Smart Teachers in Stupid Schools
By Christine D’Amico, MA Elementary Ed August 25, 2011 Rant Rave
American education in the early 1900’s was designed to teach students academics: phonics, reading, writing, math, American history, world history, world geography, American geography, science, grammar, art, art history, literature, poetry, students were taught directly and systematically and they were assigned memorization and recitation of important documents. Students in the early 1900’s had a course load that was full and diverse. High school graduates during this time had a broad education which was well grounded in academics.
We are now down to basically teaching three subjects in school, reading, writing and math. The methods employed in the classroom are so inefficient that we have to spend lots of time on these disciplines. What could be taught efficiently in Kindergarten and First Grade is drawn out for years. We can’t fit in other disciplines because our students can’t handle the rigor. If you can’t read, write and spell, you simply can’t handle lots of other subjects.
In fact, progressive pedagogy produces the exact opposite of its goal and in the face of science, which backs direct, systematic, rigorous instruction progressive educators remain married to their paradigms.
The progressive model is backwards, it is not helping our students really acquire the knowledge they need to become strong, smart citizens and is forcing the entire system to crumble.
“There’s just too much pressure on classroom teachers to do the wrong thing.”
Too often people, especially within institutions, dig their heals in deep into their own paradigms whether correct or not, in order to protect their territory, their status quo, their own need to be right. In education and our schools this is a most egregious offense because, at stake, are the futures and lives of the children we serve. We can no longer afford to remain stoic in our mindsets, and although cloaked with lofty goals, the progressive educational movement in the United States has created a pedagogical mess, which must be untangled and common sense must prevail.