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Out of the box!

What is it about being stuck in our boxes? We all have them, of course. Did you ever get free of one of yours, and suddenly realize just how blind you were to the limitations before? The traditional education system has been stuck in its box for a long time. The box is actually getting smaller. Schools used to have a good idea of what to do with those kids who weren't traditional "book learners." They'd get them into apprenticeships, work study programs, and vocational training. Great teachers once had the freedom to work with those kinesthetic learners, to help them be creative while learning. But the increasing focus on standardized testing has not fared well for those kids. If they can't score well on the tests, let's give them more traditional class time in an attempt to make them fit in the box.

Except they still don't fit... Since leaving the traditional public education system, I've seen such diversity and originality in education, both online and in alternative schooling situations. Those kinesthetic learners don't have to sit still quietly for 7 hours a day to learn! They can move and still learn. Those kids who are excelling in a traditional learning environment don't have to wait until after 12th grade to start exploring career training or college. Some are getting a year or two of college done before they graduate. The learner who needs a little more time and flexibility to grasp new concepts can get it without pressure and frustration.

We have to get back to teaching the child, not the curriculum. Education should help the child become who he's meant to be, working with his gifts and talents - not against them. Sure, there are still the basics to learn, but does every kid have to use the same book and same approach? Not in this day and age! Technology and options give us such a wide open canvas on which to draw. Technology and options blast open the boxes.

It's time to educate our kids outside the box.

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