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"I believe that education is the civil rights issue of our generation." – U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, October 9, 2009

Archive for the tag “learning”

The Cave of Wonders: One Teacher’s Classroom and What It Can Tell Us About Sparking Passion In Students

There comes a point in a student’s education when they must pick a route to take in life. Some find difficulty in choosing a single major out of numerous appealing ones, while others struggle to find a major they find remotely interesting. So which is the better situation to be in? In my opinion, its better to have too many passions than none at all; after all, passion fuels success right?

I can’t help but find it concerning that there are students out there whose favorite subject is lunch. What does this say about our current education system? Perhaps we have taken the fun out of learning. As the pressure for straight A’s and competition for college admission increase, I think we can sometimes lose sight of what’s important: learning should be fun!

Kile Heilman, a passionate and popular middle school teacher has certainly embodied this concept. Heilman’s classroom is not your average classroom. Walking into the classroom is like walking into the cave of wonders–you’re engulfed by an abundance of treasures including artifacts, bones, models and displays. When I learned about Heilman’s classroom in the article Teacher Creates Museum Experience In Classroom I thought, “America needs more classrooms like this!”

This one-of-a-kind teacher’s innovative approach to learning invites exploration and allows children to dive deeper into subjects that that spark their interests. Holding, touching, and feeling real life objects from the past offers a learning experience that no textbook can provide; and it’s fun and interactive! If more classrooms were like Heilman’s I think we could instill greater passion for school subjects in young students. Then, when the time comes for them to choose a major in college, perhaps the only problem they will face is choosing a single major amongst many desirable ones.

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Glorious Mud-Pies: How Is Early Education Impacting Childhood?

A recent conversation with a family friend about their daughter’s education sparked my concern over early education. Their daughter, only 7 years old, is already learning Spanish. Qué?! I didn’t learn a word of Spanish until high school, and when I was that age writing a complete sentence was my challenge. Needless to say, this information took me by surprise. I thought, “What is this world coming to? What is happening to childhood?”

These questions ran through my mind once again after reading the article Bill Passed to Make Kindergarten Mandatory for 5-Year-Olds . Due to the passing of this bill, all 5-year-olds in New York City will be required to attend kindergarten.

This is certainly a good thing, in my opinion. It means that no 5-year-old can be denied enrollment into kindergarten, which sometimes occurs due to overcrowding in schools. I think that it is great that some responsibility is being taken to ensure that children start their education on time and actually go through kindergarten. The skills obtained during the first year in school set a foundation down for future learning. The kindergarten experience also gives children the opportunity to adapt to the routine of a school environment, working, sharing, and interacting with other children.

The resurfacing of my concern about the loss of childhood, after having read this article, may seem over dramatic or even irrelevant. However, 5-year-olds attending school is not what’s troubling–it’s what’s in store for young children years from now. Will preschool someday be mandatory for all children? Will three-year-olds reading chapter books become a common sight? Although that may be impressive, there is something unsettling about it. I am torn on the subject of early education. I think early education is important to children’s development and performance in school, but I also think it’s important that kids enjoy their childhood. Mud-pies and wild running children are sights I hope to see for the rest of my life.

So here comes the big question: how soon is too soon and how much is too much for children’s early education?

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