“…Waiting for Superman”, the movie, is best served by turning each of our students into the man of steel, by giving them the tools espoused in, On Building Better Students – the Critical Success Factors for Learning. Hooray, there are transformational tools, but we have somehow gotten out of control, and fixated on repairing the system.
We have known forever that there are bad teachers – we had them when we went to school too. They will not be reading new books on this subject. Along with other maladies bad teachers do not seek to improve their craft.
WHAT ABOUT THE STUDENT? WE NEED TO REPAIR THE STUDENT!
Why are we leaving students out of the equation? Here are the symptoms of a bad education:
- Bad test scores
- Bad attitude
- Bad participation
- Bad homework assignments
- Bad abilities to duplicate materials
- Bad reading skills
- Bad test results
- Bad report cards
- Bad, bad, bad (I have left many off this list)
Many students today give every appearance of lazy, not committed, and totally irresponsible. Why is it that way? The Department of Education has spent decades blaming television, gaming, bad parents and substance abuse.
Okay, perhaps partially, but what if, in a large measure, these are just symptoms of the hopelessness we all feel on seeing our children not getting better, and instead getting worse at school? What if the apathy is so great that PhD’s write books that say the students are bad and the schools are good? What if students are feeling that same hopelessness? True apathy, if not treated, is a mental illness.
When something goes wrong, we look for answers – that’s part of those critical thinking skills. Just because you know students did you think your answers were always right on what is wrong with them? Are we capable of pulling data from other sources to expand our critical thinking skills, and perhaps have some better ideas?
We have clues from test scores over the last thirty years that we need a Renaissance in teaching methods? Have we ever had the thought that perhaps the problems we face today may have begun when our present day teachers were students themselves? Look, I know it is difficult to judge oneself – but could you have had some bad teachers when you were learning how to teach?
Why have we taken such great care to download the latest edition of Microsoft Windows, but we have not downloaded the latest edition of how to help our student(s)? Are we just in this to make students, parents and society wrong, in order to make ourselves right? There is no solution in that.
Do you remember the movie Matrix? The part where the hero and heroine are running on a rooftop toward a helicopter, and he says, do you know how to fly that? She says, not yet, as she makes a call to her operational control person, and he downloads all the data so that she can now fly it – in mere seconds. We need to get over this concept a little. The road to better schools and better students is going to be paved with hard work and methods of teaching a student how to think – it is not going to happen in seconds.
There are actual steps the student needs to know (right now), and all the cognitive psychology in the world will not supplant it – Nor will excellent teaching skills and great schools. Our best students, sadly, still do not measure up on the world scale.