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Hear Me Roar.

Do schools really need to change? If so, in what ways? I apolgize in advance if this blog post sounds like a soap-box, however; it feels great to type out my feelings on my own personal philosophy of the education system and our schools. To begin with, if schools didn’t need to change it would mean that everything currently happening in schools is working perfectly. Which, if you have worked in a school as a teacher, educational assistant, administrative role, caretaker, or any other role within a school recently, you know first-hand school is not working for so many students. So much of what needs to change is embedded in traditional values and beliefs of what schools look and operate like. When you compare a picture of a classroom in 1920 to the one that I grew up with in the 2000s, it is still very much the same. It seems only within the last five or ten years that classrooms have begun to move away from desks in rows to more flexible seating options and the use of multiple spaces to learn. Covid-19 has thrown a big wrench into these new changes as well too. When the societal expectations of the structure of the school day, outcomes, and assessments don’t change, it is hard to keep moving forward.

What sort of world are we preparing students for? I believe that we are preparing our students for a world that is experiencing dramatic social change. Social media, the pandemic, world events and current world conflict seem to be at an all-time high right now and our students are receiving their education in the middle of it. Teachers are no longer the sole provider of new information for our learners. Our kids are absorbing information from all sorts of media outlets and our job is no longer to teach factual information, but how to interpret information and make critical and informed choices based on evidence, and not to solely be influenced by others’ opinions. We see this being demonstrated through the media at an alarming rate right this very moment.

What sort of education or education system will be needed to adequately prepare students for the world ahead? Oh gosh. This is a loaded question. In my picture-perfect world, we provide an education system that meets students’ needs where they are and has adequate support to fill in the gaps that we often see right from the early years. It has clear, open communication and support from parents and the community because students are raised by a village, not just one single teacher. Education in the future requires multiple paths that students can follow versus the one single goal of grade 12 graduation at 17/18 years old. When we shove students through the traditional education system, a good chunk of them come out feeling inadequate, unsatisfied with themselves, and certainly not what we as educators would consider “ready for the real world”.

Is it possible to change our educational system, or is it more likely that the system will be replaced by other forms of education? Unfortunately, for our education system to see serious change, it requires a huge social shift within governmental politics, specifically in Canada, our provincial government. When you have an entire sector such as education or health care that is publically funded with taxpayer dollars, it is that much more difficult to make big leaps towards positive change. Many views and opinions that I have seen recently, more specifically in the united states, are saying that at this point the education system has to completely crumble to the ground before it can be re-build to something that is successful and actually will be sustainable for the future generations to come. I sure hope that we can make these important shifts in our system so that we can avoid the latter.


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