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Thread: What Should School Really Be?

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Saw this question someplace and actually got a pretty good ramble out of it, so... what do you guys think (those of you who are no longer in school are free to answer as well)? What should school really be?
Here's the beginning of what I thought... the rest is in my journal under the same title as the thread.

School should really be…
A place where I can learn what I want to learn- as much of it as I want, as fast as I want.
A place set in the countryside where you get the chance to ramble in the woods and be taught nature firsthand, with the opportunity for the artistic to paint it. For exercise there would be long runs up the hills, and the chance for cannooing in the rivers and lakes. Classrooms would be airy and light, lessons made to be fun, but discipline strict.

Maybe all lessons before 10am could be conducted from bed (that was my greatest wish when I was at school).
Sounds like you want school to be what you want it to be, not what it should be. Yes, learning is good and learning what you need to know is good and what you want to know. But how do you know if you need to know it or just want to know it?

There is more to learning than learning what you want. To exist in society as a valued member and to contribute to that society you need to learn how to co-exist, how to work as a team, when to work alone and when to share. You need skills that are taught as part of physics or literature or language or art or physical education and you need those skills in so many parts of your life and in parts of your life that you have no idea need those skills.

If you want to draw anime or manga or whatever it helps to have a basic knowledge of physiology and biology. If you want to design computer games you need more than just a love of computer games - you needs maths, you need logic, you need technology and design and art and biology for movement and interacton... it goes on and on.

Don't look at a subject and say you shouldn't have to learn that because you will never use it. You never know when you will use it, not as a whole subject but as part of a bigger thing. Grammar is useful to know how language works so you can write something people will be able to read. It is also useful for communicating. A uniform language promotes communication.

Maths, I hate maths, but it is useful for checkout girls and nuclear physicists.

However, the way things are taught is another matter. And a difficult one since so many people respond differently to different methods. Teachers should be able to teach not just be knowledeable about their subject(s). Pupils should listen and discuss and not disrupt. Teachers should listen as well.

One of my pet hates is that so often pupils are taught at the base level rather than trying to bring everyone up to a higher level.

Most kids hate school. Sometimes though, even those kids who hate it realise that they need it. Make the most of whatever is being taught. Absorb it, treasure it, store it. You may need it one day. The more variety the better your options.
That was my sensible answer.

My not so sensible answer is that school should be something that makes the spirit soar and the mind expand. It should encourage and inspire.

Unfortunately it is often somewhere that people spend their days doing something they don't enjoy. That is sad.
School should be a place where one learns: how to study; how to problem solve; how to interact with nature and the rest of mankind. And of course this involves learning the necessary skills to do the preceeding, while maintaining a cheerful and humorous outlook on life, the universe, and everything. Teacher Smilie
Hmm... looking at my journal, there was a lot missing that I thought I wrote... I guess what I really meant for most of what I wrote is what school should be for me. I mean, that everyone should learn what they want to learn... And that that should be the main focus way before college. Even if you don't know exactly what you want to be yet in middle and high school, you know what you like and what you want to learn more about. Yeah, there would still be math, and the things that you need to know, but tons of algebra problems would not be pressed upon people who don't need a ton of algebra. At least, not the ones that understand the concept after one problem and memorize it after five (just because I don't like math doesn't mean I don't understand it...). But the people who are going into the math field and really need to have it ingrained their heads would probably get a bit more... Of course, some of the things I said were general, too... I think. Like I said, I'm a bit confused about what's there and what's not. I want to be a writer, so I put mostly writing and language stuff, or at least prioritized it. The other arts come later because I don't think I'm as good at them, and don't enjoy them as much- and I doubt I'll make a career of them. I'll try and getting around to editing that journal- probably put some more general stuff in between the beginning and what I specifically want to learn. The original thing was a "free-write" (or as close to a free-write as I get- I cannot leave incorrect spelling/grammar or not have punctuation for the life of me), so I probably thought faster than I typed and skipped some of my thoughts. Sorry, Vee... and I do agree with you, mostly.
I agree with you eva but i would rather have courses that worked more with more exotic marine and land animals and medicine than english considering writing is my weak point. :P
I have had this discussion with many of the guys in my fiancee's course. We think that instead of being forced to take certain classes, you should be given a short test to see which level of that subject you are at, and whether it is necessary or not for you to take that class. Especially college English classes. We learned all that we need to know (unless we're going to be an English major) in high school, and it's literally just the teachers teaching the ones who are from other countries, or didn't do well in high school English how to do what we learned in gr.9. (That was a really long run-on sentence btw!) They still force us to take the course, even if we did extremely well in high school, in more difficult classes....that's my frustrations....and now it's gone...thank you for creating this post...*Lemaly's frustration subsides, and she gazes out the window to see the sun shining...* I'M GOING OUTSIDE TO ROLL IN THE GRASS!! Smile Smilie
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what should school really be?

closed?

ok, now a sensible answer (I actually like school very much...): I think schools should be very light and friendly buildings, the eye is the first one to be impressed. pupils should be able to choose subjects they like, together with some compulsory subjects, and the classes should be a lot smaller than they are now. lessons in small groups make it easier and more interesting for the individual members. the lessons should take place outside the building as often as the weather is suited for that. and instead of f.e. four years of higher grade they could make five or six years out of it. the material is far too much for this short time, the teachers have to hurry, the pupils don't understand it and they forget it as soon as the repetition or exam is over. that's not quite sensible. and life is long enough to spend two more years at school. many students have to do so anyway because they have to repeat a class, but I guess less students would fail if they hadn't got that much material to learn but smaller amounts of it well explained so everyone understands it. they might even keep more of that stuff in mind.
and teachers shouldn't be influenced by their personal opinion of pupils. that's the worst thing to do as a teacher. I mean I can imagine it's not easy to treat everyone equally, but you should at least make an attempt to do so or try to hide whom you like more or less than others.
Ya, I totally agree. I Teacher's shouldn't be biased towards their students. When I was in elementary school, there was a girl who was half native, and the teachers failed her and her brother for no reason. Most of the time, I would get my mom to look over her work to see what she was doing wrong, and it was very similar to mine, but I was getting A's. Eventually, they left, and I've never talked to them again.
Na-na-na-na-na Smilie
When I was younger I didn't have many friends, and the kids used to make fun of me, and the teachers would see this, and they never once did anything to stop them. It was horrible. I was still doing well in class, but outside of class, I was failing. It's now very hard for me to have friends and still do well in school because I don't know how to balance it. So I'll either start getting angry with my friends and start doing well in school, or start doing poor in school and be nice to my friends. It's all very hard and confusing for me...oh well...It's almost over! Juggling Smilie
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When I was younger I didn't have many friends, and the kids used to make fun of me, and the teachers would see this, and they never once did anything to stop them. It was horrible. When I was younger I didn't have many friends, and the kids used to make fun of me, and the teachers would see this, and they never once did anything to stop them. It was horrible. I was still doing well in class, but outside of class, I was failing. It's now very hard for me to have friends and still do well in school because I don't know how to balance it. So I'll either start getting angry with my friends and start doing well in school, or start doing poor in school and be nice to my friends. It's all very hard and confusing for me...oh well...It's almost over!

Oh, don't worry about that now. After all, it turned out well for Hermione in the end !
I know this is going to sound really dumb...but who is Hermione? I'm pretty sure I've heard that name before...but I don't know for sure...if you could ellaborate for me, that would be great! Smile Smilie
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but who is Hermione? I'm pretty sure I've heard that name before...but I don't know for sure..
Hermione Grainger is the leading lady of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. She is the brainy bookworm, who along with Harry Potter and Ronald Weesley, make up the terrific trio of student mages that combat the dastardly forces of evil at Hogworts School and England as a whole.
Oh, thanks Grondy. I've been meaning to read Harry Potter...but I just have no time. Thanks for that tho...Smile Smilie
school of course should be a place where we are tought the value of everyday things (such as the following) Tea Drinking, writeing, a common love for gods creation the Earth. The stillness of the forest and of course if i had things my way the use of a sword. Of course you know ive nver been one to conform to societys rules. Math has its place in moderation. If you want to learn it then learn it if not then drop it. I hate the idea that im supposed to learn math because it will benifit my society. give me my mountain and my cabin and let me write my damn book.
I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with what has already been written about school and how it could be improved. One element that I would add to the list of suggestions, is the addition of community service work to the general curriculum. Students could schedule a time to leave the school setting to volunteer their time at a local hospital, charity, or perhaps tutor younger students. This would give the student a chance to change their daily routine a bit, give some of their self to others while learning the intrinsic joys of helping others, and lighten the load for whatever cause they choose to help. Learning to become an active, giving member of society is just as important as most formal studies and should be equally encouraged by the schools.
Lemaly Orangeflower stated:
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I have had this discussion with many of the guys in my fiancee's course. We think that instead of being forced to take certain classes, you should be given a short test to see which level of that subject you are at, and whether it is necessary or not for you to take that class. Especially college English classes. We learned all that we need to know (unless we're going to be an English major) in high school, and it's literally just the teachers teaching the ones who are from other countries, or didn't do well in high school English how to do what we learned in gr.9. (That was a really long run-on sentence btw!) They still force us to take the course, even if we did extremely well in high school, in more difficult classes....that's my frustrations....and now it's gone...thank you for creating this post...*Lemaly's frustration subsides, and she gazes out the window to see the sun shining...* I'M GOING OUTSIDE TO ROLL IN THE GRASS!!


I actually took a test called a “CLEP” test that allowed me to test out of college math. I took three AP tests and one CLEP test and was ahead by a semester in college…so it is possible. Of course, the AP tests require actually taking the classes in high school, but the CLEP test is simply a test that one takes to test out of subjects, so everyone should look into it if he/she is interested.

English classes are important for everything we do everyday…I would argue even more so than math. We need English to communicate with one another, especially in the workforce. Writing clear, precise emails is essential in the business world today.
I'm not sure why this thread started, or what is has to do with Tolkien, but as a teacher I would be remiss if I didn't say something.

I should first clarify. I am an old-fashioned, liberal arts-oriented English teacher in high school in Kansas, USA. It has been the curse of education in the US and I'm sure elsewhere, especially over the last 50 or 60 years, but even longer in some places, that students in grade school and high school have been allowed to pick and choose their courses, leaving aside those things they don't like or think they won't need for a job. This is a tragic mistake. A child, even a high school student, is not in a position to know what it is in the courses which will adequately prepare his mind and character for life. Preparation for life and formation of character--these are the permanent ends of education that cannot be overlooked. Taking courses that agree with one's tastes or which might lead into a job that pays well is completely secondary.

It was always understood in schools previous--say--to the 1960's, that specialization should wait until college. Everything in the liberal arts curriculum is there for the purpose of rounding the character and the mental faculties of the student. A few examples: Geometry (at least the old Euclidean proofs) teaches how to think logically. Algebra teaches how to think quickly. Grammar (even moreso Latin grammar) teaches how to think precisely. Each of the branches of the liberal arts tree is necessary to the healthy formation of the mind.

The experimentation from the '60's onwards left gaps in the education of many children. Courses that used to be taught in high school now have to be taught in college as 101 courses, especially English. Perhaps someone might remember the book "Why Johnny Can't Read"? This was written to point out the deficiencies in public education which led to the mass graduation of ignorant young adults who had had their rightful education stolen from them. I still hear reports back from our graduates (I teach in an old-fashioned Catholic school that uses the liberal arts) that they were able to get a position in such-and-such a field because the competition didn't even know how to fill out an application for the job! Other alumni tell me that they have gone on to universities where they know more than the class, and not just in entry-level courses. Kindly keep in mind that we in our academy do not teach advanced courses at all--we don't have the budget for it! So even though many school have awakened to the problems and tried to address them, there is still a long way to go.
The whole problem with school is that with new technology all the kids need to learn how to work it and all the older things so they are doing more and more in the same amount of time and they are asking more of us. I know i shouldnt be saying this considering one of my electives next year is chemistry, (my choice) but I really dont understand why. I understand where your coming from gandalf, but being in the advanced classes, which are college level courses with only one giving credit and eing only 14 going on 15 and so i dont know why we need to know so much. But this doesnt mean i will slack off in high school and college but i dont know why we need to know so much.