Having a daughter, who sat assessments at age 7, had to go through rigorous 11+ exams to get into the next school and will soon be facing GCSE, AS and the choice between A-level and International Bacc, while at the same time already applying for Uni ...
Having an eleven year old son who has been sitting pretests and was interviewed for schools that maybe take him on in 2 1/2 years (explain that to him!) ...
Being confronted with an exam culture that leaves parents and teachers exasperated and in straight jackets, I have gotten more and more frustrated. And mind you, I am getting frustrated with the top tier of schooling in this country, or to be fair and more accurate: with the mind set of politics that seems to hinder evolution and blocks brilliant teachers.
“…research shows that creativity can suffer when people are promised rewards for creative work, when learning conditions stress competition and social comparisons, or when individuals are highly aware of being monitored and evaluated by others. Conversely, creativity generally thrives in environments that support personal interest, involvement, enjoyment, and engagement with challenging tasks” —Beghetto & Kaufman, 2013
Recently I came across the immersive education start up AltSchool. They are trying to make education customisable, immersive and non-restrictive as well as scalable. Non of their ideas are, on their own, cutting edge (I am no expert but there is a bit of Steiner, Montessori and Dewey etc to be found). However, putting them all together and employing digital tools to transform education could be a step in the right direction.
There is so much out there that could push the educational boundaries - starting with Apps, tablets, digital books, e learning, computer programs etc. It’s become increasingly clear that integrating technology into traditional education is vital to make students fit for the 21st century and all it has to offer, and all there is to get on with!
However much schools here in the UK use these devises though, it seems to me that they only transfer old fashioned teaching onto a new devise (as demanded by the rigorous exam culture).
This centralised exam culture in the UK and the focus on introducing more and more tests is stopping schools to move into the 21st century as well as ignoring a holistic approach to learning which, instead of bringing us forward, denies children to understand the world and its subject in an altogether more 'organic' way.
In our world the Renaissance man of the past is not possible anymore, but we should not deny our kids (and teachers!!) an interdisciplinary approach, aided by technology. Otherwise they will loose the connection and understanding of so much that is going on out there and we will end up with disciplines that do not know how to interact with each other.
Here is a link to the Altschool website and a link to a graduate school, the Makeschool that also tries something a little bit different. Exciting!!!!!