Why school no longer works

School is an outdated institution; it was set up to deal with a world and conditions that no longer exist. The dissatisfaction of both students and teachers is tangible; teachers find students uncooperative, lacking in motivation and unruly – at worst, rude and violent. Many are leaving education. Students find school irrelevant; their school and teachers seem pale at the side of the promises of film, technological media and advertising.
In the face of this situation, administration puts in to place more and more measures to try and control the situation, to the frustration of both teachers and students who spend more and more time with form rather than content.
People learn and develop in spite of school, not because of it.
We desperately need a new paradigm for education; tapping this phrase in Google gave me 24,900,000 results. I am not the only one to make this plea!
In school new media, greeted initially with great enthusiasm and large funding as a panacea to all problems, are used to do more of the same thing that has always been done. To teachers they represent more work and complexity to no clear end. To students in represents more of the same – they exchange bits of (electronic) paper and look out of the (computer) window.
New media have given the student freedom and choice; they have not given him, or her, the tools to deal with this freedom. Students do not wish to listen to teachers, but they are dissatisfied and do not know why.
Each time I launch a research into a new topic on the Internet, I open a window on a boundless universe that I can never hope to master; my students come with knowledge I do not have. Teaching is stressful when the pupil has no conception of, or respect for, what the teacher brings.
Moreover, it is no longer clear what information it is necessary to have; what is culturally important; what constitutes “being educated”. What are our cultural values? We are entering a Babel world where the cult of the personality dominates the media and our lives and our choices. “Reality TV” is a good symbol for our age.
Information is not knowledge; structure is not control. We cannot impose; we must guide. We must help the student to create his own education.
We learn what we find relevant and important; what we value; education is about transmitting values to our children. If we do not hold sure values, we cannot transmit them
We need to teach or young to think: How to analyse, evaluate, compare induct and to synthesise. How to follow and create an argument. How to create connections; to understand a point of view in relation to the circumstances that gave rise to it.

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