Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
The Highschool systems are made to prepare teenagers for the outside world and maximum success. To get as much information in their heads. But information you need to be a doctor is only biology and chemistry. A lawyer needs other courses such as English and debating but all together they are too much and are wasted space in the heads of the students that should be used up by the topics they are so passionate about already.
Why do we have teens that can’t stand the pressure of exams when in fact they should be learning about their passions. In an institution that is supposed to teach you how to live your life, but instead loads a collection of books on you and gives you a rating of what you are worth. Giving you anxiety because you can’t do a forward flip or because you don’t know how to work a complex function? That’s not right.
Shouldn’t they be encouraging you to follow your passions? And why do we rate teenagers, on how good or bad they are if they are already so unsure about who they are and who they want to be? Why do we rate them in how musical or flexible they are without body shaming them or being sexist?
Why teach an artist chemistry when he or she should be perfecting his painting, learning monologues or learning how to direct a play? Why teach a mathematician when different countries colonised Africa or who the 30th president was? Why teach a chemist about Seamus Heaney, Edgar Allen Poe or how to write a short story?
Why waste space when we can use what they already have anchored deeply in them to make them an expert in their area?
And why do I not learn about tax in school, when it´s one of the most important tools in being an adult? And why can I calculate the wave lengths of sound, when I don’t even know my human rights? How do I not know what my human rights? Why can´t I recite them? But instead I can recite the periodic elements. Did you learn them in school? Or was that time used to learn about metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous rocks like it was in my school in the 21 Century? We live in a time where everything is new. New cars, new phones, were even talking about going to mars or going to New Zealand in 30 minutes, but our school system is dusty 40-50 years old.
In my opinion, our school system has 6 problems that I am going to explain to you.
Students are prepared to listen to orders all day, line up and sit in rows that are nice and neat. This was established in the industrial age, this was where mass production and mass control were incorporated into this system. This is still the same now. They do nothing but follow instructions: “take out your math books”, “flip to page 36” “do exercises 4 through 6” you are rewarded for doing precisely what your told. But in today’s world you need to be creative, you need to be able to communicate your ideas to others and collaborate with your peers. Nevertheless, students aren’t permitted to speak in class.
The second problem is lack of autonomy and control. Their days are structured from top to bottom. But in today’s world people expect you to manage your own time when doing important work. You make your own decisions on what to do and when to do it. But in school it is the exact opposite. This sends the message that they are not at all in charge of their life; they are supposed to follow whatever is requested instead of taking charge and learning how to make the best of your life. It is no wonder that children are uninspired and disinterested. How would you feel if someone told you what to do your whole life? every minute of it?
Third problem is inauthentic learning. All learning relies on memorization in our school system. The students learn everything they can fit into their brain, but it is scientifically proven, that the learnt information is mostly gone the day after the test. We know that this kind of learning is inauthentic and that there are much better and more legitimate ways of learning. Yet only the test scores matter and decide what grade the student gets. And this has created an unhealthy and stressful relationship between students and teachers, and students and parents. The bad grades make it appear that the child has a problem or learning difficulty when the method just might be the wrong one. This makes the parents send their child through hours of tuition to learn information that they will forget not long after.
Problem four is no room for interests and passion. Our system extremely standardised. Every child learns the same thing, at the same time, in the same way. But doesn’t that disrespect the basic fact of being a human? Isn’t everyone unique? And the key to success and happiness in life is that specific passion. But there seems to be no room for passion or the basic question that every child should have an answer to; what am I good at and what do I want to do with my life? This is only proven by many famous celebrities, e.g. Winston Churchill who had an average grade of a `C´ in school. However, these are the people who made it out and found their passions without the help of others. But what about the people who don’t? We have no way of measuring how much potential and genius we aren’t recognising.
Problem number five is differences in how we learn. Each of us has different ways of learning. Each of us uses different resources, may need a lot of time to do so or might be needing the exact opposite. But our school system has no room for such differences. If you’re not fast enough, you are considered a failure. When de facto all you needed was more time.
The sixth and last problem is lecturing. In school children are lectured on an average of 5 whole hours. Experts who have been studying such behaviour have concluded that lecturing is a damaging, uncultivated and most importantly dehumanizing experience for children or anybody in that matter.
Our school system, which was initiated in the industrial age, has become outdated and ineffective. If we want children to prepare for today’s world, if we want learning to be affective and engaging then there is no doubt in saying that this school system has to be fundamentally changed.