It was once believed that to master a skill required 10,000hours, technology has enabled this to be rapidly decrease. I’ve had students see a rubix cube for the first time on a Monday, and completing it under a minute before the weekend arrives.
It is well documented that education has take on a lot more in modern times, and a child’s life contains so much more than ever before, but it feels like nothing has been removed… Technology and Globalisation has increased access to information, connected us 24/7, faster production of work, instant feedback, more creative presentations, productions, platforms, expenses, equipment and more awareness of opportunities.
Students lives are more challenging and more busy than any previous generation. To be successful, these students are expected to master all skills that were expected of their parents generation, plus prepare for the next, while surviving the current. Through the internet, the world has changed more in the past 20 years, than the previous 50.
Students that I am teaching this year were born after the invention of the iPod. September 11 is part of their history curriculum. Having mastered basic computer skills is an expectation before they turn 10, and most out skill their parent before that age.
Not to mention schools competitive nature, to be the ones to have a more rigorous program, and best test scores, all students being to read at a younger age and do more maths than their schools competitors, just so that the school looks good, but at what expense to the child?
We used to live in a time where bills were hand calculated, phone calls required dialing numbers and research was done using encyclopaedias. And today, cash registers are more powerful that the computers that sent man to the moon, phones dial on voice command and information can be sourced with a simple search on a device that lives in almost every pocket.
My point being.. the world has changed.. let’s teach for tomorrow, not just for yesterday.
School days are longer, as before school, after school and even extra schooling activities fill the lives of almost every student.
Globally there are more tertiary graduates than ever before, but at the same time, more obesity, less social sports, more hate crimes, and less harmony. The world is constantly documented through mobile photography, and social commentary, but not lived or cared for. Expectations for parents, teachers, and children to do more, results in really doing less of what matters.
I have come across students who can write computer code, read more challenging books that many adults could, play Mozart on a violin, and solve algebraic equations, yet have difficulty conversing with their peers, have self esteem issues and lack grit or resilience. And I’m sure parents are trying to do their best, but as a teacher of mathematics, in an Asian country, I am often asked by parents, how can my child be better at maths? We have a tutor, do they need more?
In my head, I’m thinking, “your child got 99% on the last assessment, yet is sleep deprived, has no friends, is uncoordinated, overweight, miserable and lacks manners, so let them go play, have fun, make mistakes, and make friends, the skills they will learn from that, are much more valuable than perfecting the grade 6 mathematics curriculum.”
Basic skills that are required to survive on this planet are being neglected, just so that a test score is acceptable… Is that really what we want?