Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What are schools for? #edchat

During this week's edchat, Somebody sent me this reply

rliberni: @mbjorgensen I don't teach school, but have done and have a 10yr old I'm not always sure what's going on now & what schools are for

This is the fundamental question that needs to be addressed. More than any other issue facing education right now.

What are schools for?

Are they big babysitting factories? Are teachers there to help students pursue their own interests? Is it a mechanisms to maintain national superiority in math, science, and GDP? Are schools there to compel compliance in the dominant societal norms? Are schools agents of social change?

What are schools for? What should we be doing. Most of my professional life, I have worked on one form of that question or another. What should I teach? How should I teach it? How should I grade/evaluate/assess what I teach? Who decides what and how I teach?

This isn't a question about resources, technologies, reading skills, math skills, Science scores, or even equality.

This question. What are schools for? What is the purpose of a school? Strikes fundamentally at one key element. What experiences do we want for the people who will run the world in our old age?

Photo: flickr user Dean Terry

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