Is the School System Working or Doing More Harm Than Good?
This debate exists, and the court of public opinion still hasn’t reached a verdict. People are torn on whether your run-of-a-mill school is actually benefiting the students or not. Some people say that it builds the foundation for children to understand and be a part of our world, and that is true. It absolutely is. But is this educational system really what we need? Is the school system working?
Educatly is going to walk you through the many ways the current school system is failing our students.
Is the school system working? Here're 6 ways it's doing more harm than good:
1. The high competition
Schools all over the world reward high-performing students and punish low-performing students. Ultimately, students know they’re being compared to others competing against them. Public comparison and competition create a stressful and unhealthy environment for students, promoting anxiety and depression. Add to this school competition the competition parents put their children in by comparing them to their siblings, relatives, or friends.
In that way, learning becomes more about trying to be better than other people, not becoming a better version of yourself.
2. Overpopulated classes
According to research, the perfect number of students per class is 18 students. Meanwhile, a class typically has from 20 to 30 students, and that’s in the best of schools, the best educational systems, and the best countries. Sometimes classes have around 60 students; for proof, check out my educational record.
A huge class led to a stressed teacher and distracted and discouraged students. If a student has a question or needs further explanation, there is no way they’d ask their teacher unless they’re not scared of speaking up. In case all students are brave-hearted. Still, there wouldn’t be enough time for all questions! Furthermore, with such a large number of students, the teachers would have no time to get to know their students and find out their interests or learning style. This leads to the next point.
3. Using the same learning style. EVERYWHERE.
Not everyone learns the same way. There are officially 4 learning styles:
- • Visual learning through reading or seeing pictures.
- • Auditory learning through listening.
- • Kinesthetic learning through physical activities or using their hands.
- • Reading/writing learning, through, you know, reading and writing.
Schools use one learning style for a class of 20 to 30 people, which is usually auditory and visual. A teacher talks and explains the lesson while writing some notes on a board or reading from a book. In this case, kinesthetic learners are neglected. On the other hand, if the teacher explains and lets the students read from a book, the reading/writing learners and visual learners are left in the dark.
A united learning style for every student is not working and is never well. Some students will benefit, while others won’t. Actually, the students who don’t do well because of this probably won’t even realize that they have a different learning style. They’ll just be left thinking they’re bad at school, poor students, can’t learn, and ultimately do not want to learn!
At the end of the day, all students are given the same tests to answer within the same duration. This is, by default, wrong because not all students were given the same means and resources. Some students got lectured using their learning style, while others didn’t, yet parents, teachers, and the educational system have students competing against each other.
4. Poor curriculum and lack of personalized learning
While every student should learn languages, math, science, geography, and sports to navigate life and understand the world around them. No one is teaching kids to understand and manage themselves. Mental health awareness is essential to leading a comfortable and happy life. Can you imagine a world filled with people who know how to understand themselves, be aware, handle their own emotions, and build healthy relationships around them? It’s a great recipe for a better life!
Instead, students are anxious and depressed, competing against each other to be praised by a system that’s not doing them any justice. For instance, people are different. Do we even need to mention this? People are different, and they don’t have the same interests, skills, or abilities. While everyone is being taught the same subjects at the same pace, in the same way, some are bound to fail. A successful educational system provides its students with personalized learning, where students are taught to recognize what they like, what they don’t, what they’re good at, what they’re not, and what they want and don’t want. This could help every student to receive an education that nurtures and develops their skills so that they can all perform well and excel.
5. Learning is more about memorizing and less about understanding
Memorizing is a core part of learning, of course. You can’t be a doctor that doesn’t know the symptoms and names of diseases or medicines and what they do. However, students are no longer learning, and especially not for the sake of learning. Instead, they’re studying and memorizing in a rush just to pass a test, which on its own is an issue.
6. Education now is about passing tests
We learn to utilize our learnings in our daily life and work. It’s for our betterment as well as the world’s, not to show off a high GPA (although, of course, a high GPA is good!) Passing tests with high scores should not be the sole purpose of school and education. Examinations and tests are supposed to be a tool to measure our improvement and assess ourselves, not more, not less.
However, nowadays, schools advocate studying to get high test grades. Parents highly reward or punish their children for their test scores, to the point where a good test score becomes the main goal of learning and studying. While, in fact, it shouldn’t be. The focus and highlighting of the importance of tests minimize the actual importance of learning just to be learning. So, while students think they’re failing tests, the school system is actually failing them.
This is why the school system is doing more harm than good, birthing anxious students who are set up for failure. So, is this the educational system that we need? Or is it time to change or look for an alternative? Could homeschooling be an answer? What is? This is up to you to decide.