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Sun, 08 Mar 2015

Dead Ends in Education
dead end

In exploration, one doesn't usually get a warning about dead ends.

That makes it important to understand how to react. In games, the person playing backs up and tries a new path which, with luck, even leads to a new level.

In education, we don't often organize things that way. Teachers and students too often face the dead end and make no effort to back up and seek the alternate path. Instead, we abandon our effort. We accept our grade as final. For the teacher, that means we've done our job. Other students "got" the content. The ones who didn't, well...

Students observe their peers. They observe their teachers. The other kids got it. The teacher is "satisfied." The failed learners accept the judgements of the situation.

The structure of schooling works against us, too. Mastery is the "goal", but maybe mastery is achieved well enough if it occurs in a majority of a class. The bell curve has lost its early glamor and isn't always used these days to apply grades, but it still has some influence on schooling decisions.

bell curve

True, a learner may attempt an entirely different game, but we accept the closure of the path where the "failure" grade stopped us. In the worst cases, a student/learner will get so many stop signs that he or she will accept the failures and adopt the "stupid" designation. What a tragedy.

stop sign

posted at: 11:43 | path: | permanent link to this entry