Would you agree that no two people are identical? Sure, some people may look similar, but we are all created with different fingerprints, different facial features, different personalities. Not even identical twins are truly identical.
Everyone is unique, with different needs.
So why are adults trying to stick all adolescents, who are all different shapes and sizes, through one uniform cut-out? The current Australian school system sucks for the following reasons.
The average Australian classroom consists of approximately 20-30 students who are all taught by a singular teacher. That’s 30 different personalities, all being educated at the same time, in the same style, by the same person. Anyone in their right mind would agree that that is an idiotic concept. Yet, this is the ‘norm’ in almost every single Australian school.
Just like everyone that’s ever been to school, there have been many instances in my school career where I have needed help from the teacher. On numerous occasions I’ve had to wait with my hand in the air for a good ten minutes before I was assisted as the teacher’s attention had been with another student. This results in a very sore arm and, more importantly, a lot of valuable time wasted. However, this is not the teacher’s fault. Class sizes are just too large and that is the fault of the school system. Let’s say that there were 32 students in one class where each period runs for 64 minutes. This gives each student only two minutes of the teacher’s beneficial attention – an unrealistic amount of time to expect students to learn from.
Another major flaw in the Australian school system is to do with the way that the majority of schools (especially large high schools) group students, not only into large classes, but into classes that are ranked based on the students’ levels of intelligence. For instance, many schools use a numerical system to order their classes from most to least intelligent. Therefore, if you were in class 1 you would be among some of the so-called ‘smartest’ in your year level, and if you were in class 9 you would be among some of the more ‘simple-minded’.
This hierarchy is completely unfair for two reasons.
The first reason being that students in lower classes have no chance to learn, even if they want to. There is a common generalisation that kids in lower classes are harder to manage in terms of behaviour. Unfortunately, this is true in most cases. However, in each class there are usually at least a few students that do want to learn, but they aren’t given the opportunity to as their teacher is too busy with managing the behaviour of the rest of the class. This quickly becomes a cycle; the well behaved students aren’t able to learn because of the badly behaved ones, so they get put in a low class again the next year with people that don’t concentrate and the cycle begins again.
Second of all, students aren’t given a chance to develop important socialising skills. Apart from the select few students that will move up or down classes, everyone will be in the same class with approximately the same people each year. While this allows strong friendship bonds to grow, it doesn’t allow for social skills to develop and the students aren’t able to learn how to make new friends. These are extremely valuable and important skills that the current school system is depriving today’s adolescents of.
Teachers play a very important role in kids’ lives, however it is a role that is greatly under-appreciated. Educating the youth of today is one of the most important jobs that exist as the educator is preparing young people to make an impact on the world and change it for the better. It is also one of the lowest paying jobs. The average annual salary in Australia was $78,832 in 2016. In the same year the average teaching salary in Australia was $65,371. That’s $13,461 less than the total average. This absurd amount is less than enough to reward the hard work and enormous effort that teachers put into helping their students achieve success in the future, nor is it enough to encourage more people into becoming teachers – and it’s just another fatal flaw in the school system and the way that ‘education’ works.
So, if you think that two minutes of attention per student, limited learning of social skills, and underpaid teaching equates to a good education system then think again. These ways of educating are out-dated and must change. To do this we need louder public conversation, so stand up for what you believe is right and take action. Consider writing a letter to the Department of Education or a blog post like this one to get people talking more about the topic of the flawed school system. There are schools all around the world that have made the change to a stronger, more effective system; Steve Jobs School in Amsterdam allows students to learn at their own pace, providing everyone with an Individual Development Plan, and Carpe Diem School in Ohio similarly personalises each student’s education by adjusting the work to meet the child’s needs to succeed. These are just two examples of the many schools out there adapting to more innovative systems. Australia must change the direction it’s heading towards (a boring and ineffective education system), and adjust to a new learning style. Because no one wants today’s youth receiving a bad education.