The Static Method of Education | Leopold Van Den Daele | TEDxCardinalNewmanHS

The Static Method of Education | Leopold Van Den Daele | TEDxCardinalNewmanHS


Translator: Sarah Lu
Reviewer: Mirjana Čutura That’s the freshman in me. I’ve been through a total
of seven different schools, each very different from the next: project-based, French immersion. And my experience at all of these
has led to me realizing that the traditional method,
or as it’s known, the formal method, is really not the right way
to educate children. For those of you that don’t know what the so-called
“traditional” method entails, it’s the method of educating children
by means of lecture followed by a subsequent exam. Sure, there might be
a class discussion in between or maybe even a lab, if you’re lucky. But really, it’s just lecture
followed by exam. I often found myself dazing off
during some lectures and thinking to myself, Is this really how I want
to spend my education? Is this really how I want to spend
my childhood, for that matter? Like, I mean, how many of you
fall asleep in class sometimes? Exactly. Quite a lot. And is it because you’re bored? Is it because you’re tired? Probably a combination of both. And the issue with our current method is that kids who struggle in school
can barely catch up. I mean, the statistics prove a lot
about how we’re doing. In 2012 alone, 52% of kids taking the ACT
were considered unprepared for college. That’s more than half
of college-bound high schoolers considered unprepared. So, it begs me to ask the question: Are we really educating
our students the right way or kids, if you are parents? Think about it. You make them sit in nice, straight rows,
all facing towards a common emplacement, tell them what to think eight hours a day and make them compete to get a letter which supposedly will end up
defining their future. Are we really educating
our kids the right way? The U.S. ranks 17th
internationally in education, and yet we pride ourselves
to be the best in everything else: good food – well, okay, that’s debatable – good wine, and yet mediocre education. Are we really educating
our kids the right way? And look at our classrooms too. They haven’t changed in 100 years –
more like 150 years. And they’re still based
around the notion of industrialization and educating the common worker
for work in the factory. Which is why there’s ringing bells
to explain when things are changing and why the education system can be
compared to a well-tuned factory line: the raw materials go in,
and the finished product comes out. It’s also why kids
are educated in batches. Why isn’t it that we
can’t get over the notion that the most important thing
about kids is not their age. I often found that I was ridiculed
for being a freshman. “No, you don’t know that.
You’re just a freshman.” I mean, I’m sure all of you
have experienced this too. So, it got me thinking: what is the most efficacious way
of educating our kids, students, you and me? There’s the idea of making
public schools compete in the sense that you can turn them
into our universities. We have some of the best
universities in the world because they compete for your business. So, if we’re able
to give vouchers to families and allow them to allocate
them appropriately, then perhaps we could make our public
school system a bit more professional. But then again, that’s just
a short-term change, and that doesn’t assure that the school
system will change for good. We can learn a lot
from the Finnish education system, which is the best in the world. And they completely stray away
from institutional standards in the sense that they’re based
around the notion of less is more. A typical day of a Finnish student
looks something like this: you walk into class – a bowl of Finnish muesli in hand,
an apricot in the other – maybe at ten in the morning
and sit down until two and do collaborative group work all day – the teacher just being a medium
of keeping you on task. And another thing that they do
is there’s no homework. I think that’s a major thing. I mean, I know a lot of you are burdened
with homework every single day. Because once you assign homework, school suddenly becomes a burden,
a job, a task you have to do. It kills the love in learning that is in us when we’re young
and extinguished. Anyways, the two main ideas which we can draw
from the Finnish school system, of many, are the ideas of mastery learning
and individualization. Mastery learning is the conception
of learning a subject at a much deeper level,
fully understanding a subject instead of just learning it
to pass the exam and forgetting it by the next semester. If we were able to educate kids
by mastery learning, then perhaps they’d remember
things into adulthood, into later life. Individualization is tailoring education
to each kid’s needs. Right now, if that’s done,
it’s called an IEP, and it’s for kids
with different learning styles. But in actuality, every kid needs an IEP, every kid needs their own
individualized education plan because this would allow
for a refinement of creativity. And, I mean, if you don’t feel
like math, why do math, right, if it’s not going to affect
you in the future? So, let’s look to the future
and learn from the past. Albert Einstein once said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten
everything he learned in school. It is a miracle that curiosity
survives formal education.” It’s a powerful quote. Take it in. Thank you. (Applause)

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