The classroom has looked nearly the same for the entirety of America’s history. The same desks lined up, with a blackboard in the front of a room with a teacher there to lecture. But there are glaring flaws in the methods used to teach youth.
This is reflected in America’s standing amongst fellow developed countries. According to PewResearch.com, among 71 countries, the U.S. ranks 38th in math and 24th in science. This is unimpressive compared to other developed countries that are in the top percentiles.
The problems are obvious. The way teachers teach kids is outdated. To begin, class sizes are much too large. There are upwards of 40 students in a classroom. Even with a conservative amount of 30 students, the ratio of time spent on individuals is low and ineffective.
This lecture-based tradition permeating many subjects and classrooms takes no account of what type of learner a student is. Auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learners accept their labels without question. This rhetoric is too often heard, making people believe that they have to fall into one category or another. In reality, students all learn in much the same way—a combination of all three.
The main problem, however, is the fundamental way Americans think about schooling.
Pedagogy is the practice of teaching skills in order for individuals to become a part of a functioning society. It is education with a specific goal. Teachers must assess students with common standards to see if students are achieving what they are supposed to.
Education is more open ended. Learning, skills, and knowledge must be acquired but there is no standard. Because education is concentrated in instilling specific qualities, teachers in the classroom have less control over what and how they teach the material.
Self-learning takes the teacher and society out of the picture. It more accurately represents what education should be.
With the advent of the internet, anything a person could learn in a classroom can easily be learned online through proper research. This can encourage students to be more engaged as they learn exactly what they want rather than what is required. They can go at their own pace. This can also help with a student’s self-confidence and help them steer away from the idea that if they are not born being good at something, they never will be good.
These principles must be applied to the current educational system. A good way to start is to flip the classroom. Instead of teaching the material in the classroom and giving the assignment for the students to struggle through on their own, allow the student to learn the subject on their own and then help them understand with practice while in class.
Schools must do away with these standardized tests. There are different ways for a student to demonstrate understanding and knowledge than a test meant to fit every individual.
Education has become distorted, and schools have done nothing to remedy that. Flipping the classroom is a great step to a successful educational system.