“But its not my size, or the right colour :(“

Posted by Marcus on May 2, 2016

The question that a find myself battling with as a result of my journey through this module is ‘Can there be a one size fits all approach to education?’ In this think-piece I will be discussing the views of a 13 year old boy named Logan LaPlante, alongside the views of Karin Anne, a co-founder of International Montessori Schools.

Logan is a 13 year old boy from America whose parents decided to pull him out of education to be home schooled. In a TedX talk (which can be found here) that he gave at the University of Nevada he talks about how he ‘hacks’ his education to best suit him; his ultimate goal is to be happy and healthy in life. He quotes Dr Roger Walsh, who says that “education is more orientated around enabling students to make a living rather than enabling them to make a life” and it’s on this basis that he only studies subjects if he feels they are important for what he needs to be happy in life. So what if this was the approach we took to education? We give all young people complete choice with regards to their education and they’re all happy? Great! But what would this mean for these young people when it comes to employment? It’s no real secret that employers look for particular skills when hiring members of staff, and with this kind of education standardised testing would be null and void. So how would employers know who is best to hire for their company? I think that we do need a way to be able to compare people’s skills sets and testing is an important part of that. So where do we go from here? Of course we want our students to be happy within their educations, so we need to look at how we can achieve this within schools…

Karin Anne talks about the importance of a student centred approach and how, given certain limits, students should get to decide what they want to learn each day (video can be found here). My only worry about this is being able to facilitate this approach properly when students get to a secondary school level. How can we make it possible for all students to be happy within their learning environment? I think the reality is that we can’t… There’s so much to consider that we can’t always succeed in making everyone happy. That’s part of life! But we should be able to do a good job of taking everyone into account before deciding the best approach for a particular class. An interesting link that Anne makes is to the use of technology, web based platforms can be really powerful within education; they are completely student centred meaning that they adjust based on the responses from the user. There are lots of people out there who argue for this approach to education: Khan, Wolfram, Gee, along with Meyers approach with Desmos.

So does the answer to a ‘one size fits all education’ lie within technology? I’m not sure that there is a clear cut answer to this question, but I shall continue to explore the different ideas being put forward…

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