What's The Main Focus...?

May 20, 2008
By Gregory Anderson, Valdosta, GA

This article from Time magazine expresses the authors’ opinion that modern schools are very similar to those from fifty to one hundred years ago, and that teaching methods haven’t caught up to the rest of modern society. Wallis and Steptoe (such a funny last name) back their claim up by quoting important people in companies such as UPS and Sun Microsystems on what they need in new employees and how schools to not teach to these needs. Wallis and Steptoe also explain that one of the most valuable skills in the modern world is discerning the amount of truth in information sources.

I agree with this article. Too much focus in our schools is on detail, rather than applications. At one point in time I owned a paintball gun with an electronic trigger mechanism. Some time after studying electricity in 10th grade science the electronics in the marker fell apart, as things tend to do when they are put through the constant battering that paintball markers are exposed to. In an attempt to have my gun ready before playing the next day, I realized that though I had studied electricity and aced the test, I had no idea how to go about repair on electronics. In my quest to mend my marker I learned more than I had in several weeks of schooling, and realized that electronic repair, which can be very expensive, isn’t rocket science.

The point of that anecdote is that modern curriculums offer little in the means of applications and career skills, and focus too much on the details of intricate theory, rather than reinforcing and applying the basics in a way that is applicable outside of the classroom.

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