Ken Robinson’s lecture video “Changing Educational Paradigms” discusses the education system and points to how it must undergo major changes since established in the 19th century. Robinson claims that students lack the motivation to continue their education beyond high school, due in large part to standardized testing. Since some students perform poorly on tests, Robinson believes that the system should stray away from standardized testing and instead teach kids in a more engaging and collaborative way, in hopes that they retain the information better. Robinson also shares his opinions on ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and how there is an increase in the number of kids being diagnosed with this “fictitious” disorder.
In response to Robinson’s suggestion of moving away from standardized testing, I can say that I am in favor of this shift. Fostering classroom environments that encourage more divergent thinking, collaboration with peers, and engaging conversation would benefit students greatly. That said, change is built over time through core teaching values, and it takes a lot of dedication and commitment. It is not something that can happen overnight.
Generally, classrooms are a place for social change. They provide a stimulating setting for young people to absorb new ideas. One of the most important roles for a teacher is to help students develop the critical thinking, collaboration, troubling knowledge, and self-reflection skills. I also believe that pushing students to work collaboratively with one another is extremely important because it builds strong character, encourages perseverance, and challenges young ones to tackle difficult problems through their own leadership and ideas from their peers because it promotes active thinking.
No child is the same. Children are diverse thinkers. When kids work in groups, they are forced to think critically and can actively participate in sharing their ideas with others. I feel as though nowadays, teachers would really see a difference in the classroom as whole and a difference in their students work individually if they were to start moving away from long lectures and repetitive note taking and focus more on creating an interactive environment that encourages student collaboration. This clears a path for more open discussions that stimulate free-flowing ideas and conversations. Classrooms that are strictly based on tests and passing these tests can negatively affect students learning. I know in my years of schooling that I felt as if these teachers didn’t even care about us and cared more about teaching the material required and us having to pass these tests otherwise it would reflect on him/her. What about us? That’s not fair to us. We shouldn’t have to feel that way. I think that once teachers are able to provide a learning environment that makes students comfortable, they will be rewarded with more thoughtful discussions, opinions, and perspectives.
Robinson also touches on the ADHD epidemic in his video. I disagree with Robinson’s view that ADHD is “fictitious” because some kids really do struggle on an ever day basis to focus, sit still, and stay on task. I believe that ADHD is a real disorder, and there are children out there with it. I do agree with his assessment that “These kids are being medicated as routinely as we have our tonsils taken out”. Children are being diagnosed with ADHD more so now than ever before and then being medicated for something they might not even have. Just because a student can’t sit still, gets distracted in class easily, or struggles to do one thing at a time doesn’t automatically warrant them medication for ADHD. Often times this can be attributed to everyday child behavior that can be improved through different (more engaging) methods of teaching.
Robinson’s take on ADHD begs the question: What child can sit still for more than two minutes? As stated previously, I do not think ADHD is fictitious, but I do believe that it is misdiagnosed often. Speaking from personal experience, I have a family friend in middle school that struggles to focus. He often moves his feet or taps his pen on the table during and after an exam. As a result, his teacher removed him from the classroom for being disruptive, and he was forced to sit on his hands. Soon after, this same teacher recommended he get checked for ADHD. In my opinion, teachers should find new ways of engaging with these students and not be so quick to send them for an ADHD diagnosis. Another moment of interest for me in Robinson’s lecture video is when he states: “ADHD has risen in parallel with the growth of the standardized testing”. All kids learn differently, whether it’s through visuals, presentations, auditory supplements, or tests. I think that sometimes, written tests are not an accurate form of determining a student’s intellectual level on a subject. Back in high school, I was never good at taking tests. I could study a week in advance and still do poorly. Written tests were never my strong suit, but presentations, projects, and auditory exams were.
What is the best way to get students to want to learn what you have to teach? In my personal opinion, I think the best way to stimulate students’ minds is through collaborative work and activities, including Kahoot!, matching games, bingo, and other learning devices platforms. I think that these methods of teaching can spark a desire in kids’ to learn and enjoy the process. Teachers should actively adjust and change their teaching styles to keep kids motivated, engaged, and alert. My final question is as follows: How can you find out what students know or what they struggle with without implementing standardized tests? I think that teachers can and should hold small reviews with students to go over what they have learned and then assess from there. If a student is struggling, then the teachers should look to spend additional time on that particular topic.