Why should students and pupils wear blindfolds? In another blog i mentioned the strange fact that education (or at least teaching in schools) many times is done in an blindfold-fashion: students are supposed to solve tasks without aids we otherwise use or ”study” in situations that are designed to practice skills in a way that is totally unique to schools. Since I mentioned this I have encountered it many more times (as so often happens when you get engaged in something).
- A boy is sitting in school by his computer trying to write a text and is having troubles with his spelling. A guest asks the boy if he couldn’t use Google translate or the spell check in the computer. The boy quickly replies that it’s not allowed.
- A girl is doing her homework on a list of concepts in social-science: ”parliament”, ”freedom of speech”, ”electoral system”. All of the concepts are supposed to be explained by reading a number of texts where the concepts are presented. When presented with the opportunity with to discuss the concepts with her father, the university scholar, she replies ”It would only complicate things, it’s the definitions in the textbook they’re after”
- A class is doing a test in electromagnetics, individual tests, students i rows with formularies as their only support.
We are like a desert tribe used to living in a water scarce environment who suddenly find themselves in a situation where there is an abundance of water, they continue to solve problems as if water still was a precious commodity even when it’s not. -One of the pre-conditions of education has been the fact that information and ”knowledge” is scarce and hard to come by and we continue to educate and teach as if it still was. I think the best proof of this is that we still educate our kids as if they will have to memorize large parts of the things they learn in order to repeat or recall further down the road. What we should encourage is the ability to analyse, synthesize, communicate, create… rather than than the ability to store information. It is important to improve our memory but there are far more efficient techniques for that, it’s a learning skill in itself.
Some schools and many teachers have managed to make the transition and turn the concept upside down. They use all available aids at all times, in all situations and develop the methods of evaluating and assessment to fit this. It’s in fact a clever way to develop pedagogy, when we encourage open source learning we also encourage more qualified learning situations where relevant skills are required. It’s a positive approach and it’s a respectful one where we try to develop real life skills rather than school skills.