‘In Education’ is a new weekly column, starting today, with a rotation of writers, students and an administrator, examining issues relevant in schools today.
Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a cross-district leadership conference in Langley. The discussion topic was on student education. As this was mainly a student-led forum, many fellow students and I found that we share the same views and issues.
One prominent notion that was unanimously agreed upon was that the current educational system is flawed.
The idea was that with its rigid present-day structure, the system lacked flexibility. Students who want an education personalized for their needs have a difficult time obtaining it; the system doesn’t always foster passion and this creates a lack of purpose for some.
While a portion of students have thrived under the current framework, many others have not. This can partially be attributed to educational programs having failed to accommodate students who do not conform to the expectations of an outdated system. It is pivotal to note that not all perceive the world in the same manner. Consequently, not all think and learn in the same way.
It seems wrong to me for people to lay blame on a student for his or her inability to succeed in a system not meant for his or her benefit. To the contrary, it would be better to embrace the individualism of students so as to promote a more wholesome community.
It is like what Einstein said: “ Everybody’s a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
That said, I do not believe the system to be tantamount to failure. It simply needs to be tweaked to fit the needs of a newer era. Not everyone is talented in mathematics, art, or physical activity. As a result, teaching methods ought to be altered to help adapt to students’ learning methods.
A popular concept already implemented by some schools is the “flipped classroom model.”
In regular classes, students often sit at desks taking notes as the instructor presents the learning material. However, as not all students have the same needs and comprehension ability. One student may completely understand the lecture, while another may not. So as students return home to complete their assignments, there may be disparity among students’ knowledge and capabilities.
In the flipped classroom model, students watch videos at home ahead of time on the learning material. They are able to work at their own pace, pausing and repeating sections or just speeding through.
In class, teachers can wander around providing fast-paced learners with extra work, while helping out slower-paced ones with questions they may have.
This model is one of many new methods that leverages technology in a way that optimizes the time of both teachers and students.
Later into the conference, we outlined the importance of the three Ps to a more meaningful educational system: purpose, passion, and personalization.
Purpose, for me, and nearly everyone at the conference, is the usefulness of the subjects we take. What do I gain from it? Will I use this in the future, and if so, how? For example, students often prefer courses with real life applications, such as doing taxes, maintaining good credit, and managing finances. Having a meaningful education is crucial to preparing for our future and knowing the purpose of what we learn can influence our passion for learning.
When I left that day, one phrase resonated within me above all else: “Success or failure is caused more by your mental attitude than your mental aptitude.”
This statement implies that a passionate student is one with limitless potential. From my experience, I’ve seen countless individuals with a strong passion for learning, yet I’ve also seen others without. This is only indicative of the fact that no one has yet to kindle their educational motivations, and I believe that in a renewed system, teachers should be the ones to touch the hearts of all their students.
Personalization of education allows students to fit their education according to their needs and interests. Again, no two people are the same and neither should be their education.
At this point, I argue that students ought to be able to choose for themselves what they want to learn, and it is part of the responsibility of the community to allow students to explore their own talents and abilities.
In this day, I believe people must acknowledge the fact that society has become an exceedingly diverse place; not merely among ethnic groups, but among thinkers, as well.
A nation’s progress can only be made by its citizens, and everyone’s prowess ultimately stems back to their education. Hence, the educational system must become more flexible in order to accommodate the mold of more than one type of student and in doing so establish a more sophisticated community upon which to build a better Canada.
– David Wang is student at Garibaldi secondary.