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Thread: What is the ideal education system ?

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    Post What is the ideal education system ?



    Introduction

    Education is one of the most important thing for a society to prosper and be safe. Education forms the character and intelligence of individuals. But how should governments proceed to educate their country's children in an optimum way ?

    There are remarkable differences in the content and the way things are taught in schools around the world, and even in the so-called developed countries. But one sure thing is that no country possess a perfect education system, and IMO, the education level has been decreasing, while children and teenagers have alongside become more difficult and better protected by their parents than before. As a result, school becomes less strict and less efficient.

    Europe vs Japan

    Comparing the purpose of education in Japan and Europe, I realized that the main difference was that European go to school to learn and graduate with an expected amount of knowledge and reasoning skills (analysis, logic, critical skills, skepticism, etc.). The Japanese system teaches more how to behave in society, interact with people in a group and some factual knowledge based especially on memory.

    There isn't one right system, as what one has, the other lacks. Japanese stress the importance of harmony over intelligence for itslef. That is why it is extremely rare for a pupil/student to fail a year, while it happens in almost every classes (often several people per class) in Europe. I understand that in a society based on group harmony and not distinguisinh oneself, it would be very traumatizing for a Japanese to be the only one to fail, and feel completely excluded from the group. As a result, nobody fails ! That seems too easy, but it certainly has the advantage of releasing the pressure and avoiding children to develop psychological problems or anti-social behaviour (as often happens with repeaters in the West).

    The Western mentality insists that anybody who doesn't reach the expected knowledge or reasoning skill level should be punished and fail. The advantage is that students fear losing a year of their life (+ consequences to find a job later) and try harder to assimilate the knowledge and theoretically obey better the teacher for fear of failing because of misbehaviour (a serious weapon teacher have on students).

    Furthermore, harmony in a strongly individualistic society where difference and originality is valued (like in most of Western countries) can only be achieved among like-minded people. So the only way to increase harmony and increase socialization is by grouping similar people together, as I will explain below.

    Combining the two aspects : the ideal system

    So, which shall we promote ? Stable psychology and socialization (Japan), or high intellectual exigency and the pressure that goes with it (Europe) ?

    I think the ideal system is a combination of both, but including 2 important new factors that are usually not presents in most schools in Europe and Japan.

    Firstly, classes should be divided by ability. The advantage is that it is more efficient, as good student are more motivated and don't feel slowed down by the rest, and less good students can spend more time on weaker subjects until they understand them. As of course most people have strong and weak subjects (some are good at everything or bad at everything, but they are few), each subject should have about 3 levels (strong, average, weak), and students should join according to their performance in each of them. So, if some is very good at maths, average at history and weak at languages, then they should join the appropriate class level for each subject.

    But should the year-end exams be the same for all levels ? There are 2 possibilities :

    1) Different exams for each level, leading to different certifications at the end. Completing one education cycle (3 or 6 years), the students would get a certification mentioning which level course they have followed (and passed the exam) for each subject. That has the other advantage that employers would know immediately the real strength and weakness of the person they recruit, and for students to choose more easily their college/university orientation and the carrier that best fit their capabilities.

    2) Same exams, but different number of hours depending on the ability. Good students would have less hours to study the same thing, so more freetime, either to study weaker subjects, or if there aren't any, just to relax or go back home earlier. That is an excellent motivation for people to take the most difficult course and concentrate hard, so that they have to spend less time at school. But not everybody is able to, and teachers should direct the students to classes matching their ability if they can't realise it by themselves.

    The point of both systems is to release pressure on too difficult subjects and give the opportunity to learn more in what one is good at. Students could be allowed to change class level within the year, if they realized it is too easy or too difficult. That would also reduce dramatically the failure rate at school, and improve social relationships, as students would be with other people of similar intelligence, abilities and interest. This would be re-inforced by my second point hereinafter.


    Secondly, schools should give a wide range of options to the students, with a minimum requirement in each subject. For this the government's curriculum has to be flexible enough and not to complete. It is usually ok in Europe, but the Japanese Ministry of Education is notorious for deciding the exact content of everthing and limiting the use of school books to only a few government approved ones. In comparison, European teachers (maybe not everywhere ??), have the freedom to use any book they want, approved or not, decide more or less what they teach and even create their own materials (most of my teachers distributed photocopies of documents that they had written themselves or didn't use any book at all, which would only get the teachers fired and have serious problems in Japan, have I been told).

    The idea is to give the students the chance to learn what they like best, or at least to have more hours of their favourite subjects (or those they deem necessary for their future). This system is already the norm in most English-speaking countries, but is much less developed in continental Europe, where all students must learn all subjects, and can usually only choose to have a few more or less hours a week of some subjects (like maths, sciences or languages). But they are almost always allowed to choose at least their foreign languages (the number of choices vary depending on the school itself) and some options not in the curriculum (e.g. psychology, economy. arts, electricity...).

    I think the best system should have a minimum requirement for important subjects such as maths, one's mother tongue, history, geography, sciences and maybe even some economy (e.g. like how to manage one's money or how to pay one's taxes) or psychology (e.g. how to study more effectively or analyze one's personality). In addition, people should choose some options or more hours of the compulsory subjects. That is the best way of motivating students, and not have them fall asleep in class or feel school is useless.


    Conclusion

    The ideal school system should divide students by abilities, give them the possibility to change class level according to how they follow, so as to reduce the failure rate and increase socialization, but also be able to choose options quite early based on their interest so as to stimulate their motivation, and further increase socialization. The goverment should give enough freedom to schools and teachers to achieve this, while keeping a minimum curriculum for important subjects.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 13-08-04 at 17:04.

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    I'm not sure how much I agree with your education system ideal.

    There is a bit of an issue if you separate classes by skill level. For one thing, there already are 3 levels of math that you can take depending what your school offers. My school only offers regular math, because it's small. But if you go to a big school they have Essentials of Mathematics (which is very easy), Principles of Mathematics (which is the normal course), and Honours Mathematics (which is very hard). I'm not even going to go into the AP and IB programs.

    The problem is that if you take Math Essentials you can only go up until grade 11 with it, and cannot write the Provincial Exam (which is standardized and is designed for the regular math course) meaning your options are limited.

    If we did seperate everybody into skill levels, the school would probably divide into groups. You wouldn't meet nearly so many people if you only had classes with people just like you. Part of the fun of a class is that some people know the stuff and others don't. Then if you get stuck you can always ask somebody who understands it for help.

    I suppose in the end it could work. I think the only way to know would be to trial it and see what happens.

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    I'm living in Europe, still on High School.

    Dutch High School that is.

    I failed my class 2 years ago. It was really stupid, it was my own fault. I hated it and it was horrible. My first 2 classes went way too easy, I had A's without having to do anything for it. So I didn't pay attention, because I made A's even while being a nuisance for others. Really ignorant. I got my paycheck in the 3rd grade and I had to go down a level.


    The Dutch Highschool is divided into 5 levels of difficulty. The Highest (VWO/ATHENEUM/GYMNASIUM - 6 years) gives acces to University, The second highest (HAVO - 5 Years) gives acces to practical university (easier), The middle one (Mavo - 4 years) for College and the bottom (VBO/IVBO - 4 years) two give acces to, practical courses (like a plumber). While at High School you can switch between those levels, depending on your marks.

    I think dividing pupils at a young age is a good idea, I wish it happend to me. My primary school was way too easy for me (serious) and it slowed me down. I never had to do anything for my good marks. In that way I never builded up enough discipline and when I had to work for it, I just didn't have the right discipline. I'm really upset about it actually, not being on the highest level. After I finish the second one I'm still going to shoot for the highest, my teachers say I can. (It is only in the first three years that you can switch levels, after this you can only go lower or you have to finish your level and make a year extra).

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    @DragonChan

    You are only refering to the system in Canada (which I don't know), and anyhow European are usually also able to choose the number of hours of maths and other subject. But this is the difference between my first and second points (dividing by level and choosing how many hours of each lesson). The main difference is that in one case if you are good at maths you take less hours (for exactly the same course), and in the other case (yours), if you are good at maths, you take more hours (but a different, more advanced course). The first system would work fine in Japan where the curriculum is fixed and all students must learn the same thing in the main subjects.

    @60yen

    That's quite a few kinds of school in the Netherlands !
    I knew of the division of schools in 3 categories (eg. in Belgium) :
    1) general education that enables to go to university/college
    2) technical education, to become mechanics, electrician, etc. or go to "technical universities" (what you call "practical")
    3) professional education to become carpenter, plumber, etc.

    This applies to secondary schools, and it is not normally possible to pass from 3 to 2, or 2 to 1, only the other way round. Students which cannot follow in the general system, go to technical or professional. This system only exist from "senior high school" (from 16 years old) in Japan.

    But the ideal education system I was referring to is only for the "general education", as others have a completely different, less intellectual curriculum (esp. less humanities and languages).

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    It sounds to me like you want to make compulsory education like that of (at least) American universities. When would the students be able to decide what they want to take? My school allowed electives for high school students which varied by grade. Ninth grade was one; tenth was two; eleventh was four; and twelfth was six. This graded system of election seems to be a good idea to me, as it allows for maturity.

    Also, we had honors English and math classes, even at my small school (graduating class was 45). In some of the larger schools there are more seperations. There are also entire schools relegated to students of higher intelligence.

    My problem is 1)that there are teachers who are just there for a paycheck, 2)the materials aren't integrated enough between subjects, so as to reinforce them, and 3)even the good schools are corrupted by money.

    On point one, the only thing that I could see would alleviate this would be to have higher standards for teachers. But then again, how many people actually want to teach? I'm not sure about that, but it seems that the number is small.

    On point two, I think that teaching history should not be limited to history class, math to math, science to science, etc. Everything is related to an extent, and they should be taught in such a way that reflects this. For instance, show that certain literary works are considered to be bad or good due to the adherence or deviance from some formula, thereby incorporating math into literature. Show what was going on in ancient Greece when they were figuring out how clouds work, etc., thereby incorporating history into science. And make history lively! The way I was taught history I may as well have just read a textbook. Talk about the people of the times, what they thought, what they believed, why they thought and believed those things, and how their thinking is similar or dissimilar to ours. I think that they way that things are taught is what needs to be improved, which also relates to point one.

    On point three, I guess there isn't much that can be done here. People have been buying grades since the inception of schools as far as I can see, and I don't see that stopping. The people who can stand by their ideals in the face of greed are few and far between in my experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn
    My problem is 1)that there are teachers who are just there for a paycheck, 2)the materials aren't integrated enough between subjects, so as to reinforce them, and 3)even the good schools are corrupted by money.
    I don't know how teachers are paid in the US, but in lots of European countries (if not all ?), most schools are "state schools", which means they can be either public (managed directly by the government) or private (90% of them, I believe), but teachers/schools all receive their salary/finance from the government (which explains higher taxes). As a results all state schools are free (except for the books, some school trips, etc.). As a result, whatever the reputation or quality of the school, all teachers receive about the same salary (depending on how good is the school's management of the gov. funds).

    Real private schools (misleadingly called "Public Schools" in the UK), where teachers are paid by the student's parents, represent only about 1% of the schools and are reserved to the richest people (you know, not the upper-middle class children of doctors or lawyers, but the very upper-class children of very big company presidents, famous politicians, billionaires, etc.). No need to say that the failure rate in these private schools is almost inexistent.

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    I'm glad to see this thread, I went to high school in France and I agree with what Maciamo says about dividing the classes according to the level and prefernences of the students but I also see a few problems. First at what age is a student able to see what he is good at and not so good, until I reached high school I was very good everywhere and never challanged, then in high school I realized I wasn't so good especially in maths and sciences so I went to a technical HS with specialization in electronics. It was a complete mistake because I was mislead and there I discovered that although I was good at electronics and mechanics I was a lot better in liberal arts subjects so I changed my orientation, lost a year and started in general education with economics specialization, after a year I was first in my section and among the best in maths. Now I'm in college and I'm best at maths, economics, and history, the last subject I would have chosen at the beginning of HS. So unless you really challenge the students it's impossible to see if they are better at some things and they might change but never discover it if they are not constantly challenged. That's a flaw, the difficulty is not balanced.
    Furthermore, this division by level would require more teachers (which we already lack) who are more specialized, and as already mentionned more and more teachers choose this occupation because of the pay check, well not exactly but in France, at least for the security, since it's a gov't job you can't be fired. get 5 months of vacations and a nice retirement at 55 most of the time and if you try to change that you will see the teachers in the streets threatening to cancel the final exams, which happened on the year of my graduation (no class for the last month can be hard in order to prepare for the exam which determines your future education).
    On more thing, although I support the idea of classes by level and specialities, it would surely create some conflict, in France maths is highly praised and already with the actual system the maths specialization are the only ones considered worthwhile. So imagine the students who can't go higher that a low level of math or even worse if they can't get higher than a low level everywhere, they would be jealous and insecure. The result is already obvious in France since there is something similar, the students who can't make it into the general education HS are sent to professional schools or what we call vocational here in the US, these students (a majority, children of immigrants, strange isn't it for a country of equality) are considered like worthless kids from the beginning and treated with no respect so they create conflicts between students and teachers and among students. Fortunately the ones who can perseverate and succeed can be very successful, but since the French think what you learn in these schools is worthless there is a huge lack of plumbers, electricians, mechanics... so if they are good they have a bright future with plenty of demand but still no respect.
    I believe education needs a big reform everywhere and that the level is decresing all the time but it's really a titanic task.

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    Education system = Mind programming system

    It should be noted that what are teached and the way these are teached depends on who designed, build, operate, and maintain the education system.

    People in the past are actually more flexible, more logical, and more open minded, due the fact that they're not so 'educated'. The reason on why most of school participants these days aren't reduced to a bunch of drones is due the fact that they treat school more as a place to hang out, rather than a learning place. One of the other facts is that most humans are too stupid and forgetful to be educated anyway, that's why many people don't remember some of the stuff they learn three years before.


    Instead of asking what is the ideal education system, one instead should ask, what is the ideal way to teach someone? Each person has different need and a different way of learning.

    The following are good people that made good teachers and their teaching methods are proven to be quite effective:

    - Parents or guardians.

    Parents are in fact, the first line of teaching.

    Children in the past sometimes work alongside with their parents, and this is a form of teaching. One day, the children learned enough and they continue on their parents jobs.

    Of course these days, if the parents do that, they would be guilty of using 'child labors', and their children are to be demanded to be put in school so that they can get the proper brainwashing... er, I mean 'education'.


    - People who are entrusted by parents to teach their children

    Sometimes, parents aren't capable of doing anything that they wish their children to learn, so they might have asked someone they trusted who got the ability that that their children wanted to learn to teach their children.

    For example, parents who wanted to teach their children musical children while they themself don't have musical skill will do the following, they will ask someone they trusted with musical skill to teach their children musical skills.

    These days, these roles tend to be placed on teachers from schools. However, the teachers aren't always likely to be people that the parents will trust. And even if the teachers are trusted, the teaching content and how they are teached by the teachers are restricted according to the education system that employed him/her. So lets say that the history teaching of the education system said that X happened in the past and you personally know that X didn't happened in the past, you will have no say in regarding the matter.


    - People who one seek for guidance.

    Sometimes, the things that one's parents give to him/her aren't enough, so one might seek someone else to teach things that one need.

    Star Wars example, Luke Skywalker seeking Yoda to complete its Jedi training in "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back". Another example might be Luke seeking Ben 'Obi-Wan' Kenobi, but at first Luke seek Ben to deliver the message to him, though Luke later on choosed to be with Ben after he found out his home and family have been destroyed.


    - People who seek a person to give a guidance to.

    There are people out there who want to pass on their experiences, knowledges, skills, and many other things to other people.

    Star Wars example, Qui-Quo Jinn see the potential in the young Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" and wanting to teach him, though the job later on fall to Obi-Wan Kenobi (due to Qui-Quo Jinn's demise). Or maybe to precise this also an example of my point in "People who are entrusted by parents to teach their children", Qui-Quo Jinn entrusted Anakin Skywalker's teaching to Obi-Wan Kenobi, after all, after the Pod Race was over, Qui-Quo Jinn basically adopted Anakin Skywalker. The same also happened to Shmi Skywalker where she passed on the guardianship of Anakin Skywalker to Qui-Quo Jinn, she entrusted Qui-Quo Jinn to teach and guard her son.


    - Travelling.

    Travelling gives people experiences in many different kind of areas.

    Exchange students is one of the examples of it, though parents sending their children to far away families is also another example.

    Star Wars example? All five of the Star Wars movie.

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    Exclamation all i can say for now...

    All I can say for now...

    Japan's gimu kyoiku is definitely not an IDEAL.

    I've had two different education systems in my life. One was Japanese and another was Canadian. The Japanese ones are quite closed. Things around me are almost always negative. However, Canadian education is more open, and full of positive thinkings/things around me.

    But to tell you the truth, I don't know, and can't belive even the Canadian education is IDEAL. I think...there's no ideal education system yet.

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    I've only had the western style of education. Even though there can be tremendous pressure to succeed for some students, there are still many students who couldn't care less about their grades and whether or not they even learn.

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    Firstly, classes should be divided by ability. The advantage is that it is more efficient, as good student are more motivated and don't feel slowed down by the rest, and less good students can spend more time on weaker subjects until they understand them.
    100% agreed with this. Unfortunately the clowns who have ruled in my country think that it would a discriminatory system and thus illegal.

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    Certainly not East Asian dehumanizing systems which are more like concentration camps or something...

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    My ideal education system would be one that views children holistically - not as statistics to be pushed through hoops for results and league tables. Children do not all learn at the rate the government sets out and too many children fail unnecessarily for the sake of a couple more weeks. Active learning should be combined with more traditional methods as all children learn differently. I'd like the school to work with parents and students to find areas in which the child will excel, whether it be academics, sport, music, art, leadership.

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    In America a good number of schools have bullying issues. How do you propose to keep peace between the divisions. The upper class sector can easily bully the lower class sector on the matter of higher education levels.

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    Here in Canada, the educational system varies depending on what province you live in. The system here in Ontario is that you have eight years of general education in elementary school, followed by four years in secondary school that consists of a core curriculum (including math and English) and some options, depending on what your interests are. Next comes either employment, a two year technical college or long term studies at university. It used to be that you could only get into university if you took a five year secondary school course and had good grades. However, the extra year of schooling has been abolished and I think courses are watered down compared to what they were in the past. I don't think students are as well prepared. But students aren't as rigidly streamed as they used to be, which has its advantages. A student's educational future is no longer set in stone when they're fourteen, which used to be the case. But there may not be enough streaming in terms of interests and abilities now. And now there is a big problem in that students have to go into debt much more for university than they did previously, so university less accessible to students from a poor background who are afraid of debt. Poorer students are more likely to go to a technical college, which is much cheaper and is likely to lead to employment, but the long term future is not as good as for university students.
    Last edited by Aberdeen; 10-12-13 at 02:09. Reason: clarification

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    Maciamo:
    The ideal school system should divide students by abilities, give them the possibility to change class level according to how they follow, so as to reduce the failure rate and increase socialization, but also be able to choose options quite early based on their interest so as to stimulate their motivation, and further increase socialization. The goverment should give enough freedom to schools and teachers to achieve this, while keeping a minimum curriculum for important subjects.
    This issue is very complex and no hard and fast rules should be applied, in my view. For example, some students thrive on competition, and there are some who benefit greatly from being in classes, the attainment average of which is slightly higher. Of course provision should be made for the "special" or "gifted" students, but equally for those who struggle with certain concepts. I believe the best education system is one which adequately prepares students for future employment, whether that be professional such as doctors, lawyers teacher or trades people such as carpenters, electricians etc or more basic jobs. All students must learn the basic three R's and then branch out into more specialised areas.

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    American schooling system is the best in the world. I have been through it, and I know. Here is how it works: If you ask any American educator to be politically correct they will tell you that every student has the capacity to learn and should be helped to learn. Practically they don't believe it and what they do is: as schooling progress they seperate the one who learn from the one that don't. They help the one who learn to advance as much as they can, and pretend they are helping the one that don't want or can't learn. At the end of high school the one who learned advance to college, the others who did not join the army or go in wellfair.
    American teachers are hiden Darvinists. That means they beleive that Humans are biological being and as such are not equal. Brain power is different for diferent bipedals. So, teach the one with brains, pretend you are teaching the one without.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toyomotor View Post
    Maciamo: This issue is very complex and no hard and fast rules should be applied, in my view. For example, some students thrive on competition, and there are some who benefit greatly from being in classes, the attainment average of which is slightly higher. Of course provision should be made for the "special" or "gifted" students, but equally for those who struggle with certain concepts.
    You are right that some students need competition to thrive or feel motivated. Some people also learn better in a group or when other students can explain things they don't understand to them. Personally I have always learnt better by themselves than with a teacher, and better with alone with a teacher than in a group. In secondary school I often slept in class, either because I already knew everything or because I preferred to study by myself in the quiet of my home than in a noisy classroom. I can earnestly say that I have learnt most of what I know by myself rather than at school or university. I also feel that I had been allowed to learn everything by myself at home instead I would have shortened the learning process by several years.

    Considering the huge interpersonal differences, I think the education system should test the personality and learning style of each student as early as possible and provide different classes or create specialised schools aimed at each learning style and ability level.


    I believe the best education system is one which adequately prepares students for future employment, whether that be professional such as doctors, lawyers teacher or trades people such as carpenters, electricians etc or more basic jobs. All students must learn the basic three R's and then branch out into more specialised areas.
    Then most of what is taught here in secondary school (US: junior high and high school) is essentially useless for most people's future jobs. Highly specialised jobs (e.g. medical doctor, lawyer, software engineer) learn most of their skills in tertiary education (university). Most ordinary jobs are learnt directly by formations within company or through experience. I believe that the purpose of compulsory education is mainly:

    1) to socialise with people of the same age, learn social skills, make friends...

    2) to acquire general knowledge about the world that one wouldn't learn in a specialised college/university programme aimed at a specific job. In my eyes what should be learnt during the years of compulsory education include:

    - world geography : in a globalised society it is just shameful to meet someone and have to admit that you haven't got a clue of where their country is or what language is spoken there.

    - world history : essential to understand the differences between cultures and religions, and why different countries had different economic, social and political developments.

    - foreign languages : learning another language opens up the mind and makes it easier to understand other people and cultures. Considering the importance of English in every aspect of society today (sciences, technologies, Internet, business, travel...), it is particularly essential that all children become fluent in English in non-English-speaking countries.

    - basics of mathematics and sciences

    - learning how to manage one's money, take care of a house, etc.

    What is NOT essential but is often taught in schools anyway includes:

    - literature : focuses too much on a few famous writers and gives a biased approach of the subject. Besides it is more a hobby than a skill or essential life knowledge.

    - arts : best left for extra-curricular activities and hobbies

    - advanced mathematics : only useful for those who will become engineers, mathematicians, physicists, etc. Useless for at least 95% of the population.

    - dead languages like Latin and Greek: it has often been claimed that learning these languages broadened the mind, but this is true of all languages, and why should anybody waste precious time and energy learning languages that aren't spoken anymore when so many are spoken around the world and useful for travel, socialisation and business ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    .....................
    What is NOT essential but is often taught in schools anyway includes:

    - literature : focuses too much on a few famous writers and gives a biased approach of the subject. Besides it is more a hobby than a skill or essential life knowledge.

    - arts : best left for extra-curricular activities and hobbies
    .............
    While I agree with the rest of your comments, I very much disagree with the idea that literature and the arts aren't important. Both literature and the arts are part of the socialization process that helps people to understand what sort of society they live in, and they help people to understand that there are things of value other than money or possessions. A literate person who can appreciate fine art and music can never really be poor, no matter what their financial standing. And literature exposes people to different ideas about what our society is like, what it could be like and what others have dreamed about in terms of what kind of world we could live in. In my opinion, people who are culturally illiterate often have poor reasoning powers, even if they are intelligent, and are more likely to become involved in dubious social or political movements. It has been my experience that well read and cultured people are not as easily ensnared by faulty ideas because they have a better overall understanding of what the world is like.

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    Maciamo:
    Then most of what is taught here in secondary school (US: junior high and high school) is essentially useless for most people's future jobs. Highly specialised jobs (e.g. medical doctor, lawyer, software engineer) learn most of their skills in tertiary education (university). Most ordinary jobs are learnt directly by formations within company or through experience. I believe that the purpose of compulsory education is mainly:

    1) to socialise with people of the same age, learn social skills, make friends...

    2) to acquire general knowledge about the world that one wouldn't learn in a specialised college/university programme aimed at a specific job. In my eyes what should be learnt during the years of compulsory education.
    Sorry, I can't entirely agree with the above. Yes, schools have an important role in teaching children/young people socialisation skills, but as important, learning skills. General knowledge subjects, such as History, Geography should be taught from about Primary School Grade 3 or Grade 4, as they were when I was young. Of course basics, like English and mathematics should start at Day 1 Year 1. In Grade six, higher mathematics, sciences along with skill based subjects such as woodwork, metalwork cooking etc. By introducing a fairly wide curriculum, the system should be able to weed out those with an academic bent from those who will work in the trade system and those who will, by necessity, work in so-called unskilled positions. College, Grades 11 and 12 are the preparatory years for University, where the students choose their future career and which is the final stage for the academics, medicos, lawyers, accountants etc. Languages, as an optional extra, depending on the countrys global position and needs, should reflect the requirement of the individual or even the particular community to communicate with neighbours. Basically, the above is how it is in Australia, although every day I see examples of sloppy education in almost every walk of life, with poor grammar, spelling and pronounciation at the forefront.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toyomotor View Post
    Maciamo:
    Sorry, I can't entirely agree with the above. Yes, schools have an important role in teaching children/young people socialisation skills, but as important, learning skills. General knowledge subjects, such as History, Geography should be taught from about Primary School Grade 3 or Grade 4, as they were when I was young. Of course basics, like English and mathematics should start at Day 1 Year 1. In Grade six, higher mathematics, sciences along with skill based subjects such as woodwork, metalwork cooking etc. By introducing a fairly wide curriculum, the system should be able to weed out those with an academic bent from those who will work in the trade system and those who will, by necessity, work in so-called unskilled positions. College, Grades 11 and 12 are the preparatory years for University, where the students choose their future career and which is the final stage for the academics, medicos, lawyers, accountants etc. Languages, as an optional extra, depending on the countrys global position and needs, should reflect the requirement of the individual or even the particular community to communicate with neighbours. Basically, the above is how it is in Australia, although every day I see examples of sloppy education in almost every walk of life, with poor grammar, spelling and pronounciation at the forefront.
    I have never had such classes as woodwork, metalwork, cooking or the like. It's not part of the curriculum in many countries.

    I agree that mother tongue and mathematics should be taught from day one in primary school. But that's almost the only thing that was taught in primary school in my days. I longed for history and science classes but had to wait until the 6th grade (11 years old) to have the first introduction in either (hence I started by myself). Likewise I find it shocking that kids only begin to learn to read and write in the first grade (from age 6 in most countries) while it could easily be taught fro 4 or 5 years old. 95% of children in Belgium go to (free) kindergarten from 3 years old, so it's not unreasonable. Compulsory education should start from 3 or 4 years old and children should already start to read then.

    I am also dismayed that even in a multilingual country like Belgium foreign language learning only truly start from secondary school (12 years old) and, in my experience, the teaching methods were utterly antiquated and inefficient (far too theoretical, too much emphasis on grammar and rare exceptions). Language specialists almost all agree that the earlier one starts to learn a language the easier it is to acquire it. The first foreign language should be taught from age 6 or before. Then the second and third can come in secondary school, since there wouldn't be enough time at primary school. Then if after compulsory school people want to learn a fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh language, like I did, they can more easily do it on their own, as they already have the experience of learning several languages. For example I taught myself Japanese in my twenties.

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    Maciamo: You will not find any argument with me. I agree that languages could/should be taught from an early age. Unfortunately, as Australia has no land borders with another country, this has been a very low priority. And which language/s to teach? Our trading partners are diverse; USA, China, Japan, Indonesia and other South East Asian countries-so where do we start?
    I have never had such classes as woodwork, metalwork, cooking or the like. It's not part of the curriculum in many countries.
    I think, in this area, we have it right. Not all students will go on to academia and those who won't need some basis for the job they will choose to take up. Australian schools also teach typing, Technical Drawing and some even teach basic motor mechanics. My main beef is with the lack achievement in basic subjects such a Reading, History, Geography and English, the very basics of any job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toyomotor View Post
    Maciamo: You will not find any argument with me. I agree that languages could/should be taught from an early age. Unfortunately, as Australia has no land borders with another country, this has been a very low priority. And which language/s to teach? Our trading partners are diverse; USA, China, Japan, Indonesia and other South East Asian countries-so where do we start?
    I didn't say that everybody should learn the same foreign language at school. It would be much better for everybody if children could choose the languages they learnt. If you have to learn a language you dislike, you won't learn much. Each language has its own personality and it is much better to choose a language that fits one's personality or one that we find attractive or useful. Motivation is the main motor of learning. Motivation comes from liking. Therefore it is better for students and teachers alike if students can choose the language they want to learn. It is also better for society as a whole if there is a wide range of languages spoken by workers. If all Australians were to learn, say German, there would be too many German speakers for business and very few for other languages. If some people learned Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Russian, then there would be no shortage of people who could do business or translations in those languages. Different languages also affect differently the way of seeing the world, creativity, understanding, etc. of the people who learn them, improving the "overall open-mindedness" of society. However you look at it, it is a good thing for schools to propose a wide choice of foreign languages to their students (as early as possible).

    I think, in this area, we have it right. Not all students will go on to academia and those who won't need some basis for the job they will choose to take up. Australian schools also teach typing, Technical Drawing and some even teach basic motor mechanics. My main beef is with the lack achievement in basic subjects such a Reading, History, Geography and English, the very basics of any job.
    There are less jobs in academia than in technical or manual fields. However, I still believe that everybody should have a sound basic knowledge of things like geography and history, whatever their orientation. It's like good manners, it shouldn't depend on what you studied, but be learned by everyone.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Most importantly, I think the best education is the one that teaches to constantly question everything. Classes should be structured around making the world a better place in every sense, what it means to be a global citizen, understanding ideologies and the misunderstandings that result from them. Students should be taught to listen to their own bodies, minds, and spirits by meditating. They should also be taught to always remember they are all one people, regardless of race, gender, orientation, nationality, income, or any other barrier.

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