TW Viewpoint | Protecting Your Child from "Progressive" EducationJanuary 30, 2019 | Stuart Wachowicz
What can you do to protect your children from so called "progressive" education?
In two previous Tomorrow's World Viewpoints, "Do Schools Discriminate Against Boys" and "Crisis in Western Education," we highlighted several of the problems. Now, let's examine some solutions. One of the hallmarks of most current public education systems is the implementation of "constructivism" or "discovery learning" methods, which have been proven ineffective in empirical research. Discovery Learning works, but only when the learner has already developed a very substantial knowledge base. An unfortunate reality in all "progressive" education systems, is that reduced knowledge goals leave students at a disadvantage compared to foreign trained students. . In many school jurisdictions handwriting, grammar, phonetics, formal geometry, geography, comprehensive history, mental mathematics and memorization skills are no longer emphasized or encouraged
The world's leading experts in cognitive development link "discovery learning" strategies to educational failure.
So what can you do to help your child if he or she attends a public school caught up in "progressive" philosophy?
As a long-time educator and former school system administrator, I strongly recommend some steps you can take:
1. Give your child a strong knowledge base.
In an environment where schools are reducing knowledge outcomes, it falls to the parent to supplement the child's knowledge base. You can…
a) Teach your child phonetics, the code of pronunciation and reading. It will ensure your child can read early and also spell correctly. Many resources are available to assist, only one of which is: Phonetic Help for Parents - Oxford University Press.
b) Expand your child's Cultural Literacy. Dr. E.D. Hirsch (University of Virginia) wrote The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, which delineates a range of key elements of knowledge that will make for a well-rounded education. Its history section is oriented to the U.S., but Canadians for instance can supplement with other resources (some online) to ensure your children are knowledgeable and understand their heritage and history of their country. .
A solid awareness of heritage literature, history and geography is central to the future adult's ability to analyse and understand events and to make reasoned decisions. Such people are also an asset to any employer. Also,
c) Ensure your child is introduced to Geometry. Geometry is central to the development of Western mathematical thought, and is still the most powerful problem-solving tool in mathematics. Formal geometry is almost absent in many Western schools.
d) Foster Memorization Skills: The development of memory is the biggest contributing factor to increased attention span. Engaging children in family memory games, memorization of passages of literature or poetry etc. is a huge contributor to success in school and other endeavours.
2. Give your child experience in the real world. In this age schools encourage children to be immersed in technology and a virtual world even though studies warn of the dangers of excessive screen time. The young person will benefit from experiences in the intricate real world. So…
a) Let them experience the out-of-doors, and if possible encourage and teach them to work with self-replicating organic technology, i.e. plants, cats, birds etc. There are many excellent books helping students do experiments with plants, or gardening. Let them see and appreciate the natural world and its wonders.
b) Develop some manual skills. If opportunity permits, assist your child in developing skills in working with wood or other materials where they are interacting in three dimensions, not just the two-dimensional world of the computer screen.
3. Help your child develop confidence.
One of the reasons so many young people fall prey to peer pressure is due to a lack of confidence in their own ability. It is vital that your child develops skills that lead to a more positive development socially.
a) Encourage physical fitness. The development of a healthy and reasonably strong and flexible body is good for your child's confidence. A balanced approach to sports, both team and individual, is healthy. This along with ensuring good dietary habits, helping to avoid obesity, will be a lifelong benefit.
b) Help your child express himself or herself in public. This is a most important asset, and assists the student in expressing ideas and feelings clearly, politely and effectively. Parents can cultivate this developed skill by engaging their child in conversation early in life, encouraging them to speak not only within their peer group, but to trusted adults as well. Research has shown that a failure to express oneself effectively is a contributor to frustration and violent behavior.
If progressive education is not working to prepare your children for success, it is possible to provide a background that can overcome the deficiencies, and equip your child to succeed.
Watch Protecting Your Child from "Progressive" Education on YouTube at Tomorrow's World Viewpoint