What’s Wrong with Education?
Our kids are failing because we teachers and parents are failing our kids.
Or so we are told. Over and over, nearly each and every day.
• It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing the bad news about the state of education.
• It’s easy to feel anxious as others highlight the faults of any and every approach: traditional schools, charter schools, homeschooling settings and even unschooling arrangements.
• It’s easy to worry when we hear reports that our kids are being outdistanced by others on the planet.
But criticisms and worries do nothing to make things better. And the act of comparing often results in nothing more than a whole lot of useless finger pointing.
In their book, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life (Macmillian Audio, 2010), authors Rosmund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander dubbed such doom and gloom rhetoric downward spiral talk. This includes, say the authors, any kind of talk in which we focus on walls and roadblocks and what it will take to overcome them instead of focusing on possibilities. They go on to say that, whether we focus on problems or possibilities, they will tend to grow larger in our awareness.
If you’re like me, you cherish the importance of play, choice and creativity at all levels of the educational process. And you’re probably as unhappy as the next guy about the amount of school testing and negative pressure evident in education today.
It is sad to think that our test-crazed, achievement-oriented culture may be robbing time and space from even our youngest learners.
I almost cried when a kindergarten teacher attending one of my most recent puppet workshops lamented, “They might as well just take the toys out of my kindergarten class; we don’t have time for play anyway!”
But, while it’s easy to focus on all this negative stuff, one of the biggest things “wrong” with education is not education itself, but our obsession with what’s supposedly not working.
This fear factor grabs our attention at every turn. It moves our focus away from what really matters: our kids and everything we’re doing right with them.
I am not a political animal, but after reading this article that appeared in the American Journlism Review by the Washington Post reporter, Paul Farhi, titled “Flunking the Test,”
I decided I’m done with listening to what’s wrong with our traditional and
non-traditional school arrangements, as well as all the teachers, parents and kids involved.
I’m even done complaining about those who insist on exploiting our kids for some political or fiscal agenda. (Others are fighting that battle and I predict the whole situation will eventually fall of its own weight.)
I hereby deem Learning with Puppets to be a place of “educational positivity” —a place where together we’ll focus on and share fabulous parenting, teaching and learning ideas—including ways to use puppets and more—and where we’ll find creative ways to support one another while offering the kids we love a fun and playful path to meaningful learning.
Together we’ll celebrate all things possible in education.
Who’s with me on this? ☺