We should really prepare students for university
February 16, 2013
I don't think we are doing a good enough job of preparing high school students for the university experience. We need to do more!
- We should increase class sizes in high school up to 500, so that students get the experience of being in a large lecture hall. We may want to ease students into this experience, so we should gradually increase up to 500 students per class, perhaps at 20 students a year. Working backwards, this would mean we should start with kindergarten class sizes of 260 students.
- We should make high schools larger. No more measly 2,000-student high schools. They should have 20,000 to 40,000 students at least!
- We should hire mostly teachers who have little formal training in teaching and are mostly interested in pursuing their own research. The lowest level classes in the school should be taught by graduate students with little to no teaching experience.
- We should reduce summative assessment in our schools to two exams per semester and use little to no formative assessment. If the students do not understand, they need to study more.
- If our students are struggling, we should just keep putting them into remedial courses until they drop out. Why would we offer them any support? They will be on their own in university!
- We should charge students ever increasing amounts for tuition and force students to take out gigantic student loans in order to complete high school if they cannot afford to pay.
- We should drop all of the 'soft' courses from our schools. Students do not need to take home economics, planning 10, or shop class. We should also make physical education optional. After all, our job is to prepare students minds for academia, not prepare them for life.
- We need to teach students how to navigate depersonalized bureacracy. Therefore we should make high school as depersonalized and bureacratic as possible.
- We should encourage our high school students to drink, so that we can replicate the drinking cultures prevalent on many university campuses.
(Or maybe we should stop backwards designing from university and instead focus on building effective practice, whether or not it "prepares students for university"?)
David is a mathematics teacher and a learning specialist for technology at Stratford Hall in Vancouver, BC. He has been teaching since 2002, and has worked in Brooklyn, London, and Bangkok before moving back to Canada. He has his Masters degree in Educational Technology from UBC, and is the co-author of a mathematics textbook. He has been published in ISTE's Leading and Learning, Educational Technology Solutions, The Software Developers Journal, The Bangkok Post and Edutopia. He blogs with the Cooperative Catalyst, and is the Assessment group facilitator for Edutopia. He has also helped organize the first Edcamp in Canada, and TEDxKIDS@BC.