Call for an ER

 

Here’s a reality check.  Governor Hogan’s executive order to start schools in Maryland after Labor Day has sparked controversy.   I venture to say that the number of days schools are open should not be of critical importance.   Rather, what should be the crucial concern is this - are the needs of the students being met on the days when schools are open.

 

I submit that our present system of public education is not working.  Students in the public schools are victims of what I call “classroom prison-like education.”  Students enrolled in the academic program are confined approximately 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 10 months a year to a setting of classroom walls within a school building.  Couple this with the teachers who are confronted with the daunting challenge of educating and entertaining their students 6 or 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 10 months a year.  To deliver dynamite lessons consistently and continuously is a Herculean task.   So...is it hard to understand why students could easily become bored and fed up in the classroom?

 

What we need is an Educational Revolution.  Its main thrust occurs in grades 9 thru 12, but its basic framework can start with grade 1.  The ER calls for the writing of a new curriculum that reflects the  formation of a partnership between the school subject areas and real life world experiences.  It calls for students to get out of the classroom and  go into the real world of life.  It calls for all tracks of education, not just the vocational path, to embrace the concept that learning has to come to life, learning has to be made practical.  It calls for a new teaching methodology which allows students to participate in real life experiences.

 

For example, the ER (educational revolution) in the language arts reading and writing division entails students stepping into places  where the mastery of English skills is essential such as TV and radio stations, magazine and newspaper facilities, etc.  with students meeting the people who work in these places, and students actually performing various jobs (level of difficulty and complexity of tasks increase with each grade level). For a TV news program, the people on and off camera - the news anchor, producer, assignment editor, reporter, etc. join forces with the teacher in helping students grasp the English skills utilized in making the program relevant to the viewers.

 

 

The partners in education are the students, teachers, and real life mentors or facilitators.  All 3 parties are actively engaged in the entire learning process including the writing of the goals and objectives, the activities for concepts and content to be learned, and the evaluation segment.  The facilitators are not just bystanders offering rewards for good behavior.  Rather they become active participants in designing curriculum which builds a framework of education that is meaningful and relevant to today’s youth.  The 3 party team is really working together to make learning applicable, meaningful and FUN.  The Educational Revolution in the public school system needs to start now.

 

Ralph Jaffe

Teacher

Baltimore