What have schools done to learning?

What have schools done to learning? Learning was fun once, for all of us. When you see a toddler learn something new for the first time, there is so much joy. The youngster will repeat the action over and over with such glee. A smile will come across their face, saying “Look at me, Look at what I can do!” Children yearn to learn. As school starts, the yearning slowly appears to disappear.


What do schools do to learning to make the smiles go away? Where does this joy go? How can schools regain it?  Our education system is hung up on measuring students learning that it seems to forget how to ignite students passion for learning.

Education and learning is about passion and engagement. Our current system is about strict learning standards to be measured and compliance. The system doesn’t line up with its goals. Standards are good to keep learning focused, but when standards are adopted without ever considering the students in audience? Teaching some standards can be like taking the basketball team (all suited up and ready for a game) to the ballet. Other times feels like taking the church group all dressed in Sunday’s best out to feed the pigs on the farm. The educational process needs to be more flexible to re-engage students in their passions for learning. It is time to end this one size fits all systematic approach. The Common Core State Standards are a vast improvement over where we have been. Students should be given options as to which ones they feel they want to master while exploring all of them.

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso
The time schools take to measure learning, the more students seem to lose pleasure in the process. Learning needs to be more about taking risks and failing than getting A’s and B’s. Schools need to be the places where passions are born, not where the go to die. It is time to reinvent schools! Nobody should ever loose their passion for learning!

5 thoughts on “What have schools done to learning?

  1. Compliance. Sigh.

    It’s so true…if students are doing what they’re told, admins are happy. But when I asked my *HONORS* English students for their opinions about what they are reading and writing, many show a lack of enthusiasm and explain that they’re just playing the game to earn their “A.”

    Some of the best writing my students have produced this year is when I told them to write blog posts about topics of their choice. But there’s no time to really explore personal interest writing when our rigid curriculum mandates that we practice skills that are focused on preparing students to take an increasing number of tests. Sad, isn’t it?

  2. Thanks for the post Todd. It is sad that the narrow focus on how students do on a test is overshadowing the passion and engagement you talked about. Learning should be FUN…focused, but fun. And often the most important skills we teach cannot be measured on a standardized test.

  3. Todd you are right on point as allways. I think we need to do away with the black and white culture we have in education. Why does it have to be one or the other, our kids deserve both or better yet ALL. if there are five approaches to teaching a subject why not offer all of them and make every attempt to meet everyone’s needs. We don’t have to be the knowledge anymore we can facilitate the learning. That allows us an incredible amount of flexibillity. Lets take advantage of that in a way that meets our students needs. Lets not hide behind a one size fits all, everyone has to do it like this excuse. It;s about the kids and thier needs not what is easiest for us.

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