Lessons in Education: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 9)

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused all of us to reassess priorities and politics this past spring. One of the obvious areas where this has had to take place was within the education system when schools were closed indefinitely.

Of particular interest to home educators is how the pandemic has caused some to question the conventional wisdom of the school’s approach to education. From questioning “socialization” to differentiating between home schooling and home education, the schools’ closure forced us all to rethink what is normally considered as status quo.

It is said that the best way to hide a lie is right out in the open. This is something that schools have been doing for years, which is one of the things that the pandemic exposed. The sending of all the students home has turned the most common assumption regarding education on its head, which in turn has led to much frustration.
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Applying Modern Digital Technology: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 8)

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Last week, I discussed how the school system is intransigently stuck in the past tense. This week, I want to talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic of last spring provided real opportunity to re-evaluate the existing system and to address the need to update our understanding of education to the twenty first century.

We need to put an end to the idea that learning is not learning unless it follows government directives, taught by a certificated teacher in a classroom setting. This thinking assumes all children to be the same and in need of academic “construction” following a set of guidelines designed to produce consistent results. This is usually understood as having a standard for education.

However, advancing such standards is unrealistically based on the assumption that homogenizing individuals of unlimited diversity is indeed possible. This may have been the case fifty years ago when the population was more unified, but this is no longer applicable.
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Some Things Just Don’t Change: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 7)

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The education system is a very big ship with very big inertia. Changing anything within it is very difficult, unless something completely unexpected hits it square between the eyes. Last spring’s COVID-19 pandemic did just that.

Last week, I discussed how politics, driven by fear, vehemently opposes any attempt to change things. There is hardly a better example of this than how the education system has resisted adjusting to the changing environment that technology has brought to us.

This is not to say that technology is not being employed, but that the intransigence of a very large system has largely adopted technology to help maintain the unchanging status quo which has only increased the costs of delivering the same antiquated and irrelevant programming. Modernizing an old system is not the same as reforming it to accommodate modern times.
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Working to Prevent Change: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 6)

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Sometimes, no, actually most of the time, we do things a certain way simply because it is the only way we know or it is the way it has always been done. There is nothing wrong with practicing a consistent approach to reach a standard product, if indeed the product is some thing. We should really question why we do so when it involves someone.

During my high school teaching days, I had the privilege of organizing job shadowing experiences for some of my students. They were always excited about the opportunity to live in the shoes of someone who was actually involved in a career that interested them, even if for just one day.

As the day approached, students would usually ask me what they should do or how they should prepare for this experience.
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On Being Stuck at Home: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 5)

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Last week I discussed an article regarding teachers who were worried about “gaps that may grow for disadvantaged students stuck at home” during the COVID-19 school shut downs. Actually, I never got past the title which I found to be full of innuendos I felt needed to be exposed before getting into the heart of the article.

Before I begin today, let me explain that I do not believe everyone in the education industry is out to lunch, nor do I believe that I have all the answers. I can say, however, that I do question everything and that I do not subscribe to what most people would call the status quo of the education system.

In defence of the article, I want to acknowledge that there are situations where a school setting is better than a home education. Some of you may be surprised by my saying this, but there are students out there who are in need of help. However, they are not disadvantaged because they are “stuck at home” as much as by outside circumstances beyond their control.
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Gaps? Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 4)

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“Educators worry that gaps may grow for disadvantaged students stuck at home.” That was the title! Not much point in reading the article itself because the title says it all. That is, if one does not question the presumptions inherent in it.

Unquestioningly accepting what we are told is, unfortunately, why we have the world we now call “normal.” We just don’t consider what is being said and so anyone willing to write or speak on any topic becomes an “expert.” There simply is no opposition and if there is, it is usually dismissed with some kind of disparaging comment or label.

Let’s risk being called something that is not nice and look into why such a title causes me anxieties.
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School’s Lost Purpose: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 3)

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The shutting down of all schools in the province created all kinds of consequent issues aside from curtailing social activities. It also provided opportunity to seriously look at modern day education.

What should have struck parents was the blasé approach the government had respecting student academic advancement. It was simply decreed that with school closures everyone would be promoted to the next grade in the fall. What can we learn or extrapolate from this action?

By unilaterally promoting the advancement of all students, the powers that be were trying to show that no one would be negatively affected by not attending school. Really?
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Now… What About Socialization? Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 2)

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Last week, I discussed how most parents see schools as daycares without serious regard for how and what schools are teaching their children.

Continuing our observations on how shuttering schools provided some interesting insights respecting learning, education and what schools have become, I would like to review a long-lasting concern respecting teaching children at home.

Since the beginning of the home education movement, the first objection made respecting teaching children at home has traditionally been a concern for the children’s opportunity for socialization.
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The School’s Most Important Function! Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 1)

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In the beginning of this year, the world faced a health crisis with the Coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to contain the spread of the disease, most public gatherings were banned including the complete shuttering of schools of every kind. This, of course, did not affect home educators who were already at home, but it did curtail outside extra-curricular activities.

There was a great deal of consternation over the decision to shut down every school in the province, indeed in the entire country, yet there was a lot to be learned from the experience. It provided an opportunity to re-evaluate or question what education, school and learning are all about.

I will be dedicating the next few blogs to addressing some of the things we gleaned from having all the students of the entire country go “home schooling”.
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Welcome to the 2020-21 Academic Year

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Getting started is the hardest part of any venture or project. Blogging is no different.

My biggest concern with blogging has always been that I wished it could be more current. Our processes were labour and time intensive, complicated by our need to have all involved at one place and time. This has changed somewhat with our new ability to capture these efforts right here in my office.

My blogs are usually created long before they are presented to the public, this new ability does streamline the process and gives me more direct control over what is said and when they are completed. Plus, I now have the ability to deal fairly quickly with new issues and events, if the need arises.
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