I’m Motivated…..Now what do I do?

This last class seemed to spark quite the debate between many individuals.  Writing for this week is a little bit more difficult than it was for the previous week, as I feel that a lot of what I have to say was shared during class and there is no need to hurt this horse any further.  However, I guess that is the point of the blog.  The interwebs are not aware what went on inside our classroom and it is our job as students, learners, and researchers to explain that to those who didn’t have the privilege of being with us.  Ah-ha!  Now I see.

I strongly agree with the statement that the education system is broke, or in death valley as Sir Ken Robinson says in his TED Talk.  However, I also agree with his statement that similar to death valley, underneath the surface of our education system lies a beautiful bed of wildflower seeds and if we only water them, we will be amazed.  The difficulty behind this, of course, is that the answer is a complete overhaul to the education system K-Ph.D.  Now that’s a term, K-Ph.D.  Why is education or leaning so successful for Ph.D students?  Because we want to learn?  Because we understand how to learn?  I feel it is because we are motivated to learn.  We understand the wealth of knowledge available to us and we try to soak up as much as we can as we make our small dent in the knowledge of society.  The answer is simple then, teach all individuals as Ph.D students!  How do we engage kindergartners and seniors in high school so that they push the envelope for themselves instead of having it sealed around them?  How do we create students who yearn to learn instead of striving towards a piece of paper your parents told you would make life easier?  Just like any other revolution, it starts from the ground up.

Now I am not asking people to signup to revolt against higher education or even education as a whole, just simply noticing that the system is broken is important enough.  The conversations need to start at community barbecue’s that the issue isn’t that little Johnny’s history teacher is older than age itself, the issue is that he is standing in front of a group of children trying to shove material into their heads while not allowing them to process what he is saying because as the teacher, he has material that he has to cover for the upcoming assessment.  I know we are talking about assessments at a later period, so I will leave this here for now.

Once conversation starts in communities, we need education on how people learn.  I think one of the largest issues is not class size, or lack of technology, it’s the fact that we as adults believe that the best way to convey material is to stand and deliver.  If we continue down this path and continue to remove creativity from the classroom and problem based learning, we will be left with a group of individuals who test well, but have zero skills to be used in the real-world.

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4 comments

  1. A. Nelson · September 4, 2015

    Here here! I wonder if the success you ascribe to the PhD experience has something to do with the fact that many people who take on the PhD are intrinsically motivated — they like to learn and are interested in learning new things. They somehow escaped having the curiosity drummed out of them by the “millions of children left behind” approach that Robinson laments. Sounds to me like you are motivated and you’ve figured out what to start?

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  2. Betsy Haugh · September 8, 2015

    The old saying goes, the first step is recognizing/admitting there is a problem. I think you’ve done this here and are probably in a position many find themselves in – wanting to make the educational system better, but struggling to know how to do so. I agree with Dr. Nelson’s comment about intrinsic motivation and think it is extremely key. We chose to continue our education and there must be a reason why we did so. It drives me crazy when members of my cohort complain about a simple weekly response item or blow off readings… Why did you choose to go back to school if you weren’t willing to do the work?!? I really enjoyed this blog post, and maybe through collaboration and the sharing of ideas in this class we can develop a plan or starting point of where to go next to help education get out of death valley.

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    • zachd1 · September 8, 2015

      Yes, please! I know the idea of changing the world comes up frequently on blogs, it is quite easy to hide behind a keyboard. However, I believe that we can equip a group of individuals with the ability to change the way people think, and hopefully those people go on to do great things and more and more individuals begin to question the concepts that have been presented to them as fact.

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  3. G. Purdy · September 8, 2015

    This is a realization that I had last year in that we need some serious changes in our educational systems to adapt to the current generation of learners. If we continue to educate using many of the same methods which have been around for over a hundred years, then we are probably missing a few opportunities to incorporate new technologies and approaches. Plus I feel that a little revolution can be healthy, the peaceful kind of course.

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