“The CivicResponsibility of Teaching” By Rachel Borowski HNRS 177: Biotechnology & Art
CONTEXT Ideas from RSA Animate “Changing Education Paradigms” (Week 1) Our education system was designed and conceived for a different age (The Enlightenment & The Industrial Revolution) Right now is the most stimulating period EVER But we are boring kids with systems of increasing standardization, specialization, and separation in schools
The ADHD Epidemic 9% of children (ages 5-17) in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD There are no blood tests or other neurological markers for ADHD – in fact most children are merely diagnosed based on “behaviors [that] are normal variants in childhood temperament … which manifest in ADHD-like symptoms.” Instead of training their children to behave better, or searching for other learning, emotional, or medical problems, parents (and teachers) often request ADHD medicine to help them control their children Is this the big problem?
The Problem We are anesthetizing over three million children with Adderall and Ritalin to get them through school every day
Possible Solutions? Instead of “deadening” children to the world, let’s wake them up! Let’s provide a system of education with a standard curriculum as well as a variety of options to help students explore new areas that interest them and get them excited about learning Let’s provide more funding for art in schools – after all, students perform best when they are engaged, and all of their senses are fully “alive”!
My Solution Traditional state-mandated curricula (reading, writing, math, science, history, etc.) in public elementary, middle, and high schools four days a week The fifth day (I propose every Wednesday) will be a designated “Expanded Education Day” This consists of the following …
Teaching: A New Civic Duty All Americans will have the option to choose between “Jury Duty” and “Expanded Education” when they are summoned Those who choose “Expanded Education” will be assigned to a school where they can teach on any subject for the day Presenters will be asked to bring in visual aids, tell personal anecdotes, and find other ways to engage students
Benefits of this System: Opportunity for adults to actively engage and educate the youth of our nation Opportunity for students to explore new careers, hobbies, etc. Weekly “rest day” for teachers to recharge and work on new lesson plans New opportunities for the personal, professional, and civic growth of students New systems of learning geared towards the skills and interests of each individual student
Conclusion In conclusion, I propose a day of “Expanded Education” in all public schools once a week. This will be organized as an alternative to the civic responsibility of jury duty. It will be a great opportunity for average Americans to engage students with real-world knowledge (on a wide variety of topics) and offer a more personalized education to every child. This will allow for the personal, professional, and civic development of students. And it will also allow teachers a day to recharge and prepare better lesson plans for their classrooms. Although this is not a complete “cure” for the pitfalls of our current education system, I believe it is an innovative and intriguing step in the right direction. That direction is one of active engagement and interest-oriented curricula in schools.