For fifty years we’ve known that there are serious problems in the Western education system. It does very well for a select few, but fails so many. Countless initiatives and government interventions have attempted to remedy this.
But all of them have failed to turn education around.
Because all of them have fundamentally treated the problems in education as a supply problem. We must attract and retain better teachers, improve teaching, disseminate best practice, improve monitoring and assessment, set targets, improve curricula, upgrade classroom resources, provide extra support for weaker students, improve school facilities. The list goes on and on.
But I suspect that education doesn’t have a supply problem, and never has.
It has a demand problem.
Someone who wants to be able to do something or to know something, will suck in that knowledge or skill at an incredible rate.
The reason it is tough to teach, and teachers so often fail is because they are shovelling truck loads of education at unmotivated ‘learners’ and hoping that at least some of it will stick to them.
Who’s fault is that: apathetic students, uninspiring teachers, or the assembly line model of education?
I don’t know, and I offer no solutions. But it might be worth at least admitting that we’re spending vast amounts of time, money and anxiety solving the wrong problem!