Thursday, March 22, 2007


Thanks to Tim over at Assorted Stuff, I found a link to
Pete Reilly : Education's Hidden Messages. The post includes a list of some ways that our educational system is sending out the wrong message to students. Some of those ways include:

They are leaning that discovering and creating knowledge is beyond the ability of students and is really none of their business. ...

They are learning that the voice of authority is to be trusted and valued more than independent judgment. ...

They are learning that life’s answers lie outside themselves, in others. This lesson results, not only in students who believe others have their answers; but also that others are responsible for their problems. Students who have been taught this lesson take little accountability. ...

They are learning there is always a single unambiguous right answer to a question. If it can’t be measured, it’s not taught.

Unfortunately, I think that he is pretty close to being on the mark here. Even at the college level, too much is rote memorization -- especially in the first two years. I see my students agonize over upcoming tests, sure that they don't know the "right" answers. They never know what they are expected to know for the exam except that it is "Chapters 1-4 of the textbook".

The saddest part of what Reilly says, from my perspective, at least, is:
They are learning that risk taking is dangerous.

And, I guess, an awful lot of us past school age feel the same way.

Something has to change. And each of us, as an educator, has a responsibility to make an effort to improve the situation. We may not be able to eliminate the problems entirely, but we can improve the way we teach, what we teach and how we assess students in our own classrooms. It may not seem like much, but if enough of us do it...

(Crossposted from Moving Along)

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