Even if these last couple of posts got you to thinking about the way things are in schools…the physical environment…bullying…that sort of thing, most of you, I am sure, may have a lot more trouble with this one.
But give me a bit to explain…
If you do not know the word…NEURODIVERGENT…it is so much more than just another name for autistic. It is a concept that recognizes the interconnections between brain differences…not disorders and certainly not diseases…just different ways of thinking. It recognizes that for all the challenges there are equal and perhaps more evolutionary advantages.
I am sure that I will do a longer post on it soon, but for now just know that neurodivergent includes not just the whole autistic spectrum, but also:
- Sensory Processing |Disorder
- Among others…
This is important at this point because not only are many of those co-morbid conditions but schools are failing all of them.
The problem is simple…
Schools do not teach the skills you need in life.
They teach you to pass standardized tests.
And if you have trouble with visual learning/reading or even just that sitting still at your desk for prolonged periods of time…then that is not appropriate for you.
It was not always so. Honestly, it began forty years ago when I was in school. Except back then, schools spent a month just before these tests ‘prepping’ you for them. Now that is ALL they do.
And sadly the only measure of success for the little human/student or teacher or the schools.
Do you understand? Teachers get reprimanded, passed over for promotions, and even fired…for not getting their class to pass a test. Schools get lower ratings from big national boards, fewer students enroll, thus less funding, and perhaps even CLOSED…if a high enough percentage does not pass a test.
And where is that getting us?
You would think that with all those students passing these tests the USA and UK would be among the top in the world in terms of education.
The truth is that in those past half a century of ‘standardized’ testing we are falling further and further behind. Especially in math and science.
The other things to consider when thinking about schools and education are…
The world is changing so incredibly fast. The skills that we and especially our children will need for success are changing too. Doing addition, subtraction or knowing your multiplication tables by heart have no real-life value when your phone can do it for you. Knowing names and dates in history likewise when you can simply ask Echo or Siri or whatever is next.
Even reading is no longer as crucial as it once was. That one is hard…even for me, or especially for this writer…but with Audible, Echo/Siri, voice-to-text and text-to-voice options…it is more important that you be able to understand, process, and critically evaluate information.
Take history for example. That old adage…
Is not about knowing the names and dates associated with Hitler and the Nazis rise to power but about understanding the WHY it happened. What factors were present that permitted the radicalization of a whole nation. And how to prevent it in the future.
With math, it is not necessarily knowing that 3 + 3 = 6 or 3 * 3 = 9, but knowing when you add, when you multiple, when you subtract or divide. And what those numbers really mean, especially percentages. That 1 in 4 people or 25%. Then putting that into perspective because if 1 in 4 people prefer fish to chicken, so what? But if only 1 in 4 people believe in global warming…which is a bigger concern?
And sciences? There is so much to learn and know these days. More than we ever can. Specialization is the key…as young as possible.
Computers? Parents and schools who fail to allow our children access to technology are actually HANDICAPPING them. ALL of our top producers…scientists, engineers, writers, economists, you name it…spend their WHOLE day almost in front of a computer screen. Only soldiers, refuse collectors, service workers…and teachers…spend less than half their time on a screen. Not that there is anything whatsoever wrong with those things…but the cold hard fact is…
If the parent or school chooses to deny or limit access to technology, they are impeding a young persons education and limiting his/her potential and future career options.
Yes, the skills that our children will need to carry them into the future are changing…perhaps we do not even have the resources or capacity to adequately prepare them. I certainly was not prepared for the computer age by my education.
But that is another way in which schools are stifling the very traits that our children do need…but it looks like this one may go over a bit…so more on that one…tomorrow.