Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Stop the glorification of "busy"

Stop the glorification of busy- 

In German school I have gathered an immeasurable amount of knowledge. The most profound being, that "busy" is not always good and "busy" doesn't always mean engaged.

These 9 and 10 year olds are close to becoming fluent in two languages, but when they get in high school some will become fluent in three.

The students start class at 8:00 a.m. and get out at 12:40 p.m. Some stay until 1:40 p.m. for tutoring.

They have a 5 minute break between period 1 and 2 they have a 15 minute break between period 3 and 4 and another 5 minute break at the end of period 4. They go home after 5 periods.

Stop the glorification of busy

In American school we go to school from 7:55 until 2:45 with a 25 minute lunch break and a 15 minute recess.

The student walk in straight lines. The student sit in desks for hours. The students have the same subjects every single day.

Our students go home and some have extra curricular activities

 Stop the glorification of busy

"How does this compare with other countries? In 2008, the U.S. high school graduation rate was lower than the rates of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Finland and Denmark. That same year, the U.S. was the only developed nation where a higher percent of 55- to 64-year-olds than 25- to 34-year-olds had graduated from high school." -  cnn blog (
The US has a 76% graduation rate and Germany has an 84%- 
Being in Germany has completely changed my views on students being engaged. The "fair" treatment of students, in regards to their educational needs, is NOT the same for every student so why should one set of standards for one type of school be sufficient for each individual student? It shouldn't. 
Keeping students busy with content is not teaching them. Letting them actively apply the knowledge is teaching them. 
If a student wants to be a baker, why should they take geometry? They shouldn't. Algebra- sure they'll use that, but geometry? They'd benefit more from a math class on metric and standard conversions. By FORCING students to take classes they do not need to simply "keep them busy" hinders them from being the best that they can be. 
A well rounded pupil- definition- a student who masters all content areas and participates in extra curricular activities. 
A well rounded pupil- MY defintion- a global citizen- someone who can be dropped off in another country and flourish- a student who applies what he or she needs to retain in order to achieve their goals. 
In the US the 7 healthy habits are being taught in many schools. Number two: begin with the end in mind. How can we preach this to students when in the classroom I have to cloud their vision of being a machinist with Ernest Hemmingway? In the end poetry is not a vital building block in the education of a child who wants to be a machinist.  

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