Monday, September 9, 2013

An Education

This week, interesting comments from Barbara.

Barbara is currently studying hard to achieve her diploma in early childhood development.  At the same time, she is beginning another year of teaching a preschool class.  After a year of running a Kindergarten in China, we came back to Canada and she is at it again, this time with Canadian children and no language barriers to jump.

Barbara challenged the first year of her diploma by paying for and writing a pretty intense test.  She bought the books and studied them for months and then took the test in July.  In the end, she got a pretty decent mark that allowed her to skip a bunch of courses, thus saving her time and us money.

Though Barbara couldn't help but feel a little off about the whole process.  She felt that she would have had a better grade on the multiple choice test if it wasn't for all of the sneaky wording in the questions. It seems that the test was purposely trying to trick her into picking the wrong answer.  So she left feeling confused and uncertain and in the end and it was not the score that she had hoped for (though it was a very good score).

Maybe this isn't a surprise for you college people.  Perhaps it's just the way things work.  For us, we've been away from school for quite some time and it seemed odd (and frustrating) to us that this school would use the test as a money grab.  I mean, the lower her mark is, the more courses she will have to pay for, so I guess good for them for finding a way to make some cash.

And I don't mean to brag too much here, but when it comes to teaching children, Barbara knows her stuff.  I would say that she is properly equipped to teach in a Kindergarten right now.  The problem is that the degrees and the diplomas are what people see.  They are the hoops that Barbara must jump through.  She will continue to go through the motions, but I just thought it worth pointing out the fact that there is a dollar to be made in every area.  People want to teach you, but they need to do it their way so that you pay enough money to them to make it worth their while to teach you.  If Barbara would have aced the test (She got a solid B, which isn't bad at all) then they would miss out on all of the fees she would have not had to pay for the courses she had already challenged and passed.  Tricky little system.

The other interesting note is that Barbara is learning about new systems of teaching kids.  The systems are designed to help kids learn and grow through playing, interacting with their classmates, isolating and encouraging growth in their specific abilities, and basically staying active and involved in the class.  They are trying to move away from the traditional way of educating kids, like when kids have to sit all day long in their desks and then fill out the answers in their books.  So logically, one could say that the system is trying new things because the old ways just aren't good enough anymore.

The ironic thing in all of this, as Barbara pointed out, is that they are using the old, traditional system to teach her the ways of the new system.  She sits and reads and then fills out her books. It's funny that they are teaching her new ways of learning through the old method.  I guess these things take time. It's a system and systems are called systems for a reason.

This all reminded me that it takes time for change.  Systems, and people for that matter, are pretty stubborn things.  It takes patience to mould and make them into something new.  I would say that there are a lot of systems in the world that are in need of reformation.  In fact, I think that it would be a good thing for everyone to seek out a system, something that needs "a new paint job" so to speak, and give some effort into help shaping it into something new.

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