Systems, Methodologies & Textbooks
The system is broken. It is a familiar cry as people point to unreached goals and failing grades as the reason for blaming the system. The problem is, for those pointing the finger, is that there is only one system that can be used. Teachers teach and students learn. It is the same way in every country around the world and it has been this way since the beginning of time.
The system can’t be changed and if you try it then you are simply putting the cart before the horse. The system is not what is broken. What is broken are those who try to manage it according to their own ideas, goals and desires. The purpose of education is replaced by political or personal gain.
It isn’t that there isn’t enough money to pay for the educational needs. As an example the American military budget hits this year in the 600 billion dollar range. Even if you only subtracted 15 billion, that would be enough to cover the financial problems burdening the educational system of America and still not hurt the defense of that country.
There are other influences, on a lesser scale, that contribute to the weakening of the system and it all has to do with the adults in charge of, employed by or provide services to the educational system. The system works if it is allowed to work.
As for methodology, everyone in the world is looking for that perfect method that will bring the perfect results. There isn’t one (that has been created by humans). If one has been a teacher for any length of time, they would know that all students do not learn the exact same way. There is no set way for a person to learn.
Like everything else, methodology is subjective and what works for one teacher may not work for another. Thus a teacher needs to find the methodology that best fits them and their personality. Plus they need to be open-minded or flexible enough to alter their style and methods to fit the needs of their students. They should not let others force them into methods unfamiliar or do not work.
The world is inundated with cutely named programs like Head Start, No Child Left Behind or what is being implemented now, S.T.E.A.M. but these only offer the illusion that something is being done in education. The current crisis is evidence that cute programs do not work and only seek to mollify the parents into thinking something is being done to educate their children.
In sports, when teams start to lose the coach usually goes ‘back to the basics’ to get the job done. He doesn’t usually switch to a new, cute strategy because the players can’t handle it. The same goes for education. Methodology should ‘get back to the basics’ first and teach students what they need to know whereby providing them with a good foundation to build their learning upon.
Then there are the textbooks. These works are not exhaustive nor contain as much information as one would like. They can’t because topics are just too broad for a textbook to do it justice. Parents and teachers should realize that a textbook is merely a jumping off spot, a place to get started when learning about different subjects.
There is no law or force stopping a parent from buying other books to enhance their child’s education. Parents should be encouraged to aid their children in learning and in helping with independent study because a teacher cannot be with a student 24 hours 7 days a week.
If the teacher is good, then they will provide the student with the correct tools to use in their own time as a student’s progress can only be done if the student knows how to study and learn on their own. Their hands can’t be held every step of the way.
One final word, Korea should focus on educating their children and not copying from western nations. Those nations have failed their students and Korea should not follow like a lemming. They should take the better path.