by Amanda Vogel
As Ken Robinson implores in his talk Changing Education Paradgims, “If you are interested in the model of education, you don’t start from a production line mentality.” His talk elicits powerful images of children sorted in batches, moving down an assembly line. He brings up some tough questions we need to ask as parents and educators:
- Are our schools focused on “conformity” and “standardization?”
- Do our schools treat children like items being produced in a factory?
Unfortunately, the answers to these questions may be yes.
But some teachers don't like the idea of students making this much progress: “Khan’s programmer, Ben Kamens, has heard from teachers who’ve seen Khan Academy presentations and loved the idea, but wondered whether they could modify it 'to stop students from becoming this advanced'.”
It’s hard to react to this statement with anything less than fury. Aren’t teachers supposed to help students reach the fullest potential they possibly can? Shouldn't teachers embrace any means by which they can individualize to students?
We know that students learn at their own pace, and that they have different strengths and interests. It's hard to imagine that, when presented with an option like Khan, some teachers are pushing against it. The last thing we want is to teach students to reach for mediocrity, or to sentence them to boredom day after day in the classroom.
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