All children can learn
A first impression of outcomes based education is that all children can learn. (if they've been given enough time!) By looking at this statement on its own I guess it could be true. All children can learn something, but in outcomes based education this statement means that all children can learn everything they are expected to learn!
A little far fetched?
This really sounds encouraging until it is scrutinized. I believe that there are students who simply do not have the ability to learn trigonometry properly or perhaps a foreign language. To make a statement that all students can master high school physics is a little far fetched, let alone suggest that all students can master a foreign language is beyond belief. The people who write and prepare the outcomes based education applications are well aware of this, yet they continue to push the statement "all children can learn." I agree that children can learn anything, if their minds are set on learning any particular topic but wouldn't it be better to encourage and direct children in their areas of strength, rather than bogging them down with unnecessary generalized curriculum?
I believe the reason the people behind the 'outcomes' continue with their statement that all children can learn under the outcomes based education system is because when you take a really long, hard look at the system there is no core of academics for which they will be responsible.
The main focus
The main focus of the outcomes based education applications is founded on social behaviours that will enable children to function at a minimal, dependent level firstly at school, secondly in the labour market once they reach that level.
Do we really want everybody literate?
The traditional concept of literacy deals with the ability to read and write. But are children really encouraged to read and write when they work mostly with a word processor or hand-held calculators? How much emphasis is placed these days on neat, accurate hand-writing? What happens when power fails and check-outs go down? What happens when forms need to be correctly filled in? I'm sure most of us have encountered such absurd situations where people had to use their brains and calculate how much you needed to pay for your groceries. When a twenty year old postal worker needs a calculator to work out how much two $0.45 cent stamps are plus three one dollar stamps, you really should feel sorry for them. Do Governments of this world really want everybody literate or academically able?
Dependability of the people
One thing I've noticed in this world and is being more pronounced these days is that many large businesses and companies, have moved their manufacturing operations to areas where many poorly educated labourers live. This does not mean stupid labourers by any means. These companies are starting to rely on dependability of the people and not on their general educational level, although a small group of highly educated, creative people is essential for innovation and expansion of the company.
Discrimination and changing values
Ending discrimination and changing values are probably more important than reading, writing and arithmetic. In order for governments to keep a pool of cheap labourers available they need to ensure that many students don't get educated. As long as the masses are poor and uneducated, the small group of highly educated, creative people can control them and have the kind of life they want.
Stop being time-based
I'm encouraging people to get their children's brains into gear and get them learning more than the values and social issues pushed through the curriculum framework under the name of outcomes based education. I believe that the following change needs to happen if the system is going to be seriously outcomes based. Teachers have to stop being time-based. They simply don't have the time. WHY! Because they are still curriculum based.
Take time to learn
Outcomes based education means freedom to teach, time to teach, time to learn, relax, enjoy and achieve the outcomes set before you. Not place work in front of students and not give enough time to finish it properly, and no time to enjoy what they are learning.
Even many home school parents still fall into the trap of being too curriculum based! For sure... follow a curriculum, a set of standards, a set routine... but take your time. Allow students to take their time to finish their tasks. Quite often my children will only complete one worksheet over the entire morning. I mean from 9 am till noon!
But did you know that in one worksheet they will cover Maths, English, Science, Technology, Art and quite often environmental issues, health related areas and more. HOW! True outcomes based education is simply like that. Obtaining the right learning material is the key!
Libraries are bursting with books
So, I encourage you again to help your students learn in an interesting way. Not with boring books that have been dusted of year after year, decade after decade. Yes, we need books but hey... the libraries are bursting with them. Take a look around, there is more to learning than the set "approved" curriculum from your education "approved" department store. Ok.. I'm probably treading on some people's toes here... but you have to admit if you are like everybody else in this world and you have children. You want the best education for them... right?
Recently I had a look in a school's resource room, wow! Incredible dinosaur stuff! What used to send me to sleep as a kid thirty years ago these teachers were still using... and they wondered why their students were half asleep. Many schools are changing which is great to see, keep it up if you are one of those.
If you have taken on the wonderful job of teaching your children yourself, I suggest that you visit your library every week. If you can afford to buy new books on a regular basis... great, but there is nothing wrong with borrowing books and anything else libraries have available.
Resources on the Internet
There are many educational resources available on the Internet. These can be useful but also very time consuming to find. Some online educational activities are click after click and so on. You know what I mean? For ever waiting and getting no-where! Children hate those pages as much as adults do. Please don't torment your kids with these, give them the big flick. Find material that is easily navigated, no more than two or three clicks away and where kids don't have to wait for a new page to load for every mathematical sum, each word they type or every picture they see.
Some worksheets on the Internet are what I call not very thought provoking. These type of worksheets are not even worth printing and if you have them ready for next week, re-consider using them for scrap paper and take another look around. Look for interesting worksheets, covering varying topics, that have at least one graphic, simple... yet brain teasing.
I enjoyed writing this and I hope you enjoyed reading it. I know that some may not agree with some of the statements made but the whole idea of communication is to voice ones opinion right or wrong hopefully more right than wrong, that is the way we all learn, bouncing ideas and knowledge off each other and of course studying other written works on the subject.
Rom 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
© 2003 Griggs I. M. - Teaching Treasures Publications Other Articles by Ingrid Griggs