All that is Wrong with School
As a parent, are your children getting the best learning experience they could?
As a teacher, are you really happy in your job ?
This is Roy’s 14th book on What is Wrong with School and What We Can do About It.
In this book, Roy explains how children really learn through their mind, and not so through their brain. Understanding this brings a whole new concept into how we can raise them better, how we can teach them better and how they can learn better.
While children only want to be happy, fascinated and given a direction to want to learn, they live in a toxic world we little understand. Their’s is a world where their happiness too often lies in game playing, and where they struggle to avoid bullying from other children who are becoming increasingly narcissistic – through the games they play. Too few see school as the real opportunity in life it could be. Yet, teachers aware of how A.I. will take over the jobs their students think they will get, struggle to raise them with open and questioning minds, preparing them to be happier and more content citizens in a world going out of control.
What the experts say:
“Roy’s series of books clearly and methodically map out exactly how students learn. If you’ve ever wanted to unravel how student’s learn, these books are the answer you have been looking for! They should be mandatory reading for every parent and educator.”
Erin Calhoun. National Institute of Learning Development. USA
“Your observations on the way “education” is delivered, and all the things that are wrong with the current model of public education, are an eye-opener. It’s plain to me that many of your proposals are not only well-reasoned, but absolutely necessary if we are to achieve any semblance of an egalitarian society in which every child can develop to his or her full potential.”
Ms Sara Lappi. Educator. USA
“I could not imagine the existence of such a completely different perspective for education, and the way it could be offered to new generations. The book kept my attention from the first to the very last page. Highly recommended not only for teachers, but essential for all parents.”
Elias Aloupoyiannis. Attorney at Law. Ministry of Administrative Reform. Athen. Greece.
“Learning in school is not rocket science. Any child born with normal mental ability, as the very, very most are, can gain the highest marks in a class and top grades in any examination if, and only if, they keep up with the steady build up of rules upon which the information of school works.
The book you are about to read was constructed through 40 years of understanding the real purpose of school and a realization of why it must change. This Introduction will give ‘the essence’ of all you are about to read in greater detail. This greater detail is important, so please continue reading throughout the book, because it is only by understanding the details that we can know how to correct these and overcome the consequences they make.
The general topic here appears to be why children fail to gain the highest marks in their class. However, beyond this, we must consider why school does not teach its students how to think and how to reason, because it is only by their education in these that our children will have the better means to survive in the A.I. world they must move into. This is to be a world that may have far more dangers than most realise. To continue with our Introduction, then, would be to say that …..
School learning is gained through a never ending series of rules. Rules to define when to sit and when to move, to teach the child how to keep order in the class so they behave and concentrate in their lessons. Rules in mathematics to know how to transpose numbers about. Rules in grammar to know how to spell words, create sentences and to know how to construct a story so the child can compose an answer efficiently. Rules to create memory networks to recall facts to be learnt. If the child/student pays attention and learns and practices each rule they are presented with, they understand how to think when negotiating through a learning task and feel confident to apply their learning to other areas and develop critical thinking through their confidence and curiosity.
When they miss a rule, which the very, very most do, because they were distracted by some concern or more attracted to another thought or simply bored, they do not know how to move correctly through a learning task. Fearful of being laughed at for asking the teacher for help or unable to gain a satisfactory understanding from the teacher if they did ask, they guess how to proceed. Invariably, they will guess wrongly and move into a series of errors not understanding why they are wrong. The lesser mark they gain from the teacher for their effort disillusions them and they lose confidence to believe they can master the subject, which leads to disinterest then lack of effort in it.
Rules come in many forms. A very simple example would be the rule to create a question from the word “there.” The question is made by replacing “t” with “w”, to create the word “where.” However, if the child does not learn this rule ( and I did not), they can confuse usage with the past tense of are, which is “were.” So, they write “were where we?” instead of “where were we?” and lose a mark. Each mark lost, moves them further down from being the top of the class. School performance, albeit ability, is only about keeping up with the rules. It is as simple as this.
Therefore, each student in a class is evaluated on the marks they gain, which is derived from the marks they lost. Thus, the more rules the child/student missed or misunderstood, so the lower their score will be when compared to others in the class.
Overtime each student will build up a profile of their worth by the rules they have understood or missed, which will give them a standing in the class. For those who kept up with all or most of the rules, they will score the most and be top of the class. For those who missed most rules, they will be the most confused in their learning, score the least and be bottom of the class. The rest of the class will lie between these two extremes, being more or less confused by the rules they have misunderstood, not learnt and not practiced against those they did learn and became competent with. Yet, nobody explains this to students. They simply get a mark, high, low or average and don’t know why or what they could do to otherwise improve.
So, evaluation is made of how well each student progresses in their learning. How well the student is able to present the facts to be known and how well they have learnt the relevant rules to tell ‘their story’ will much be decided by the quality of language they were raised in or since developed. Their competence in language, whether this be the language used in the school for communication such as English, Chinese or Arabic and the language of mathematics, will much determine how they rate in any evaluation.
Since the classroom has a competitive atmosphere, as students strive against each other at all ages, this affects the egos and drives of students. The best student will strive to remain to be the best and put in the effort to beat any competition. The worst student will not understand what they are not doing right and will have no confidence in their teacher, their class or themselves. They will tend to disrupt the learning of the class to gain some level of acknowledgement to their presence. The students between these extremes will struggle constantly against each other seeking to obtain less red scribbles and a higher mark each time their work is appraised.
As the best in the class will be regarded to be the smartest and then the most intelligent, so the worst will be regarded as least intelligent with lack of interest. The rest of the class will be thought of as trying as much as they are able. This “as much” means their natural ability plus their effort. The distinction between ability and effort being genuinely confused by teachers just as by psychologists, since nobody truly understands what a genetic value of intelligence means. However, the term genetic competence that was openly discussed in the past is scarily mentioned today, since all children must be seen to be given equal and fair opportunity in education. Yet, this factor lingers in the back of a teacher’s mind. It is important that we never forget this……”
Last week, I was standing in a queue waiting for a bus that never seemed to come. Standing next to me was a mother, with a girl of 12 and a boy of 10. In our long wait, I began to talk and joke with the children. In the course of our talk, I asked the girl which country she would like to visit. “Portugal!” She told me. I then asked her if she knew where Portugal is. “It’s ‘inside’ Spain.” She happily replied. I then asked her if she knew what the capital of Portugal is. She struggled for a moment, and then with an air of confidence told me “Brazil.” Her brother then joined in, and said, “I know what the capital of Spain is.” The mother asked him to tell us, and the boy, standing in his football gear, quite proudly said “Real Madrid!” (Which is the name of a football team).
This raises the point of what education expects today, and also of the ability of teachers to meet this expectation. If teachers fail in this, or produce too wide a range of variation in student performance, we need to consider what the real problem is, because it is deeper than the willingness of teachers to blame other factors than themselves, the parents to blame the teacher without considering the role they play in their child’s development, and an educational system which purposely hinders the teacher in their efforts.
The last point was very well addressed by Iserbyt, who, as a former senior policy advisor to the American Office of Education Research and Improvement, recognized this failure of education to teach children in fashion with their intelligence, and so laid cause and evidence to the “deliberately” poor developed academic skills of students today in her book “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.”
It may seem difficult to understand why an educational system should desire to hinder the development of its students, unless, that is, we return to the expectations desired of the general citizen of the 19th and 20th Century, which we discussed in “The Illusion of School” …..”
Available in Paperback and Hardback