Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Cram schools

I had posted some time ago and then I stumbled on a chapter in “Element” by Ken Robinson related to educating children in school systems.  My post focused on new ways the family might adopt in order to permitting more opportunities and exposure for the child to discovering his talents, skills, passions, and constructing his own model for viewing the world.  Since schooling is a system and can be more potent than family setting in this modern busy world for enhancing a child development then, selecting varieties of schooling system models that offer environment for child mental development is most important to emulate.

The industrial age configurations and processes of passing students through the education chain of production line is transforming curriculum to static and lifeless programs:  Students are viewed as “subjects” and are not considered as the center of attention that teachers and school management have responsibilities for graduating literate and talented students.

In the last three decades, there is this dangerous trend of standardizing knowledge, information and “intelligence” to be imposed directly worldwide to all school and university system. Cram schools for passing SAT and entrance exams at universities, or even for “prestigious elementary schools” as in Japan are multibillion industries so that a few may access privileged schooling institutions.

In the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal programs that Obama resumed from Bush Junior, 70% of school districts have cut back on arts programs; teachers are pressured to cut back on teaching courses in order to focus on preparing for upcoming statewide standardized tests.  Consequently, if standard tests results are low then, failing schools are penalized:  Teachers are terminated and schools are closed to be taken over by private organization.

Schools need to be transformed so that teachers re-capture their status as the most valued assets in any social development.  Encouraging arts programs is the catalyst for opening up the creative skills and talents in students, exciting their urge for participating and learning.  For example, engaging in drama courses and the responsibly of mounting the theater with all its requirements and needed skills unleash the capability and enthusiasm of the students.  Students turn out to be more involved and excel in the other coursework of math, sciences, and writing skills.

In the Reggio Emilia school model, the program has a child-directed curriculum:  Teachers take their lessons where the student interests dictate.  Classrooms are filled with drama play areas, work tables, environments for interactions and communication.  The emphasis is on arts:  Children learn “multiple symbolic languages” such as painting, music, drama, math, experimentation… The teachers are researchers for the children, they explore their interests, and learn alongside the pupils.

Another example; in the town of Grangeton, the children run the town:  They work in the bank, the supermarket, they handle cash registers, they manage the museum, they write original film screenplay, they run the TV shows and the music of the radio station.  The key word according to director Richard Gerver is: “Experimental and contextual.  At no stage the message is of passing an exam.”  The rigorous classroom work boils down to practical applications of course materials.

Children are motivated and committed and they play the role of catalyst for families and communities to getting involved in project development.  The bottom line is that students need opportunities, exposure, and involvement in curriculum in order to discovering skills, talents, and life passions.  The transformation needs to becoming Student-Centered and the teachers highly valued in remuneration and independence as the cornerstone for successful school performance.

Note:  I consider this article as complementary to my post  since we need to improve systems that are more powerful than any individual family actions or programs.




March 2023

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