Does a School Teach or Restrict?

Does a School Teach or Restrict?

Lucas Marble, Contributor

Do you sometimes feel as if school just wastes your time? Do you sometimes feel as if you’re learning things that don’t matter to you? Some people believe that the school education system is as good as it can get. However, others believe that the schooling system is outdated and needs to be modified greatly. While the education system does its job, it could definitely use some major refinements. School does not provide the most useful form of education for its lack of diversity in teaching style, material that is not helpful, and terrible rules that are enforced.

The lack of diversity in teaching style makes the education system fail. Not every student learns in the exact same way. Some students learn faster while others learn slower. Some are assessed better with projects, but others are assessed better with tests and exams. Lectures work for some students; on the other hand, more interactive lessons work better for others. Some schools don’t even create learning environments that help students with disabilities, like ASD and ADHD. Perhaps instead of grouping students by relative age, group them based off what type of education suits them in. Putting a student in an environment that does not suit them increases stress and self-doubt because of the idea that you have to get good grades or you will not be able to work properly in the real world. Say if a student who struggles with lectures and learns better with more interactive ways of learning, they might not be able to find what they truly want to pursue if they just don’t understand the material as well as they could. It might lead them to believe that they don’t belong in the world and they could stop caring about school and ignoring it. Of course, it isn’t entirely possible to create the perfect education system for absolutely everyone. Some students work better in environments that are the total opposite of others, and successfully making an environment for both is nearly impossible, as it is expensive, demanding, and time consuming. Nonetheless, the system needs to be improved or else students will feel like school is wasting their time.

A portion of the material that is taught in schools is also not useful for the students. Sure, reading, basic math, and the way the world works are very important to learn. However, some of the material will not be helpful in the future, especially depending on what the student wants to pursue. For example, someone who wants to focus on math and science probably does not need to understand the symbolism in Shakespearean plays, or someone who wants to pursue journalism and politics probably does not need to learn about physics. Now, some might say that college allows much more freedom in what you take. You can learn almost anything depending on what college you go to, and you don’t have to take classes you find useless. That’s true. What this statement fails to consider, however, is that since that college is after 13 years of learning, anything that the student doesn’t pursue is usually ignored for the rest of their life. Most people don’t even remember how to do things they learned in high school by the time they become fully grown up, making them believe that they wasted a ton of time during high school. Also, not everyone goes to college, and those who don’t won’t even get a chance to learn what they think is best for them at all, making it seem like even more of a waste of time. A student should have the option to choose more classes that they would find useful for what they are interested in for their future. Of course, not every student will be ready to choose, which is why it is totally fair to keep most of the classes, and just offer a much larger variety with more minor prerequisites.

Some of the material does not help the students; furthermore, some rules enforced in many schools do not help students as they hurt development of social skills and cooperation within the growing learner. The idea of not working together in class does not help very much when it comes to cooperation. Cooperation needs to be taught in school, as the next generation needs to know how to be a good partner and what it means to do their part. When I was in elementary school, cooperative work was very uncommon, and as a result everyone, including myself, didn’t learn how to be a good partner. To this day, I still strongly prefer to work by myself as it made me believe that nobody knows how to cooperate and it’s only going to lead to disagreement and unequal effort from all sides. And yes, it is totally okay to not have people talk during tests as they are more focused on having the students individually show what they know, and it would only hurt the student to get help from someone as that does not show what the student knows.  However, some schools even go as far as to say students are not allowed to talk outside of learning time, which further inhibits growth with social skills and interaction between students. For example, when it was dismissal time in elementary school, instead of talking with friends and waiting for my ride to be here, my school said that we had to stay in straight lines and we weren’t supposed to talk. They claimed that was to make it so that everyone could hear them, but honestly, it doesn’t take much to simply walk up to the person whose ride is there and tell them it’s there if they didn’t hear the teacher the first time. As someone who doesn’t really have good social skills, just waiting for the bus made me feel so uncomfortable and stressed, with the idea that simply talking with a friend would get me in trouble. Being loud and disrupting the area is one thing, but just having a normal conversation and hanging out with friends does not hurt anyone’s eardrums. Having no cooperation and being forced to listen to the person in charge without talking makes it almost look more like a factory, office, or the army, but it doesn’t feel like a school.

It is important to teach students the way that suits them the best and the skills that are most important to them as they are the future generation and need to learn as much necessary information and skills as possible in order to be ready for the real world. If we keep teaching them in ways that do not help everyone, they will get lost and be unable to escape the fog. However, it is important to improve the student’s experience as much as possible, allowing them to be able to take school more seriously.