Education System: 1 Learning: 0

On Tuesday the students were working on a science notebook scavenger hunt to review for their upcoming exam.  Basically, they had to fill out a worksheet that reviewed what they had covered for this particular unit.  Something I noticed that day was rather troubling.

This worksheet was supposed to be a review.  In other words, the students shouldn’t have to scavenge for every single answer because they should know a lot of the answers already.  However, almost every student was either frantically searching for the answers, copying off their neighbor’s answers, etc. as if turning in this worksheet was all that mattered.  They struggled to answer questions like “What is the purpose of a flower?” and “Why, if an insect lays so many eggs, doesn’t it overrun its habitat.”  But most of the students were working…except for one that caught my attention.  This particular student did not have his notebook open, but he was jotting down answers to several questions.  I looked over his shoulder and noticed that not only were his answers right, but that he actually had learned the material because he did NOT need his notebook.  This student often has to be constantly reminded to work on his assignments and occasionally does get in trouble for not contributing in the labs.  It wasn’t until last Tuesday that I realized that this student is likely incredibly bored.

We’ve discussed this fault in our education system several times in our seminar, but it wasn’t as evident to me as it is today.  The class sizes are so large that a single teacher struggles to ensure that every student is appropriately challenged, while still ensuring that they are learning the material that will end up on their assessments.  If some students aren’t learning, there is nothing the teacher can do because they must go on.  This system thus creates students that learn the first time and are incredibly bored thereafter and refuse to do work, and students that are very good at filling out worksheets but don’t really learn much at all.  I could talk about how much this frustrates me and how standards are ruining and dampening any learning taking place, but right now all I really want to do is sigh…

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About Emily Beck

I am a PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Kansas and I am studying Tissue Engineering. I am interested in using nanoparticles and natural materials to create scaffolds that can assist in tissue regeneration/repair.
This entry was posted in 2011-2012 GK12, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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