The Canadian Education Association (http://cea-ace.ca/home.cfm) posted an article written by Joel Westheimer titled “NO CHILD LEFT THINKING:Democracy at Risk in Canada’s Schools”. Westheimer claims that “almost every school mission statement nowadays display broad goals associated to critical thinking, global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and moral character”. I have to agree with this. All the schools I went to had either a lawn sign or some king of plaque as soon as you walk in that states its mission to be better and greater and so on and so forth. The problem that Westheimer has isn’t with what the mission statement says, it’s with what the mission statement doesn’t say. We are creating students who are well-rounded and who are good citizens, but are we creating smart students who can think outside the box? Yes they can do math but what about creating new ideas and visions? What about being able to do something that isn’t in a textbook?
Westheimer goes on and says that there is a focus on testing in math and literacy but now there is less time for students to discuss their ideas and deal with controversies. This is why I ask the question, are we too busy to think? Are we teaching students so much that we aren’t allowing them to think on their own? To think of ideas on how to better, and not just as tell them how to be better.
Classrooms are sacrificing topics such as social studies, the arts, and in-depth analysis of topics in almost every subject so that they can be able to fit literacy and math drills into the schedule. Students need to have a broad understanding of many subject areas and be able to think and solve problems. Teachers are only teaching students what will be tested. It makes sense, but what about the other skills in life that can’t be tested?
I think the students nowadays need to brainstorm more for answers. They also need to be faced with tough answers for tough questions. What if we only gave students the answers the the questions that they asked? Teaching seems to be a one way conversation most of the time but what if we could make it a two way conversation? The classroom can change and it needs to be changed.