grad.jpgOur society has become obsessed with getting good test scores. Standardized test scores have become the most important benchmark for accessing the quality of schools, teachers and students. Unfortunately, this has created a school culture that focuses only on tests scores. Teaching to the tests and basic standards has led to the elimination of subjects that are deemed unnecessary. Education should be about preparing students for life not just passing a test.

Reading and writing are the two most important components of a good education. Reading instruction must move beyond basic reading skills to include critical thinking and using reading as a tool for learning. My mom often said that if you can read, you can learn to do anything. Critical writing skills need to be taught as well. Writing must transcend the basics of composition to include higher forms for writings such as analysis, reviews and scholarly writing.

Critical thinking and problem solving skills are a must. As a teacher one of the things I quickly discovered is that my students did not want to think. Many of my students wanted to be simply spoon fed the answers rather than discover them. As a computer teacher problem solving was vital part of my classes. I tried to teach my students how to find solutions for problems. It is exciting to see the look on a student’s face after tackling a challenging problem.

A well rounded education should include humanities and classical studies. Art, drama, music, and other electives are often the first classes dropped from public schools. In an educational system that is obsessed with test scores art and music are often considered non-essential. Classes like art and music enrich lives and encourage creative. While I may rarely use some of the things I learned in Algebra I frequently use the skills I learned in music and art classes.

Computer proficiency is necessary for survival in today’s society. I taught computer in private schools for many years. Our accrediting agency stressed the importance of teaching computer skills beginning in kindergarten. I developed a program for teaching MS Office, basic computer skills and keyboarding beginning in kindergarten. I was amazed at how quickly and early my students learned to use a word processor, spreadsheet and basic computer care.

Education is or at least should be about imparting knowledge and creating a love for learning not passing a test. A well-rounded education surpasses minimal competencies and strives for excellence.

5 thoughts on “A Well Rounded Education?

  1. D’Ann, where were you when I was in school? I read most of your postings, and I could not agree more. Reading is, in my opinion, the most important item taught in our schools, and to have students promoted to another grade to be with their “peers” is just a slap in the face to parents that care, and to the student. I had a son that had much trouble reading. We paid the teacher to help him after hours for six months, then had him fail her class (reading) but was promoted anyway.
    Much later, he attended seminary, his wife had to read his assignments to him in order for him to stay up with his class, but he has learned to read and comprehend. Hang in there girl. Proud of you !

    Bill

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    1. Thanks for the HT but you totally missed the point of my blog post. Have you ever actaully taught a classroom of 20+ middle schoolers or has your teaching experience been limited to tutoring in small groups?

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