Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, September 24, 2010

We're Number 11

America is number eleven as reported in a recent Newsweek article rating countries in the world for livability. When I looked at the list, I wasn't shocked to find eight of the top ten are homogeneous countries and the other two countries apologized to their indigenous people. Size was also an issue. The question of homogeneity is important and has been causing some new problems in some of these countries mentioned. A homogeneous society is a much easier society in which to teach than is a heterogeneous society, which is what America is. Many of the countries used to compare to America in educational matters are homogeneous. Consider if all the scholars in my class share one culture, one religion, and one set of mores; then teaching them is going to be much more effective and efficient since I don't have to stop and teach an individual student that idea or just move on and that scholar misses something. As a teacher in a very heterogeneous classroom in America, many points have to be taught before I can go into a larger lesson. Consider how the Bible is an important reference for many American writers. Some knowledge of the Bible is necessary to understand the literature. For some of my scholars knowledge of the Bible is nil and that is a problem.

I'm still confused why we continue to compare our educational system with other countries. The rules, the methodology, the population of our schools are so much different from other countries' schools. Schools in other countries do not have class populations like ours. Other countries don't demand and provide education for all students under 17. When I look at the list, Australia and Canada are two great choices, while the others are lovely countries, I like being there, but they can't be compared to America or Canada or Australia for so many reasons.

When we begin our classes each year, we have to provide our scholars a rubric that explains how they will be assessed. I'm never sure I have seen a rubric that provides proper assessment for the schools of the world. I think we are talking apples and oranges when it comes to education on a global scale.

1 comment:

Brownieslivinginhawaii said...

Not quite apples and oranges. I grew up in Europe and am now a US citizen, the only reason I did that was to vote, finally.
Anyway, I agree with you on the various societies being to different for comparison. America to me always had the attitude "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and for the longest time there were neighborhoods with poor performing schools, and they were just so far away, they did not remind people that the system is "broke". Priorities are not set, I find that there is no sense of accountability, neither parents, schools, politicians have to take responsibility for their failures. In the eighties when I worked at a library I loved these posters of famous people encouraging kids to read, like "readers are leaders", so this has been going on for a while. I know Europe has also a decline in performance, yet, countries like Poland are increasing their GNP by pushing education. I think as a society we forgot what it takes all together. Children do not play anymore, if you walk around you see far too many complaining about how bothersome their children are and and and. We need to maybe not think in monetary terms but child terms, and return fun into their lives, pure unadulterated fun, and give them time and space to be kids. If I was a child now I would probably be suicidal... what a drag it is and I am not surprised so many turn to drugs.
Just me and my two cents. I claim ESL for all grammatical errors (see, no sense of responsibility, I can blame it on ESL rather than my lack of hard studying the rules.) Aloha