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The Biggest Problem with Schools

On 10, May 2013 | 3 Comments | In Education | By Daniel Kao

The biggest problem with schools isn’t the industrial system of standardization that most education reformers are saying. The industrial system is a big problem, but the problem of the industrial system is rooted in a much deeper problem.

The deeper underlying reason then, is that most of the time students aren’t given a motivating reason to attend school.

In the a video that recently went viral, Jeff Bliss stands up in the classroom to a teacher that wasn’t teaching effectively. Bliss, like any other high school student in the United States, didn’t see the point in doing worksheets.

Telling students that attending school gives them a better future isn’t a sufficient reason.

What students need isn’t a reason, but passion and purpose. When a student finds their passion and purpose, and isn’t afraid to fully go after it, students can learn no matter what system they find themselves in. Having a passion and purpose will allow students to make their own reasons for learning in every situation.

But instead of helping students cultivate passion and purpose, schools bombard students with a system that doesn’t value who they are as individuals, forcing everyone into one size regardless of who they are.

Not many students will care whether their school looks like a factory or not, but every student is looking for passion and purpose in life that they can spend their lives learning and doing.

It’s time the system stopped neglecting that.

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  1. Hi daniel, saw your chat with Ryan on iamahero. Very cool, you are tackling a massive problem and that is inspiring. I don’t know if this is new to you or not however there was are group of school reformers 30-40 years ago who, headed up by John Holt explored some of the same inovations you talked about on the show. After fully implementing an “open classroom” (free studio) they found teachers could still not please parents in area of reporting and without parents will the project could not continue. His recomendation at that point in time was for people who wanted a healthy education option to do it at home. The reason i write to you is because there are already adults who have come through this method and a generation of teachers who have experimented on their own kids to learn from. “The unschoolers unmanual” is a book i read and recommend as a good starting point if you are interested in seeing what has come before us. I really think “unschooling school reform” could have had an amazing impact if there was internet back in the 70’s and the will and technology is really at the tipping point for real change. I wish you all the best!

    • Cara,

      Thanks for the encouragement, it really means a lot to me that there are people who believe in tackling the same problem. I have heard of the book “The unschooler’s unmanual”, but have not read it yet. Learning from individuals in the past is extremely valuable, so thanks for the recommendation!

      I agree, the day and age of technology that exists today provides a very exciting and hopeful future as we are able to do things and connect people in ways that previous generations could not even dream of.

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