This article is a paean to bad educational practices. “Real world” problems. Just get kids together with a real problem and they’ll learn what they need to learn to solve it. Sounds nice, and those that practice it find ways to make it seem like it’s working. Many parents know better. So do many teachers, but given that they want to keep their jobs, they keep their mouths shut.
“It all starts with a problem—a real problem like saving ocean species, global warming or the dangers of using plastic bags.
“As students get into exploring the depth of the problem and identifying possible solutions, they research the problem, interview experts, and present results in concise, highly readable and visual forms demonstrating their abilities to communicate. They are engaged, learning skills, gaining the knowledge and expertise the workforce is looking for. It totally changes how they learn and the teachers teach. As Ben Johnson, a career educator, put it for the educational website Edutopia:
” “Great teachers do not teach. They stack the deck so that students have a reason to learn and in the process can’t help but learn mainly by teaching themselves. This knowledge then becomes permanent and cherished rather than illusory and irrelevant.”
So there you have it. Any kind of educational practice other than constructivist, project-based, student-centered, inquiry-based BS is “illusory and irrelevant”.
And why is it that parents pay for Kumon, Huntington, Sylvan and other learning centers, as well as tutors, that use the illusory and irrelevant approach? Could it be because it works?