Monday, 27 October 2014

MOOC: What Future for Education? Unit 4 Reflection - Schools

The fourth unit reflection for the Coursera MOOC What Future for Education? To follow the thread, click on - or search for - the label FutEd.

  • How has your experience of school shaped you as a learner, and as an adult?
  • In what ways do you think your own schooling could have been improved, and what priorities do you think are the most important for schools today?
The effect of my school experience on my character as a learner is one of delayed accomplishment. Although I performed well at school subjects, being able to cram at the last minute, I failed to develop any consistency in my approach to studying until long after I'd left school. I would say that I learned how to be an effective learner, only through my teacher training and observation and reflection on what helps and impedes goal achievement.
As my school was so strict, it seemed that all responsibility for success or failure resided with the teacher, so that sense of personal achievement was something I rarely experienced.
There is one particular teacher that I remember who taught me a foreign language. She was fierce and relentless in her assignment of homework and when I achieved a modest 'C' in her subject, I felt she had done a good job as I was such a poor learner that I ought to be grateful for receiving anything short of a fail. However, in retrospect, I feel the school did me a great disservice as I know I had the potential to achieve a top grade (since proven), but the school's draconian methods drove me from studying rather than supporting me in developing effective learning habits and techniques.
From this long and painful lesson, I realise that schools have a duty to equip learners with the essential skills they need to access, process, evaluate and remember subject-related material. If a teen leaves school hating it, then we have done something very wrong; school should be viewed as an exciting time of discovery and self-realisation, not a soul-destroying competition to get to the top.

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