There are many subjects which are being taught. And you have to score the minimum at everything. But that shouldn’t be the case. Yes, it helps to know something from every subject but why force.
The alternative is to let the kids choose any subject or chapter from the books. And the whole year, they should do something to experiment with that.
For example, if they choose climate change – study the geographics of it, survey the people, build models, predict and come up with the different perspectives. Every month, you as a teacher will guide them. Also, such projects should be done in groups so kids can develop their other skills too.
And at the end of the year, they should present what they learnt – that’s it. If as a teacher you did guide properly every month, the students would excel at the end of the year.
Education is the best thing that happens to kids – let’s make it more awesome.