The perfect School(-system)

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Running Wolf, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Running Wolf

    Running Wolf Join the Madness

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,493
    Likes Received:
    200
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Bittersweet Hell
    Ratings:
    +231 / 0 / -0
    Hey guys, a new topic for us, for new ideas and perhaps for a little philosophical talk as well.
    The Topic:

    The PERFECT School(-system)


    - what must a school offer?
    - what are the responsibilities of a school and a school-system?
    - what would it take to make a perfect school?

    What are your ideas? How could your countries school system be upgraded? What is your experience with school-reformations? How does your countries school-system even look like?

    And more into Detail: Is it necessary that a school evaluates and grades its students?
    What is the goal of the school (system):
    - preparing kids for their life as workers in the capitalistic industry
    - or "educating" them in the original meaning of "education"? (In German there's the term "Bildung" and there's a difference between "Ausbildung" (teaching someone in one special area) "Weiterbildung" (expanding the knowledge you already have in that area) and "Bildung" itself (which the dictionary translates as: accumulation, cultivation, creation, culture, education, formation...) ) The English education spans all three of those terms, so it's gonna be hard to make a difference between them, we can try nontheless
    -What kinds of things should it teach?

    Is the schoolsystem fair? Must it be fair, or should it sort the weaker ones out? Should citizens pay for (higher) education or is it the countries duty to provide free education for all?
    What about field-trips and scholarships? Fair or unfair?
    What should the maximum of students in one class be? What's the best learning and teaching method?

    Do Universities and Colleges fall into the category "school" or would you see them as individual research-centers, that are a world apart from normal schools?
    What's the difference between schools and Universities and Colleges?
    What role must a Kindergarten play?

    etc etc etc.

    The field is huge, so is the number of possible questions.
    Pick the ones you like or just state your personal philosophy about it all.
    I invite you to discuss everything that has to do with school and schoolforms and maybe at some point we can more or less agree on the perfect schoolsystem, present it to politicians and create a perfect world :)
    Let's try it.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +342 / 1 / -0
    Some points:

    School to university - in the UK there is a massive gap between school level education and university level both in depth and in the methods of teaching and learning. This is partly a result of the university level education becoming a more standard part of education rather than the elite and also because schools and universities have not adapted to each other. There is a move to change this and universities are starting to adapt, but the school system needs to change as well.

    As for what a school needs to have I would say less government overall direction and darn good teachers. Those two things alone will give far better results. The problem with government and national setups is that they reduce the ability of the teacher to teach - a sylabus set by a board can contain wrong information and incorrect facts (especailly if new discoveries are made after the sylabus is written) however the teachers must still teach the same incorrect facts to the students because marking (albeit unbias independant marking) is done by those who do not nessessarily know the subject that well - just just have a list of offical answers and points to look for in the work and award marks based on that.
    This also punishes the student should they show real interest and independant learning in the subject area or if they make correct conclusions which are not listed in the marking lists.

    As a final point government are well known to fiddle the marking scheme and grade boundaries to control passing grades in students - effectivly again this means its not so much how well the student has performed, but how well the rest of that generation performed in that exam as well as how many a,b,c etc... grades the government want to give.

    Taking this marking setup the extreme the UK is already entering into a tickbox based examination setup (even in traditional essay subjects like english and geography) which means marking is quick and cheaper- but also means that questions become very nastily worded to help weed out rational thinking (ie coming to the right conclusion without knowing the fact by heart) plus there will always be those students who do no revision, but who can ace the exam because they just happened to tick the right boxes.


    As for fairness the system should be fair to all entrants, but that does not mean everyone must leave with A* grades - infact that is a bad thing since it leads to no devision in the workforce and that means we end up with a lack of lower level workers - which a society does need.

    As for subjects I have two strong views on missing elements in schools - the first is on pratical and manual applications. There is very little in schools which deals with real hands on subjects and much is infact based on book based subjects like maths, english and so on. The downside to this is some people just cannot learn from a book. They are often far more responsive to manual tasks and skills and there is a lot of call for such - but the education in them does not even appear till after schooling - where they have developed little to not manual skills (save from outside the classroom). So I would like to see a boost in the effective teaching of hands on skills. And that means more than one or two taster lessons (no one learns anything long term from a single taster lesson).

    The other thing is an increased wider aspect to learning - with specific regard to learning things from "outside the human world". It came as rather a shock to me when I finally realised that after years of school I still could not tell one tree nor plant from another save for the most common of species. And in my mind its a dangerous thing to teach our young that there are two worlds - the human and the natural - since it breeds in the mind the idea that only one of those worlds is important. When in actual fact there is no two worlds but one.
     
  3. Blackness

    Blackness Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,947
    Likes Received:
    145
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +145 / 0 / -0
    The perfect school system is simple.
    You're self taught for the most part, professors are paid by the government to have daily consultations and answer all the questions and to debate with the "students". You do not have to be in a university to get a phd, people who've never seen a university should be able to take all the exams necessary because the only thing relevant is knowledge. Which ought to be completely free, financed by the government.
    As for school trips and such, it should be left to personal tastes and wants, except in the few cases in which field work is actually required (archaeologists, geologists etc.)
     
  4. Amalthea

    Amalthea Milady

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Here
    Ratings:
    +6 / 0 / -0
    :confused:
     
  5. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +342 / 1 / -0
    I think he means a state run system of education and thus whilst money will be raised through taxes (and other sources of government income) the average person on the street won't have to fork out £/$1000s per year for the education services for their child/children.
     
  6. Blackness

    Blackness Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,947
    Likes Received:
    145
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +145 / 0 / -0
    Exactly, thanks OR ;)
     
  7. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +342 / 1 / -0
    Out of interst as its government financed you would have this system run by the government as well? Only its my experience that once votes, image and other factors start to get put into the mix the education quality quickly goes out the window and the drive becomes for better statistics of learning (which is quite a different matter altogether).

    I would also say that whilst volentary learning does produce the best results from students (on average over enforced) that the early years (right up until mid/late teens at the least) would still have to be highly structured and without too many options. This is not just to ensure a good overall education for all the population but to also aid students in gettings as wide a taste of things as possible - since often people don't know what they really enjoy for a long time (for some it can until retirement!)

    Further the idea of active participation - debating - is a very good way of teaching, however class sizes would have to be significantly smaller for this to work. A class of even 20 can be rather too big for effective learning by that method (its way to easy for some students to dominate such a class and for others to remain far more silent and not contribute nor learn). Sizes of around 10 would be needed and that would thus require not only an increase in teaching staff (more cost) but also an increase in their overall quality - because active discussion requires a more full understanding of a subject than textbook teaching gives.
     
  8. Blackness

    Blackness Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,947
    Likes Received:
    145
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +145 / 0 / -0
    No, the system would be run partially by the government, mostly inspection, but the system itself would be devised and maintained by professors and students alike. In personal experience that seems to work best and the students and professors generally agree on what's the best way to education, after all, they were all students once themselves ^^
     
  9. Window Bar

    Window Bar "We Read for Light"

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    "Perfect" ain't in my lexicon ... at least not when linked to "possible."

    But I'm seeing some great evolution here in Ashland Oregon. A charter-type school (the John Muir School) within the town system has me wishing I was 10 again. Dedicated excellent teachers, a rigorous science program integrated with plenty of outdoor education, an art education room that is extremely well-equipped and feels like an artist's studio, a music room that is giving rise to composers and rock bands by fifth grade ... even diligent work in the so-called "solids" like math.

    Money is the difference. There's a great schools foundation here. And so the democratization and equalization arguments are all taking a back seat. Excellence seems to thrive here. If all districts in the state were the same, then mediocrity would prevail. No, Mabel, it ain't fair. So it ain't perfect.
     
  10. clouded_perception

    clouded_perception clouded_perception

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,871
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    Ratings:
    +49 / 0 / -0
    Blackness, I don't think most students have a clue how to teach themselves. That's why we have public schools.

    Unless you mean the outside-of-class learning that they're supposed to be doing anyway.
     
  11. Blackness

    Blackness Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,947
    Likes Received:
    145
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +145 / 0 / -0
    What do you mean have no clue how to teach themselves? I thought it was immanent to all humans.
    Besides, they do have the option of attending lectures, but deducted from personal experience, most classes are a waste of time (in humanist sciences at least, i can see how some natural ones eg. physics or mathematics could have it differently, but still, it's all possible to be understood and learned by the individual).
     
  12. clouded_perception

    clouded_perception clouded_perception

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,871
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    Ratings:
    +49 / 0 / -0
    There is no way that, given the option, 90% of 9-14 year olds would independently research mathematics. For those not mathematically inclined, it may even be quite difficult for them to learn without a teacher present.
     
  13. Blackness

    Blackness Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,947
    Likes Received:
    145
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +145 / 0 / -0
    Oh, my apologies.
    I was referring to university education.
    This is something I should've made more obvious ;)
     
  14. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Messages:
    7,784
    Likes Received:
    162
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Not in Amsterdam :)
    Ratings:
    +189 / 0 / -0
    Hmm - education is a very complicated matter. I think education is about finding a balance in level differentiation on one hand - and student activation on the other.

    The truth is that not everyone is equally smart. And, although the aim should be to boost every single child to the maximum of their ability, a differentiation into 4, maybe 5 layers should be recognised to tailor the needs of the various subgroups. One size does not fit all, I believe. However, I do recognise that this cannot be done from day 1. A split in the population might occur between the age of about 10 and 13.

    Student activation, I think, is the key to successful education. Not the teachers make for excellent educations - the students do; they are the ones making the results. And without their co-operation, everything fails. Now, I am not an education specialist; but from my experience, this would mean that the higher levels should get the freedom to explore and operate, whilst lower levels are better served with stricter discipline. This would, of course, form a gradient across the various levels. The matter of choice of application of either strategy should be left to the teachers, who generally know best what works in their particular situation.

    On the matter of public vs. private schools: I believe that it is the duty of the gouvernment to provide such a high standard of education, that the need for private schools becomes almost void. There are always those parents who are of the opinion that only the best teachers in the world money can buy is good enough for their offspring - but those are relatively few under a regime of well-organised public schools.

    Beyond that, I think freedom should be given to schools, even the public ones, to organise education in the way that seems best to them. State-funded, but independantly organised. The state should, however, facilitate platforms of inter-school knowledge exchange. I think it would also be a good idea to have teachers to be exchanged beyond their own school borders for up to 10% of their time, to prevent that they will grow too much inclined to the local tenure. In the end, the measure should be a state-organised exam; possibly at the end of every year, but at least at the end of the study period. This final exam must be the entry-level for naturally following education; there can be no question about that.

    I am not diving into universities too much; they are measured on an international scale. Again, it seems to me that the gouvernment should facilitate universities with a relatively high base level. I think it is only reasonable to ask students a college fee - but it should not be something that would exclude even the poorest percentile of the population. I believe that a college fee should be somewhere between $2000 and $5000 without lodging - or double that when it's included. Families who cannot afford or support that should be aided - it is the only way to ensure upward mobility across the entire population; whether that is in loans, gifts - or a combination - should remain a matter of debate. Either way; I think it is good for students to know and understand the investment in them and society.

    Beyond that, there will always be universities which aim at absolute excellence. I am sure they are best left to their own devices - though the gouvernment should ensure a minimum level to assert and validate the certificates and titles issued. I do understand, however, that there are cultures, in which most universities are independantly operated - and that these operate quite well. It seems to me that gouvernment-funded universities provides for a very stable, high-level base, whilst privately operated universities provide for a broader and higher pinacle in result; although possibly at the cost of the base level.

    For those who are not interested - or fall short of a scientific career - there should be professional schools. Again, it is up to the gouvernment to fund these - and assert the level outcome. I am not sure about tuition fees at these levels. I believe it is up to the gouvernment as well to provide platforms for schools and the commercial world to find an optimum in output as is needed. Please note that the bulk of the population would follow professional education on various levels. The diplomas should, however, give these people a good and satisfactory outlook on work and career, independant of the level.
     
  15. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +342 / 1 / -0
    I would agree very much with that. Several of the best teachers I ever had worked with a similar principle - when you were young it was strict controled and focused learning - you didn't dare put a foot out of place. Then as you moved into the upper years the respect that you gave them was essentailly rewareded as they adjusted to a laxer learning environment. Of course the early days are still fresh in your mind so you still don't dare put a foot wrong - but it makes for a far better learning environment since there is respect going both ways.

    as an aisde all three (that I clearly recall) of these teachers were female


    And to that I think we have to consider the aspect of punishment in the education system. I don't just mean having effective punishments to deture bad behavour but also a move to understand and find the causes of bad behavour in students who continue to perform such acts.
    Often I recall students who would be lower graders being the worst for bad behavour and I have often thought that its because they simply could not learn in the textbook and copy from the board indoor environment. Quite often these students would be sporty, but not always - but I did feel that they would have benefitted from being able to follow a different and more manual learning criteria (if nothing else a physically demanding learning environment would at least tire them out and leave less free energy for bad acts)