The Reverse Theory of Education
Virtually every school district and university in North America and the rest of the world states in its mission statement or objectives that it wants its learners to become independent lifelong learners. In fact, we do just the opposite.
We take young children who learned to walk and talk in one year, are learning sponges and have unfettered creativity and put them into institutions. We start not badly by giving them teachers who have been well trained, who are generalists and whose focus is on the children and their learning. But we have taken the children and put them in an institutionalized environment and made them somewhat dependent on someone called a teacher. Most documented curricula make teachers feel that they have to “cover the material”. I hate that phrase.
In high school, we provide teachers still well trained but who are subject specialists and their focus is on the subject rather than the learning and the process of “covering the content” has worsened.
In university instructors are subject matter experts who are not trained teachers and many of whom care little about teaching – it is something they have to do to support their research. They pontificate from the front of a classroom because it worked for them so it must work for everyone else.
This process makes students increasingly dependent on the “teacher”. We have systematically pummeled the desire to learn and be creative out of people.
Then suddenly when people go into graduate work or get jobs they are expected to be independent lifelong learners.
What is wrong with this picture?