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One Classroom at a Time!

April 7, 2009

This blog primarily focuses on teaching with technology, however, I feel the university issue from my previous post deserves more attention.

First of all, I want to make it very clear that I fully believe going to university is not the perfect option for many young people.  The problem is the lack of viable alternatives being provided to them at the secondary level.  This, in turn, results in an excessive number of students entering university simply as a next step; an academic kind of place to go.  I’m not sure if this is solely a North American phenomenon or whether the same thing goes on in other parts of the world.

Most of the educators at the forefront of using ICT in education will point out that the universities are not providing an up to date learning environment for today’s student.  Some will take it a step further and argue that students do not need a university education in this day and age to be successful.  I am not going to disagree with either argument, however, the fact of the matter is that for most of my students university is a path they are going to have to take to become part of mainstream Canadian society. Many are simply not entrepreneurial enough to forge out on their own and learn for the sake of learning.

That being said, the question becomes whose responsibility is it to prepare these students for success at the university level?

The current pedagogical mindset coming from the Ministry of Education in Ontario makes it very clear that it is not the responsibility of secondary school teachers to “prepare” students for university.  This does not sit well with me because I believe students have a lot to gain from the university experience, especially if they can get through the first two years where the goal of most institutions is to weed out as many undergraduates as possible.

I think there is most definitely a way to implement the current “holistic” approach to secondary education while still maintaining the required standards of critical thought, punctuality, and good old-fashioned hard work.  We need to use the technology at our disposal to engage the students in such a way that it inspires them to want to learn.  This must be paired with more rigorous curriculum standards that emphasize critical thought and quality of work over simply throwing funds at politically correct initiatives that do not provide any tangible results.

This change will not come from the Ministry level nor will it come from the universities who initiated the complaints.  It will come from a grassroots movement led by teachers, students and parents who want to restore some integrity to a system that is sorrily lacking it and they will implement it one classroom at a time!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. publius permalink
    April 9, 2009 12:35 pm

    Read the follwing article from the Walrus and you will see that universities are not blameless either. After all-where do you think teachers come from ?

    http://walrusmagazine.com/articles/2008.04-education-academic-failure-to-fail-jay-teitel/?ref=2008.05-education-academic-failure-to-fail-jay-teitel&page=

    • perosevic permalink*
      April 9, 2009 4:45 pm

      Great article.

      Believe me, I was in no way trying to promote the universities as being blameless here. The problem seems to be rampant at both the secondary and post-secondary levels.

      It appears everyone is so concerned with their own interests that they are neglecting those of society as a whole. One would think that, at some point, the entire mess would have to implode upon itself and some sort of order be restored.

  2. stonkinator permalink
    April 12, 2009 7:23 pm

    No, publius was not referring to you dear moderator, but to the seeming tendency of the universities to look down below at the secondary schools rather than looking in the mirror in assigning culpability.

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