The Silver Lining of the Education Crisis

As I was catching up on news from family and friends on Facebook, I came across this item from the Huffington Post,  Changing Education in an Ever-Changing World )

The author may have gotten a little carried away with other thoughts, but the bottom line of the item is that educators have a golden opportunity to teach students at all levels the skills they need to critically evaluate what they read on the Internet–using the very media that students prefer. I’m not sure what the statistics are, but I would say that there are 100 pieces of garbage on the web for every 1 piece of solid information. What the author failed to address is the practical use of all the gadgets that kids use to not only “surf the net” and share photos and movie clips, but also as a means to discuss with teachers and classmates what might make the article (or clip or photo or blog) “good” or “garbage.” This can be done in any school subject, whether the topic is a review of a particular book, an online posts of “how-to’s” for arithmetic calculations, an “academic discussion” on the start of the US Civil War, a first aid blog on how to treat a paper cut, or a YouTube clip of a lake’s ecology. Thus, critical thinking can be taught for any subject and for any level of education, using the very instruments that students use for communication already.

Of course, I have always been a proponent of using the current tendencies and behaviors within a class and use them to learning advantage. Interestingly, teaching critical thinking skills by using the latest technologies can be a great classroom and learning management tool, as well.

Your thoughts?


Chinese Students Take Education Very Seriously

With all their extra-curricular activities, American students barely have time to complete their homework. Academic expectations may have been lowered to accommodate their time needs. Certainly, universities look for more than just grades when considering students for admission. This has led to training teachers in creative ways in which information is passed to the students.

By contrast, Chinese students concentrate on academics, often to the exclusion of other activities. There appears to be a concern that such devotion to grades and high test scores may limit imagination. Advertisements from Asian education departments suggest they are actively seeking consultants to teach Asian teachers Western educational techniques, which speaks to this concern.

But how do Chinese students react to the emphasis on academic excellence? Read the following article to find out. Then leave a comment regarding which way you believe is better.

Click on this link for the article: LA Times on Chinese Students


“A Failure of Education Leadership.”

A new documentary, “Race to Nowhere,” discusses the prevalence of high school students doctoring their resumes and college entrance essays to look better than they really are. Parents are supporting this practice, and high schools seem to have lost control of what goes into these essays. For students whose parents have been through the college essay, the pain and desperation of their own works may drive the support of embellishment, but how can a student with no home experience and no school guidance compete with this process?

Previously, I’ve posted articles and others’ blogs reporting on ghost writers for papers, college entrance and class essays, and even dissertations. Is this cheating? Are we encouraging academic dishonesty? Are both high schools and universities really trying to eradicate academic and personal dishonesty? Where are we headed as a nation? Where are we headed for our former place of academic leadership among the world’s modern governments and trade powers? This article, first brought to my attention by a former high school English teacher, is more noteworthy for what it does not say than for what it says.

Read the post below from The New York Times and post back your thoughts on it. I’d like to know what your think.

Documentary on Pressures of School