Education for kids
Education for kids
In my previous article, education was one of the topics I mentioned. Then I had the chance to talk to several of my friends (especially Oya Dolakay Doğu) on the subject and also received many comments from my readers through various means (such as Instagram, MSA’s info mail… etc.).
Come on, let’s dig deeper into this thing called education…
You know, if I have some experience, opinions and/or knowledge on a subject, I never hold back on brutally criticizing what I believe to be wrong.
What I’m especially careful about is to bring solutions to the subjects I criticize and to share these ideas with you. This is the most important reason why I want to write for Diken.
My area of expertise is actually vocational education (adult education), but for this once, let’s poke around the education of children and teenagers.
These are some of the outdated topics that come to my mind:
• Long hours at school, long hours of classes, unnecessary recess time and even lunch break.
• Academic methods that alienate kids from the joy of learning, concepts that hang in the air, and of course the overwhelming homework.
• Pressure of getting good grades and pleasing the teacher.
• Project works. (It’s as if the parents compete with each other, not the kids)
• The one thing that gets to me the most is to make children similar to each other. It is the easy way out.
That’s why, the notion of school does not go any further than an obligation for children.
When we attempt to teach children things like chess, coding etc. we keep them away from the precious times they would spend with their families and loved ones, from gathering around meals cooked in their kitchens, from family get togethers, we keep them away from many concepts and emotions they would learn from by actually living and experiencing them. We have raised a generation that cannot stitch, cannot cook for themselves or perhaps will not even be able to look after their own children in the future.
The reason for this incapability is because we pull them off from life, keep them at school for 10 hours a day and try to upload stuff in them for 7-8 hours a day making them sit against a blackboard or a screen. Children no longer communicate with their elders or with their peers, for that matter, and they look at the screen even when they are sitting next to each other.
Communication with their parents is out of line, they don’t know how to relax; a generation that is constantly stressed out, far from reality, with serious communication problems.
They don’t get to hear any advice or experience anything resembling a warm home life.
Here are a few tips that are easy to list, but rather a challenge to actually apply in life…
The curriculum needs urgent changes and the amount of time kids spend at school needs to be decreased.
At school they should spend their time on math, science and social sciences, and support it by literature and foreign languages. The remaining topics such as IT, music, PE, arts, chess, etc. must be optional. And these remaining subjects should not focus on the grades, students should only pursue these topics if they are really interested in them.
Taking such precautions would decrease school time, then there would be less recess, and perhaps even lunch time would become unnecessary, and as a result kids wouldn’t have to eat those unhealthy meals prepared merely considering the portion/cost ratio.
Instead of imposing a list of books to read every year, perhaps it would be better to have kids read just one book throughout the education year, together with their teacher, and try to deepen their desire to read.
Regions with less opportunities
In my opinion, the content of education in less developed regions should be slightly different. There should be more focus on farming-workshop training, agriculture classes, home economics and perhaps PE, arts, music, citizenship classes should be included in the curriculum.
We must protect our villagers; they are the guardians of our earth, our trees, our seeds. That’s why we should educate children in the villages appropriate to the needs of the region and raise awareness among them.
And, of course, we must give them the necessary foundation that would allow them to avoid exploitation, and defend their own rights. We need to give them correct and proper information regarding religion, in order to enable them protect themselves from any abuse, both physically and emotionally.
We have to understand that project work and homework are things that should be carried out at school, children getting support from their teachers.
Projects should evolve into a team work under the teacher’s leadership and it should provoke kids’ curiosity, instead of creating competition among them.
It should shape their approach towards topics they know nothing about.
Here is another very important issue…
Since I was a child, “reasoning ability” has been the one topic that we talk most about at home.
The truth is, we feel the need to protect and guide our children every moment, due to the differences between generations. But the reality is that we don’t have much idea about the years ahead and the risks they will face.
For example, think about the state of digital social media today. It is such a deep web that we, as parents, are completely ignorant of what to warn our children against.
One of the key elements we expect from education should be the development of our children’s reasoning skills.
Because of our rote-learning formations, we cannot raise our children with the ability to listen to different ideas and arguments and make a judgment using their own filters, and this is a fact.
What we actually do is, unfortunately, to create rote minds designed only to respond, instead of listening to and evaluating the ideas of people/groups who are not like us, who do not think like us and/or do not see the world like us.
Yet, one very beneficial activity at schools, I think, is the debating groups.
In order to defend an idea, it is necessary to do research on that idea and gain knowledge about the opposing ideas. If need be, the work begins weeks in advance. You would learn what it takes to stand up for an idea and, more importantly, you would learn to listen to another opinion. Right now this format is not as popular as coding in high school education. However, it is one of the best methods that support learning and research.
The easy way: making them all the same
The saddest part of creating minds alike is encountering children who are different and seeing them destruct their own self-esteem. There is no way for children to be different, to stand out, to defend a different lifestyle or a hobby. If you look at it from the opposite angle, the more similar they are, the easier it is for the manager.
It is without question, that the teaching style supporting students’ self-confidence is definitely the most valuable asset. I wish there were personal programs which consider and focus on the individual talents.
There is this practice I’ve heard about, at my colleague Mehtap’s (Alp) son’s school and I loved it. He’s coaching a friend, because his English is slightly better than his classmate’s. At first he wasn’t very comfortable with it, and said ‘I have a difficult task at hand mom’, but now it seems that he has the responsibility of increasing his classmate’s English level and while working on that Alp’s personality gradually improves, too.
Schools can also be a place for children to share what they learn with others, right? The way a child learns and what he learns may inspire another, but how?
The Swedish model in education has been discussed about for years, apparently there are a few proper practices. Why Swedish kids are happy… I think it would be great if it was at least examined and evaluated.
Also I wish someone asked children their opinions on the educational issues. Especially, of the new generation. They explain their needs so well, pointing out their reasons, too. That’s how they would valued, as they already are.
At the moment, they view the designers of this system so ‘ignorant, uninterested and hardheaded’, and for that reason they have such little respect. This might cause them not to see some innovations, even if they are good ones. It is necessary to include them in the decision making process, so that their enthusiasm will increase.
Children should have free time for themselves after a 4-5-hour education around some basic information,
Children should not face any pressure from the teachers, either for their grades or in psychological terms,
Children should not be forced to be the same as each other,
Children’s curiosity should be encouraged,
Reasoning ability should be improved,
And we should benefit from their ideas,
We should raise our children into adults who are familiar with nature, protect nature, who can stitch, cook, who are individuals with strong family bonds and national respect,
We should encourage them to be independent, to be strong individuals, not damaging their thirst and enthusiasm for life way before they step into it.
Because they are CHILDREN.