Posted on 15-06-2008
Filed Under (Creativity, Examination) by gashed

Having recently had the opportunity of observing a student using a laptop for his Junior Certificate, it was again obvious the advances the integration of technology into the classroom would bring.  The student completed most exams on computer, but those that required filling in the boxes or blanks, he wrote.  It was evident that they were much more comfortable when using the computer, rather than a pen and paper.  There was much more fluency of expression and they could focus fully on the answer rather than the technique required to record it.  I have no doubt that had the Department of Education provided the exam papers in electronic form, appropriately formatted so the student could type the answers, they would have done much better in the fill in the blank exams. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 09-02-2008
Filed Under (Creativity, teaching) by gashed

Returning to the purpose of education, what does our heirarchy of subjects say about why we school in the way we do.  The compulsary subjects of maths, science and english are placed above the humanity subjects, who are in turn seen as more worthy than the arts.  Whose subjects are thought so lowly of that, even in our education system, we don’t assess them.  Their is no Junior Cert in dance and movement.

 This choice of subjects arises from the interpreted needs of the world of work.  Schooling seems to have a narrow focus on preparing students to get employed.  This extends to the students and their families pick of subjects, where choice exsists.  You could agrue that the arrangement of the control structures in schools is to replicate the world of work as well.  I always find it amazing that we can have such faith in our capacity to predict the future that we will guide our children away from areas that they enjoy, and areas where they may excel, because we know where they will get employment in a decades time.  It is ridiculous and arrogant to think that we can forecast anything about the world in 10 years time.  The only thing that we can say about the future is that the children will need to have the capacity to learn and be creative.

The heirarchy of subjects seems to arise from our traditional view of intelligence.  School sometimes seems to be a protracted process for university enterance.  We seem happy to force children along a path towards university or the virtual world of work we invisage.  We ignore the vast diversity in childrens’ intellegences, interests, skills, loves etc. and corral them along this path.  If they don’t follow they are rendered failures.  This results in a waste of human potential and, critically, a lack of diveristy.  Diversity is strength; homogeneous opinions, skills and interests are inherently weak.  Lack of diversity removes the capacity for an interaction between people from which so much creative ideas emerge.  With so many problems in the world requiring creative solutions, we seem content to ignore talents that may allow us to build a society that may solve these difficulties.   More diverse and creative people will also result in a tolerent, less dogmatic society.

Apologies for the spelling. 

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