Thursday, 3 November 2016
The future of education
"The little blurb for the show states, "How can the science of learning help us rethink the future of education for all children?" Nothing alluding to emotion at this point. Of course there’s a big focus on ALL children – and science, my friends, will get us there."
"It begins with the usual suspects, Linda Darling-Hammond busts out first with a statement about inequality being our Achilles heel. She’s followed by Kahn who wants us to have an "equal shot regardless where we are born."
"It all sounds great. Really feel good stuff. And then it gets moving. The narrator wants us to discover how science can give all children this so-called equal shot – not food, not shelter, not equal access to books, democratic classrooms, libraries, fine arts – nope, science will get us there."
"The next message goes like this – don’t ask kids to beat the odds, use science to change the odds. "
"They follow up with a pretty strong statement. They state: Our brains aren’t wired to learn to read."
"Stephen Krashen states, `There is a lot of evidence that shows that reading is natural. We learn to read the same way we acquire language, by understanding messages. Also, in print-rich societies, everybody with access to print learns how to read, unless there are serious neurological or psychological problems`."
"So, based on what Dr. Krashen is saying, equal access to books, librarians and libraries might solve this problem, huh?"
"Yet, nope. No need for that. Because we have SCIENCE. And……..there are ways to change the brains of children in order to level the playing field."
"Really???!!!! Who knew that scientists could-should-and-would manipulate the brains of children – but okay – BRING it NOVA. Oh they do. Just wait."
"They soften us up by talking about the perils of poverty. They do seem very concerned and compassionate. So concerned that they want to figure out a way to help children not be distracted by the stresses and distractions which come with poverty, such as violence, hunger, lack of shelter, fatigue – all those distractions that make it difficult to learn. They decide that science, and specifically looking at and altering the way the brain works, will solve this problem."
"So – in a nut shell, they have no plans to protect children from poverty, they intend to keep making money off children in poverty, and they will alter their behaviors and emotions to make sure they can make even more money – all the while, keeping these kids in check, under control and compliant – AND they are going to make them LIKE IT…or at least appear as though they do. Got that?"
"Just in case you don’t, they have examples of how they plan to do it."
"For starters, they show a little boy wearing headphones listening to a story during which they interject a second story on another speaker, making it difficult to focus on the first story. Next, they emit random noises from an additional third source. Meanwhile, the child’s head is all wired up as they watch his brainwaves. They want to see if the child can focus on the first story with all these distractions! You know, kind of like gun shots outside your window might be a distraction from doing your homework, while you stand in eye’s view of the window, cooking dinner for your younger siblings? No worries – these kids are going to learn how to deal."
"They have another young child in a Head Start preschool where she is asked to play `Dr. Distraction` – where she walks along a strand of yarn while not dropping a plastic frog held on a spoon, all the time children on either side banging sticks to distract her. Sounds like a relaxing day in preschool doesn’t it? The goal is to strengthen the `architecture of the brain.` Everyone applauds her when she is done."