Is Leesville failing us?

“The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind-creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers,” said Daniel Pink in his book A Whole New Mind. 

Hearing this poses the question: Is Leesville preparing us to be the kind of people the world is going to need 30 years from now?

Although there are certain subjects that will always be strictly memorization, such as math and science formulas, there is so much we’re only being taught to memorize, without being tested on our actual understanding of the material.  Being able to regurgitate information into a standardized test doesn’t show levels of creativity, problem solving, empathy, design ability, or even simple understanding. The only thing the tests we take prove are the fact that we can memorize exactly what the teacher told us we would need to get an ‘A’ on the test.

Leesville as a whole has above average test scores, and the rate of students who get into good colleges are average, but average is not enough on standardized tests. Test scores may get us into college, but they won’t make us the innovative and “right-brained” type of people the world will need. To be “right-brained” means that you have a visual thinking process, by looking first at the whole picture, then the details.

“The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind — computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers,” said Pink.

As society has changed, our school systems should have, too. We need to be forced to problem solve, to be taught empathy, to be innovative, to design, and to create, and most importantly, how to work with other people all over the world.

If it’s easy enough for me to understand that these changes are necessary, why is our school board not having the same epiphany? A major result of our changing society is outsourcing to other countries which requires the ability to work with a wide variety of people, who may not work the same way we do. The rare times we do group activities in class is not enough to allow us to understand and learn how to collaborate with one another.

Innovation of technology is a great example of how quickly things change, and how creative we will need to be. To get people to want to buy your product, it needs to be the coolest thing out there; something people haven’t seen before. Creative and innovative people from all over the world bring new ideas to life each day. These people are much more successful than people with “old school” school jobs, such as teachers, lawyers, and doctors.

How exactly should Leesville better prepare us, then? In an article written by Akevy Greenblatt, he says that the focus should be changed from memorization of facts to what the student knows, can do, and is like after the material is forgotten. He also states that grades should stop being averaged and should start to be based on understanding of what was learned. These are just a few of many ways that schools could possibly change the way they teach their students.

If the future truly does belong to a very different kind of person, then Leesville should be provide classes and opportunities for us to think beyond the smaller picture, and prepare us for the jobs we’ll be expected to preform later on in life, rather than make our test grades higher.


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