Should the U.S. move to a more child-centered educational model

3/8/2018

 

March is woman's month and in honor of Malala Yousafzai the youngest Nobel Peace prize winner (2014) and female human rights advocate for education of woman this bi-weekly discussion is going to be on education.

 

 

OECD Snapshot of performance in science, reading, and mathematics from here.

Finland reforms:

  1. 1945, focused on the primary school curriculum, and offered a compelling vision of a more humanistic, child-centered school
  2. 1985, the traditional set structure of the academic upper secondary school was replaced with a much more flexible, modular structure, which injected significantly more choice into the system.

 

However, there are those who don't believe the Finland method of education could work for the U.S. because of the cultural and language difference. “U.S. data also indicated that when only U.S. schools with poverty rates of 10 percent or less were counted, U.S. scores were the best in the world.” Indicating that lack of funding is causing the problem not the educational system.

 

One programs currently in the U.S. that give children more flexibility is: “Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process.”

 

Programs that address the whole child (cognitive, emotional, social and physical needs) are the most successful at improving any single aspect – for good reason. For example, if you want to help children with academic development, you will not realize the best results if you focus only on academic achievement (though at first glance doing that might seem the most efficient strategy); counterintuitively, the most efficient and effective strategy for advancing academic achievement is to also nurture children’s social, emotional, and physical needs.

 

Montessori also has it's issues as well 

  • The current educational system is too entrenched.
  • The Montessori Method is expensive.
  • There is a conflict between the Montessori Method and current No Child Left Behind objectives.

 

What are your thoughts? Should the U.S. move to something like the Finland/Montessori model? Is it merely a case of lack of funding because when poverty level schools are removed, the U.S. rankings are much higher? What should the future of education look like?

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