A simple search on internet for “alternative education methods” pulls up over 2.5 million resources in just under half a second. “Problems in educational system” brings up 13.5 million in even less time. “Spinning your wheels” is the image that comes to mind. And here I am about to add one more bit to the discussion.
I have come to a conclusion that we will continue to spin our wheels, until we deal with the one central issue of Control. Who controls education? And perhaps the followup; to what end? Actually, we could even avoid going through the agony of answering the question and move forward.
How? Simply by placing full control of learning into the hands of the students. We would be much better served if our educational institutions would provide structure, tools and mentorship as requested, but leave the “program” to the individual student. That individual then may choose the combinations and settings most appropriate for marking out their life plan.
Content-based industrialized education needs to be tossed out, not modified. I fully agree with the concepts expressed by Terry Shaneyfelt in his article titled COPs, PLN, and Connectivism: A Creative Expression. I would go further and propose that our schools need to reflect the “communities of practice and a shared domain of interest” as Terry explains.
All of the tools required to allow individualized learning already exist. There are no excuses, just fear. Fear of losing control.
We need to lose control, hand over the responsibility and trust that true progress will develop. And perhaps write less and actually put our proposals into practice?