Old School Meets New School
As the years go by, it has become more and more common to hear the argument of how the South African schooling system is outdated. The idea is that education in both public and private schooling systems is failing to prepare children adequately for real world work and business. Unfortunately, our school system still fails our children where it matters most – inspiring them to keep learning.
While the quantity of available education is steadily increasing, it is happening at the expense of quality. This has led to a generation of worried children who are pressured to perform well and consistently, with little consideration for their strengths and weaknesses. The teacher-centred instruction approach is still firmly entrenched in the current education system. This approach boxes children into strict categories that do not encourage the development of their complex problem solving skills or creative thinking.
Grouping children by age, instead of ability, has led to a large number of learners being promoted to the next grade. In many cases, these learners should rather be kept back to grasp concepts and fundamentals before moving onto more complicated work. The result of sparing these children the distress of being kept back a year is that at least 47% of all learners will drop out of school by Grade 10, and of those that stay on, only around 78% will pass matric. In a climate like South Africa, that sees a huge number of young people unemployed, the need for change here is undeniable!
One approach to addressing this situation is to shift the focus from a teacher- to a learner-focused schooling system. This approach would strive to put children in an environment where they feel motivated. This enables students to realise the skills that best suit them and to excel in them so that by the time they leave school, they have solid training for a particular career. Children will then be able to apply their abilities to problem solving and think creatively.
Digital learning is one example of learner-focused instruction. e-Learning principles, like video-based learning, have proven to be extremely useful for keeping learners motivated. The idea here is not to replace schooling with digital learning, but that it would form part of a variety of methodologies that are used to keep learning fresh. This is just one way in which we can start becoming more innovative in our schooling to keep learners motivated.