EXPERIMENTING WITH OUR YOUTH
Over the past few decades I have witnessed a decline in the general knowledge our young people possess. My grand children are all entering high school and college without knowing how to do basic math, they can’t spell and many can’t put enough cursive writing skills together to have a distinctive signature. History is a mystery and geography education is also nothing to be proud of. How many provinces touch on the great lakes? Dah! The answer of course is only one. Ask around and see if you get the correct answer very often. Well meaning educators have been trying to find the answers to the question, how do we educate our youth with the least amount of sweat equity from both teacher and student and get a well rounded educated person? Of course, a sensible answer is, you can’t. Unless you are dealing with a genius, hard work and tenacity is the answer. Doing away with homework in public school is the latest brainwave coming down from the lofty towers of our educators. Let’s try another different approach and see how many more young lives can be delayed from making a meaningful contribution to our society. Instead meaningful homework needs to be sparingly passed out in the junior grades and much more in the higher. If nothing else it prepares the student to manage time and learn the meaning of work and commitment.
This experimenting with our teaching methods has been going on since school administrators were conceived. Many times they are influenced by parents and for the most part that is good that parents are taking an interest in their children’s education. However, school administrators should be more astute to parent’s demands. The parent could have a personal agenda in mind. Raising two profoundly deaf boys in the 60’s and 70’s where the experiment of that time was to not allow communication in the class room by means of finger spelling or sign language was intolerable. Only residual hearing and lip reading were accepted. Our children were cheated from a well rounded education and only started to lead a normal life after they left school and entered the world of total communication. It was parents of hard of hearing children that forced this travesty on the system not wanting their kids to be seen as different by using finger spelling and signs. Hard of hearing is not the same as total deafness and should be recognized as such.
Our boys are doing as well as can be expected, they are struggling as most young families are. Hind sight has shown that most of the time they spent in the Ontario education system could have been much better managed.
If my generation of classes of up to 50, and homework, and the strap, and peanut butter sandwiches, and extracurricular after school sports, music, cadets and drama, and teachers that took the interest to stay after school to tutor slow learners, if that gave us a better educated kid than to-day, It seems to me that we should revert back to the old tried and true ways and put a stop to all of these new ideas micro managed by over paid mandarins in their ivory towers. Let’s start by insisting union’s demands for teachers are shared with equal concerns for the student.