4 Ways to Improve the Schooling System

This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I am happy to have Rahul of Take-20.com write this post for Insight Writer today because it is a subject near and dear to his heart too. It is not that we have all the answers, but I think this is a good start. So please read on…

The quality of the schools in our society determines the quality of our society as a whole. Given this truth, we can agree that we should do everything in our power to ensure our schooling system is of the highest quality. However, it seems as though we have failed to live up to this responsibility, and as a result, the schooling system of today remains flawed in many ways.

The following list is a compilation of just a few of my suggestions of how we can improve today’s schooling system. Currently, it churns out underdeveloped individuals who are far from an expression of their true potential. This inefficiency must be fixed, and this list of changes is a good starting point to get that done.

  1. Teachers must meet more stringent criteria: Better teachers equate to a better system overall. The sanctity of the teaching role has greatly diminished over the years, and a major contributing factor to this trend is the decreasing quality of the teaching body as a whole. Whether it is their failure to understand the importance of their role in society, taking the job solely because of the great vacation time, or the feeling of being underappreciated by their students, administrators, friends, families, and the rest of the society, teachers are not living up to their responsibility of serving as the guides to “enlightenment” that they once used to do so well. One way to bring back sanctity to the teaching role is by requiring teachers to meet a much higher level of criteria before they are seriously considered for a position at the school. Teachers in the improved system would be required to have additional education, higher quality of character, and a greater sense of responsibility for their role.
  2. Tests and quizzes must be more conceptually evaluative: The tests and quizzes of today’s system rely excessively on evaluating students’ rote memory skills, rather than evaluating their conceptual understanding of subject material. This doesn’t facilitate the process of true learning. Instead, the current process forces students to focus on memorizing and regurgitating the minor unimportant details of subject material, rather than learning and understanding the conceptual framework behind it. As a result, students don’t develop a deeper understanding of the material they’re studying, and are left with a cursory understanding of it instead.
  3. A talent recognition course must be integrated into the system: Currently, there is not a course students are required to take that helps them discover their innate abilities and talents. Such a course should be integrated into the system at an early stage, and books like “Strengthsfinder 2.0”, and “Is Your Genius at Work?” should be made required reading for this course. Once students have discovered their innate abilities and talents, schools should then make available a variety of paths that foster the further development of these abilities and talents. The result would be a highly specialized pool of young adults looking to further explore the best application of their honed abilities and talents while in college.
  4. The disciplinary system must emphasize character development: The current disciplinary system relies on instilling fear in students to deter them from committing wrong acts while in school. Instead, the disciplinary system should serve as a means to improving students at a deeper level. In this enhanced system, students who exhibit certain character flaws will be taught how to proactively change these flaws into more empowering traits by means of a separate character development course. For example, a student who is caught cheating should be given a zero, as is done in the current system. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, in addition to being given a zero, the student should be required to attend a character development course where he or she can learn the value of honesty and integrity. Such a disciplinary system would help students become better people in and out of school, and consequently would lead to an improved society overall.

This list is far from comprehensive. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions on how we can further improve the current schooling system. Thank you for reading!

2 thoughts on “4 Ways to Improve the Schooling System”

  1. The failings and any solutions put forth by whatever party in regards to our national education system barely touches upon this multilayered, multi-generational issue. The crisis that our national educational system is in, didn’t happen over night. It occurred as a landfill occurs. Layer upon layer of refuse dumped on top of one another generation after generation.

    We all hope for blessing to fall on what we hold most dear-our children. But anecdotal band-aid fixes are not going to help. It’s more likely to compound the effects of the problem by prolonging the problem longer. Yes, indeed, qualified teachers are required. Which means that training teachers within universities and professional development within school districts must change before you can even begin to require these more “stringent” standards for teachers.

    We can’t expect a child to know and perform something that they have never been taught. The same applies to teachers. And honestly, looking around in my education classes at the university, I can tell who has the talent for teaching and those who don’t, But they’re shuffled from class to class, as in primary and secondary schools, because professors/teachers don’t want the hassle of weeding them out of the teaching program or losing their tuition/funding.

    What the pool of teachers look like now, is (some) highly motivated, (some) highly delusional, (some) scared, (some) fresh-faced, (some) seasoned, ambivalent, (some) passionate, talented teachers. An individualized curriculum and school infrastructure would be awesome. And is quite within reach…with MONEY. Schools and teachers are constantly strapped for resources-money. For example, almost every single school has a limit per teacher on how many copies they can print from the copier. Every teacher I know, inevitably run out of copies before the end of the month. Developing curriculum, school infrastructure, trained staff, and environment tailored to foster students’ individuality and strengths will come only once more basic necessities have been met, such as qualified, trained teachers, oversight of administrators, state education departments are held accountable for the well being of children, federal funding for education is increased along with stringent oversight of the how and where the federal funds go, the list goes on and on.

    The disciplinary system should TEACH the whole child, not merely discipline the student for the sake of sticking to the rules and flexing our authority over the child. Discipline as shown, in this, means punishment. Certainly, punishment by definition works: punishment immediately following a response, decreases the future rate or probability of the response. But it only works so long as the punisher is present. Prevention before intervention.

    It goes back to the school infrastructure once more. What preventative measures are in place, such as Positive Behavior Support, daily class/school schedule cognizant of how teenagers physically and cognitively work best, etc, that sets the event for students to succeed? Why wait and wait until a crisis occurs and intervene, when prevention can teach the child the value of the desired behavior (moral, acceptable, appropriate, etc.) daily, minute by minute, in everything they do?

    I understand that the list is far from comprehensive, and by no means am I slamming what you put forth. I wanted to add some additional comments to a very complicated issue. I myself, used to be a teacher, in gen. ed. and special education, and seen from inside out the inner working of schools. The schools are reflections of our current world, our society. Needless to say, it’s in a dismal state. But I know quite a few professionals within the system going back to the schools, day after day, fighting for every one of those children. It’s no doubt a battle. If you only knew…

  2. Hey there,

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to this comment. I was on vacation with the family for Thanksgiving, and am now back on the ball.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write out all of your thoughts here. You apparently have a ton of experience with and insight into this matter.

    I totally agree with all of your statements here, and I understand that to get the changes I’ve written about in the article implemented, it’s going to require a tremendous amount of restructuring, money, and effort on many peoples’ parts.

    There’s nothing I admire more than seeing the few people who love their work slave away day after day to make a positive difference in the world. I had only a few teachers like that over the course of my education, but those who were impacted my life greatly. Their passion and commitment to their purpose is inspiring.

    It’s a damn shame that the schooling system is the way it currently is, and I agree, it’s a reflection of our society. The best that any one of us can do to remedy this situation is to put forth our best effort in changing the current system for the better.

    People fail to realize how important this is, but honestly, the quality of our education system strongly influences the quality of our society. Until something is done about this, our society will still be one based in mediocrity, unrealized potential, and questionable character and ethics.

    Thanks again for your comments and your commitment to making school a better place for the kids in our society.

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