“I wished I had better teachers during my study of (insert hated subject here). I could have had a whole different perspective and attitude towards the subjects I hated.”
Sounds familiar? How many of you wished you had a better Math teacher? Or wished u had a different outlook on “boring history”?
This seems to be especially true with people that are educated in Asian countries or those that have attended more traditional forms of schooling.
Very often, conversations like these end up with one either blaming the “undedicated” teacher or “inefficient” schooling systems as the cause of the problem. Unfortunately, this “blame game” is rarely fruitful by nature, since minimal effort is made to deconstruct the issue in order to find the actual source of the problem…
A Legion of So Called “Thinkers”
While our education system is advancing constantly, it is not evolving fast enough to catch up with the growth of modernity, which prizes creative and original ideas over knowing facts. Many people, especially those subjected to rote learning (classical/traditional methods) are victims of this and find problems coping with the new demands of our current world. This is due to the fact that the traditional system places greater emphasis on learning facts, not concepts. Scoring systems are based on how much a student can memorize from the textbook and then regurgitate the information back into exams.
We were trained to memorize and conditioned to think that knowing the facts is all there is, thus leading us to become “walking textbooks”. This “robotic” way of learning causes us to be “robot thinkers” too, resulting in limited creativity and unwillingness to think outside the box. The biggest irony is that we believe such methods produce deep thinkers but when in actual fact – all it’s doing is training us to remember the facts rather than actually learning to be a critical thinker.
Let’s Play a Little Game….
Before gaining an understanding of what our educational system is lacking, I want to conduct a simple experiment to show you the idea between fact and concept. Do bear with me.
I want you to visualize the word “HEART”.
You might have imagined something as simple as a heart shape:
Some perhaps even think about an ACTUAL human heart:
To the romantic few, maybe you think of love…
And to the unfortunate some (or maybe just dramatic), a broken heart:
The word “heart” can mean so many things and beyond, showing the many concepts of what it can be. Our concepts of things vary, henceforth from that simple experiment, we can observe that many people have differing meaning for one word. This my friends, are called “concepts” – the abstract idea of knowledge. The application of concept is essentially connecting one’s idea to an object in order to gain a “bigger picture” of things, rather than just accepting cold hard facts.
Digging Beyond the Surface
Tying back to what I mentioned before about our educational systems, many of us who are traditionally educated weren’t exactly encouraged to understand ideas like that. Many of us are able to define ideas, but lack the ability to evaluate and create. While knowing the facts provide foundation, not promoting critical thinking skills will result in creating the aforementioned “robotic thinkers”. Referring back to the top, even when discussing problems, we habitually take the easy way out by only scraping the surface. The lack of asking conceptual questions to established facts has made us very lazy thinkers.
We want to mould a generation of independent and resourceful thinkers. People who are able to differentiate, appraise and develop. Conceptual thinking heavily promotes an inquisitive attitude which develops leadership, inventiveness and from there, the ability to solve unique problems.
I would like to urge all readers to heavily consider if the old ways are still relevant in these fast moving times. And also, if we as the current policy makers, educators, voters, parents and so on, are putting enough thought into the issue at hand to create a better future. It is clear to me that we should learn to break away from standard practice and challenge the future! I am not denying the importance of factual learning as it provides foundation, but am criticizing our lack of effort in educating the importance of knowledge. Instead of focusing on the whats, wheres and whens, we should teach our kids to think… why? or how? From there, we can let their creative young minds lead the way.
As an attempt to improve this, BeED strives to bring learning beyond the textbook. We refuse to be lazy when it comes to conceptualizing education. Approaching learning with facts is not enough; we enhance it to become a form of experience, one that sees knowledge not only as just a valuable asset, but as a way to shape a versatile and evolving mind.
Find out more at www.beedtheworld.com
- Armstrong, Patricia. “Bloom’s Taxonomy.” Center for Teaching. Vanderbilt University, n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017.
- Cartoon Broken Heart. Digital image. Imageseditor. Red Dove Cartoon, n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.
- Heart Font Awesome. Digital image. Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.
- Hodan, George. Heart of Love. Digital image. Public Domain Pictures. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.
- Modak, Kaustav Das. “Concepts vs Facts.” Kaustav Das Modak. N.p., 20 Feb. 2015. Web. 03 Feb. 2017.
- Sweetland, Robert. “Facts, Concepts, and Generalizations.” Home of Bob. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017.
- Wilson, Leslie Owen. “5 Basic Types of Questions.” The Second Principle. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017.
- Wood, William B. “Teaching Concepts Versus Facts in Developmental Biology.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. American Society for Cell Biology, 2008. Web. 03 Feb. 2017.