Sunday, November 28, 2010

What should students learn?

Stephen Downes wrote a striking article about "what you need to learn in order to be successful". He lists and describes in some detail ten educational goals. I'll briefly mention them here. You should definitely read the original with all the discussion of these points.

1. How to predict consequences…
2. How to read to understand...
3. How to distinguish truth from fiction
4. How to empathize
5. How to be creative
6. How to communicate clearly
7. How to Learn
8. How to stay healthy
9. How to value yourself
10. How to live meaningfully

I'd say that there are two flaws in this nice article that jumped out at me. One is that the lead to the article is a little irrelevant, it's a reaction to A Guy Kawasaki article about what people should learn in school Steve correctly (in my opnion) points out that Guy is a corporate toady (and an energeticall self-promoting uncreative one at that) but uses him to introduce a very thoughtful piece which I think demeans that article. He does find common ground with Guy that schools don't teach you what you need to succeed which I find to be sort of pile-on school-bashing.  The other flaw in the article is that it seems to assume that teachers are responsible for students education.  What a nice paternalistic view of things that students just have to go to school to be trained by teachers.

It certainly doesn't work that way in my world. I preach that the center of education is the student and the parents. The parents take responsibility for thinking through the list of what kids should learn. And students too should think about this early-on and often.

BTW, I learned about this article on what kids should learn from the Online Homeschool Blog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Homeschooling - A thought....

I heard, second hand, of a lady who had trouble getting her kids to go to school. She was pretty lazy. She thought it would be easier to homeschool them than to yell at them every morning and try and get them to go to school.

So she did. She kept at her job. She was a single mom and had to work. She did a little paperwork and bought the kids used textbooks.  She would call from work to make sure that her kids were up and studying. Often they were. Often they weren't. She wasn't that involved and her kids were free to do what they wanted.

Is this an OK situation? Note that one of the kids was 15 and so it was technically legal for the kids to be alone in the house all day.