Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Failing our kids

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential...these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence - Eddie Robinson

Am I the only parent who is constantly frustrated by the education system?

I have a 15 year old MM (mere male) who is not doing well at school, not through lack of intelligence but through sheer boredom. He's a hands-on kid, who wants to be building things, fixing things, creating things. Written handouts and essays bore him silly and they fail miserably to garner his enthusiam for the learning process. Sadly he is not alone amongst teenagers, if what my friends tell me is anything to go on.

Don't get me wrong - maths and english are crucial subjects, but why aren't we catering for those kids who aren't necessarily academically minded by teaching them how to survive in the real world and giving them real life skills. Basing maths on budgeting and managing their money, understanding how maths links to investment and taxation. These are real life correlations that kids can understand. I can honestly say that in the twenty five years since I left school that I have never once used pythagoras' theorem or logorithms and I know that I never will.

Why aren't we teaching our kids how to fill in forms, read newspapers, explore current events and communicate effectively. I am an avid reader and I love writing, but lets teach our kids how what they are learning links to adult life. Lets give them relevant skills. English is my passion, but I can honestly say that discussing Shakesperean plays is not a critical part of my everyday adult life.

Having said all this, I don't envy the role of teachers. I truly believe teachers have one of the most difficult jobs in the world. But why isn't the education system supporting them and giving them the ability to teach our children the things that they can carry into real life. Surely if children could understand the relevance of what they're learning and how it links to life, they would engage in the learning process and then behaviour and truancy problems would be lessened.

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