Saturday, November 5, 2011

What are students learning these days?

How are we preparing students for the workplace? What are they learning? How are teachers teaching? How is curriculum and instruction being designed? Who decides?

I have this whole series of questions after watching how some graduate-school-educated peers were not getting jobs or unable to solve what I consider "simple" problems as graduate students of the 21st century. Seriously, what is going on in schools that there is such a disconnect between what they learn and what workplaces want?

I have no easy or quick answers. The opinions voiced here are mine alone. I venture to say that there is a whole set of systemic factors involved where the whole gigantic education enterprise is stuck in old ways. Education is trapped in knowledge transmission modes -- feed the students with content instead of teaching them to create knowledge or co-create knowledge with others. Teachers are not empowering students to learn and reflect critically or to problem-solve. Mind you, I know teachers are good people, but the education enterprise and students themselves are demanding performance that pushes teachers to focus on  students being able to pass exams and move up to another level. So they are churning out 'automatons.'

That was my initial dissertation topic, sort of. My current dissertation topic is still somewhat related to this, but in a different setting. This is my rant, sorry. I have been wondering what to do and what my role is. Try, try, try.

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