Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

January 18, 2013

How to Criticize Education

I used to be a university teacher. At that level( and maybe in our country), the main pressure came from the management and the government. I think that that is true in most countries. How lucky to be a uni teacher?

Except in US and UK. In US, a few Nobel laureates, esp, the economists, would keep complaining that uni degrees and diplomas are tickets to jobs that don't exist anymore, so-called "degrees of deception", or that education has become just a transaction where customers (previously known as students) are kept satisfied while being prepared for job markets.

In UK, the government is unleashing market forces into the nooks and crannies of the academia, (ah, these UK politicians are Tom Peters fans after all.)

Common people don't go to unis, don't know what uni teachers do, and thus usually leave uni teachers to their own devices.

The situation becomes tougher for teachers as you go down, the toughest being in the Primary school levels. There every parent becomes an expert. Almost all of them have primary education and so they presume (or assume, not to show my bias ;-> ) that they know to how to teach, test, do syllabus. do curriculum and more.

The more educated the parents, the more likely to complain to, interfere with, and supervise the actual teachers, unless ...

They have a longer format for their mental video.

What Happens When the Mental Video Plays for Only A Few Hours

The most daring, the most can-do of such parents will offer to demo, to do a prototype, to run a pilot, to run a trial etc for their kid's classes.

For the demo class, they will read up in depth, compile important insights, exploit excellent methodologies, perform tirelessly etc.

The school, the admin, the teachers themselves should encourage such enthusiasm. Let these parents do their demos.

How long is a demo class? 2 hours?

Ask them to repeat it one more time for the day.
Ask them to repeat the day for a few more times for the week.

Ask them to repeat the week for a few more times for the month.
Ask them to repeat the month for a few more times for the year.
(Do I need to go on?)

How long will they last?
When will their smiles become forced and weary?
When will they start losing their temper?
When will their explanations and answers become curt and vague?

When will they start to feel like Tom Cruise acting out Top Gun on stage? He has to fall in love, defend his family honor, mourn his buddy's death every night for a dozen of days in a row? Will he, will you stay fresh?

The next time you want to criticize (or advise, to hide my bias) a teacher/school, play the classroom scene with you as the principal teacher for at least 200 times.

If your method is still fine in the 201st show/run, please let us hear your method. Or else, please keep it to your self as a souvenir.

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