Please forgive my silence. My computer was stolen about a week ago and I have not seen it since.
I took home a laptop for work today. My main purpose was to use it to finish my grad-school application but I decided to put it to better use and write a little something here.
I work in a non-profit organization for teenagers. That much must be abundantly clear due to the subject matter of most of my posts.
I had a training a few weeks ago. The trainer/coach smiled alot. She represented a well known organization that works with non-profits in the educational field to improve their success.
She spoke uselessness.
aka- she used phrases that don't mean anything. For example, she looked at me and my co-workers and said, "you are giving the tools these children need to pursue their dreams and shine among others." smile smile smile.
I was so grateful I had a cavity filling a half an hour before her motivating speech. Half of my face was numb and without the ability to show expression. The lack of enthusiasm may have disappointed her, but it allowed me to facially express exactly what I was thinking.
She told us that we needed to give the children more leadership in what they learn. They must make the decisions. They must tell us what they want to know. smile smile.
But... what if they are looking at us and asking us what they need to know? Are we supposed to shrug and say, "well, I've been instructed to listen to you."
The trainer's reasoning behind giving students more leadership in their education was due to the drastic decline in American academics/success compared to India, China, etc. (India has more children in the Talented And Gifted program than America has children.) The trainer was adamant that Americans must raise their standards and become strong competitors with other nations.
When I studied in France I took a test. I received a 13/20. A French student congratulated me and told me I received a good score.
That experience in the French education system leads me to this question: what if our education system/model breeds erroneous entitlement rather than humility and an understanding that we don't know it all? Teenagers don't know what they need to know or could know, nor do educators have the ability to quantify knowledge in neatly compacted percentages. We inflate A's like we do our national ego and utopic expressions.
Other nations with increasing economic value expect children to speak when asked to respond, respect the actions and intentions of their elders, and study study study. Their job is not to lead, but to learn.
I am a mere observer, but it seems as if Americans need to decide if they want to focus on their children's ability to feel important or if they want them to be future competitors in the world's economy.
They way it's structured now they can't have both.