Education Post Corona

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Education Post Corona

We have seen massive disruptions to education in the era of cornoavirus. Schools in many parts of the country have been closed, and are likely to remain closed even longer. That is going to disrupt not only this round of education, but what happens next time a crisis like this happens?

To understand where we go, we have to understand where we came from. Our educational system arose from the Industrial Revolution, to essentially train children to be good factory workers as adults. The reason they have large amounts of time off in the summer time is because at the time, large majorities of the population were in rural areas and these children were needed to work on the farm. Now most of the population is urban and our industrial economy is changing.

This model was a top-down method, where the teacher's role is to instruct the children and provide information. Piaget contended that children instead learned best when they constructed their own knowledge, and Vygotsky contended that children learn best when experienced members of their culture help them to learn tasks that are culturally relevant. Contrast that with what goes on in schools today. High school students constantly grumble and wonder, "when are we ever going to use this stuff?" The honest answer in 90% of the cases is, you're not. This model also suggests that there is a firm separation between what goes on in "school" and "not school." So as we respond to changes, what does this mean? How do educators assist young people in taking charge of their own learning and making relevant contributions to society?

We will need many innovative ideas. And no, forcing all education into an online format where children fry their eyes watching their teacher on a TV screen and exacerbating the problem of digital addiction in this society does not count. What will these innovative ideas look like?


Here's one viewpoint from Britain:


We cannot continue to have a system that has nearly 3,000 children with special educational needs and disabilities lacking a permanent school place. We cannot continue to have an exam system that leaves a third of pupils labelled as failures.

The use of education as an ideological and political football that fails the most vulnerable must end. We cannot continue with a toxic exam system that is based on rote learning and an out-of-date curriculum chosen by whoever happens to be the education secretary, and an exam system that has been responsible for a dramatic rise in child and adolescent mental health illness.

We have got to stop the testing hamster wheel that burns out children. We cannot continue to allow 16-year-olds to sit 33 hours of GCSE exams, when education and training continues to age 18 and beyond.

We must end the fixation with A-levels as the “gold standard”, just because they’ve been around a long time. Our education system must recognise the achievements of all and must not continue to label those who take a vocational education route as less worthy or less valuable, or their qualifications less rigorous.

We must end the education “market” and the game playing, end the practice of schools competing against each other for pupils, results and league table places.