I’ve always loved the fact that the word ‘Education‘ has ‘cat‘ in the middle. Cats to me represent first and foremost curiosity and that’s what education should be about – curiosity. If a teacher does not make the class interesting enough to provoke curiosity or interest in the students, then that class is no good at all. Of course we all have these topics that our world revolves around, but if we’re showed the way, I think anyone can learn anything.
The problem with many education systems (I do not speak of them all as that would require more research than I have the time for) is that they often limit the students, especially in high school and university. Very often we are presented with just the choice of degree or general course we want to take, which automatically puts us in a list of pre-set classes. What is wrong with this? Lack of choice. Of course if someone chooses a degree they’ve already made their choice, but it is common for degrees to include classes that one can highly dislike. Or maybe the order in which the classes are taken will not suit the student. And while this helps the school run properly as they want, it is often very discouraging for said students.
They have no choice – if they’re already there then they are required to study it and pass it. But what knowledge would that studying bring to the individual if it’s forced on him/her? None. It will be forgotten shortly after the class is over. Unless the teacher makes it so appealing that the student takes interest in it and makes further researches, but then that studying won’t be forced and the knowledge will live and evolve in that individual later on.
Going back on the previous topic, if the students had the right to choose their own subjects from their degree’s area and set them up for taking as they prefer, would make it easier for them to pass them and get deeper knowledge of the material. Maybe having two maths or two languages in the same semester is hard for them – let them take it next term. You don’t have to organize a new class just for them, they can take it along with students from another year. What do years have on knowledge anyway? Not much, it’s the experience one acquires through life that matters the most. One could be only 15 years old but wiser than someone who is 30. Everything is relative.
There are many countries around the world who have a system of choice where students picks their own classes, and there is nothing wrong with it. Skipping, quitting, or even sleeping through classes can all be blamed on the fact that students don’t get to pick their classes or the teachers do not manage to grab the students’ attention. You can say that if one is interested in the class he will motivate himself to work in it, and you won’t be wrong, but sometimes people need additional motivation. A teacher’s job is not only to teach, but be psychologically adequate to work with other human beings. He or she needs to accommodate to the students’ needs, rather than just make his or her work easier.
It’s not very hard to make any topic fun or provide someone with more choices, if you just put a bit effort into it. And you will be surprised to see the results from it – the increased grades and general effort shown will speak for themselves. Because you really can’t judge a shark and a dolphin on the amount of meat they eat when one was born to do so and you put up the other against its will. But if you let them race, now that would be a challenge to which they can both contribute. Just saying.