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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/11/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 445 times Debate No: 45676
Debate Rounds (5)
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I argue that schools are failing and that the ways in which we educate children today is outdated, ineffective, and frankly ignorant.


I will argue that schools are not failing (regarding education methodology) and that the ways we educate children today is not outdated, nor ignorant.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for your response, I hope to have in intelligent debate with you.

Okay so this a big topic with lots of factors. I would like to ask why you think, with a rate of 40% of pupils not achieving even 5 GCSE's at grade A-C, that this does not reflect a degree of ignorance in our education system or could be described as failing? To me, if a factory made 40% of its products faulty, it would be described as failing or outdated. I mean, had you not known this fact, do you now question your stance as a result of this evidence?

Okay so if direct evidence isn't enough, we can look at other evidence and theory.

I don't know where to begin there just is not enough room. Okay so firstly, the body clock of an adolescent, until about the age of 21, is set to wake up around 11.00 to 13.00 and go to bed about 23.00-00.00. When this is disrupted, it effects the body in a slightly negative way but in many ways, like smoking. More importantly though, it reduces their capacity to learn and memorise, particularly at these times when they are supposed to be asleep. From my own experience, even now in university, I am tired in early lectures/classes and more engaged in late ones.

Secondly: school has a very narrow view of intelligence, this is academic intelligence. All you get from school are GCSE's, they are the holy grail of your education. What mark you get determines you worth. All (maybe not quite all) of these tests are done in the shape of examinations and writing. Even music and art are at least half writing and reporting. I could go on and on about how schools have this view and about why its is a very, very bad thing but I think these examples may suffice. One music teacher had half the Beetles in his class and recognized no musical talent, John Lennon was not recognized to be talented by his school either, even in music! Another example is famous dancer and founder of a dance academy (I forget her name but will find it if you need proof) She was deemed restless and too have a lack of interest and care for education. Due to a fluke incident and a 'unorthodox' psychologist, she was put in a dance school as the psychologist believed she loved to dance. Most other psychologists would have put her on medication for ADHD and told her to settle down and be obedient. The best example, for me, is Einstein. This is because his genius could not have been in a more 'academic' area, and yet school still recognized nothing and deemed him a failure! had it not been for a string of flukes and a good friend, school would have completely eradicated Einstein and he would of gone his life thinking he was nothing special and the world would be worse off. How many other potential geniuses has the school system not recognized? how many will we never know about? A brilliant quote that sums up this argument about judging on one type of intelligence goes as follows: If you judge a fish by his ability to climb a tree, he will think he is a failure his whole life.

Okay so another problem is the specific methods in which they teach. They do not engage students, some teachers may do this of course, but its the exception. By engage I mean make them interested in the subjects, teach them what they really are and why they are important and fascinating. Forcing a child to wake up hours before he should, making him come into school in a uniform he hates, making him sit at a desk and listen, for hours on end, about a subject he has no interest in or cannot see the relevance of, is not clever. Anyone who knows the first thing about humans should see this, never mind if you study psychology. Labour can be forced, learning cannot. So you may ask how else can we engage kids? David Attenborough documentaries and other science documenters I have watched have been just wonderful, had they been in school, they would have been so effective at engaging people. Evidence and logic tell us that to have a visual, descriptive video. that can be watched in ones own time and at ones own pace, if far more effective for learning. Classrooms should be small (in pupil number) and should be there for discussion about subjects and help on physical work, such as writing. These would work so much more effectively! and have been shown too in parts of America and elsewhere.

Another point is that there are many things that are left out of the education system that I believe should be taught.
One being 'HEALTH' (what keeps you healthy, how to be healthy, what health is and how its effected.)
Two being 'FOOD' (what different foods do to you, and how to make meals from scratch)
Three being 'PSYCHOLOGY' (the basics about human relationships and mentall processes) Evidence is conclusive that a knowledge and awareness of mind is essential for happiness and positive life and social relationships.
Four being 'HISTORY' (not like it is now, focusing on one situation and going through it with a fine toothcomb, but rather overviewing the story of how we came to be how we are and how societies develop in order to give people an understanding of their place in the world and why things are the way they are)

That's enough to be getting on with for now, I await your rebuttal


I will try my best to provide a most intelligent debate.


I will address each issue that you have presented.

I will cite each issue with a few words of your pieces.

1) "...40% of pupils not achieving even 5 GCSE's at grade A-C..."

I will admit that I had not known this fact prior to reading it. If you do not mind, I would like you to provide a source or evidence that presents this data, so that I may evaluate it myself.

2) "...the body clock of an set to wake up around 11.00 to 13.00 and go to bed about 23.00-00.00."

There is a reason that most secondary schools start a school day relatively early. (I cannot speak for all schools. I understand that the hours of operation of schools vary per region.) Schools do not implement these early times with the intent of angering students, or, as you put it, "[reducing] their capacity to learn and memorise..."
According to an article, "[s]chool schedules tend to be based on non-academic factors such as sports and extracurricular activities, transportation arrangements and parents' desire to see children off to school before work or have older children home in the afternoon to supervise younger siblings." (1) It seems that most schools recognize your issue, but they also realize the realistic nature of most adolescents' lifestyles. People have lives, and much of their lives are committed to the afternoon/evening. The most convenient place of a school's schedule is in the morning, it seemed.

3) "All you get from school are GCSE's, they are the holy grail of your education."

First, I would like to say that I am not from Europe. By this, I simply imply that I do not understand the GCSE system as well you probably do. I had to do research on the GCSE prior to addressing this issue, so please feel free to point out any misinterpretations you believe I have made. I apologize for this inconvenience.

So, as an analogy, for the convenience of myself and some of the voters, I would like to make the GCSE system and the United States A-F grading system synonymous. They are both nominal indications of a student's performance in a given class, I believe. Again, if you feel this is a poor analogy, please address this.

I do not believe what mark you get determines your worth. As I said before, the purpose of the mark is to provide indications of a student's performance in a given class. There is are two reasons that students want to receive high marks:

a) Students want to seek pleasure in having a higher mark than other students.
I cannot think of an instance where a student would sincerely want to be "worse" than another student in a given subject, and would actively seek to remain in a "worse" state. If you can think of one and relate it to the education system, then I would be impressed.

b) Generally, most college/universities assess a student's ability to perform by reviewing his or her marks.
For the most part, marks show a student's motivation to learn and study a given subject. This is really important to education institutions mainly because of economics. Believe it or not, each student costs money. Why do you think most scholarships ask a student their GPA (I am not sure if this is the correct terminology in Europe; Again sorry for the inconvenience), as well as a brief description of why they should receive the scholarship? When money is given to students, the institution wants to have "insurance" that the student will put money to good use. Do do this by asking questions like: Does the student have motivation to learn? Does the student have what it takes to be successful?

Now, I would like to discuss the "examinations and writing". These are just more assessments used to gauge the student's ability to perform. Here is an analogy. In this hypothetical situation, please imagine that you are a firm that specializes in law. There are two candidates that are presented to you as potential lawyers. Let's focus on one aspect, for the purposes of this example. Let's say that each of them took a test, as an application to your firm. This test just evaluates the person's knowledge of laws, loopholes, anything else a lawyer needs to know, etc. Now, realistically, do you take the wo/man who gets a high score on the test? Or do you take the person who gets a relatively low score on the test? Assuming each person took the test fairly, and it accurately reflects his or her knowledge in the field, whom would you pick?

Now, I would like to discuss your examples. There are two issues that I have with your examples. One is that they are not contemporary. In other words, your examples are outdated. School, just like culture, is dynamic. I do not think your examples accurately represent the modern/current education system (not to mention that education systems differ per region; For example, Lennon was in the UK, and Einstein was in Prussia.)
More importantly, here is the second issue with your example. Who gets to decide who is objectively "good" in music, dancing, or science? Specifically, music and dancing quality are, for the most part, subjective. The people who told John Lennon that he was bad had an opinion, like the rest of us. Don't get me wrong, I think John Lennon is an amazing musician, but it is hard to argue that he is a good musician objectively.

Einstein was really proficient in mathematics and physics. However, he struggled in other subjects, such as language arts (2). The way that the school system was set up, to my knowledge, was that it wanted a balanced all-around student. Even today, schools require students to be proficient in the certain areas of knowledge. Einstein had speech difficulties, and this hindered his progress in his studies. I do not think that the schools recognized him as a "failure", but simply that he lacked certain qualities that would make him the balanced all-around student. Language is an asset, really, to everybody. Max Weinreich, a sociolinguist, described "[a] language is a dialect with an army and navy". Basically, what he is saying is that language can be seen as a representation of one's socioeconomic status. There are different "ranks" in language called dialects. "Higher ranked" dialects indicate a higher socioeconomic status'. Since Einstein had these speech difficulties, school recognized that he did not have the skills necessary to perform efficiently outside mathematics and physics. "On the advice of the Principal of the Polytechnic, he attended the Aargau Cantonal School in Aarau, Switzerland, in 1895–96 to complete his secondary schooling." (3) He was not deemed a failure, because even the school official associated with his schooling advised him on how to complete his education. His talent was recognized, so the school official provided an alternate pathway for him.

4) "...the specific methods in which they teach. They do not engage students..."

But here's the problem with your issue. You are directly addressing teachers, but not the education systems. They are not synonymous. You cannot equate them. Like you said, "...some teachers may do this [engage students] of course, but its the exception." For the purposes of this debate, I would like to differentiate a school's education curriculum and the method in which knowledge is given.
Here is why I want to do this.
Each student is different, and each teacher is different. You cannot argue that every student would benefit from the exact same kind of learning. Yes, some students would benefit from watching videos, but what about the students that prefer reading a text or being lectured to? Watching a video on the student's own time is also unrealistic. For one, the student would require motivation to watch the video. And would the motivation come from sincere interest? Or would it come from receiving the good GCSE's (as discussed previously)? Also, this would mean providing a copy of a video to every individual student. This is really expensive because of the sheer population of students (and growing).
A solution you might say to this is, "okay, so what? Individualize the learning. Have each student learn the way he wants to." Although this seems like the ideal method, there is a reason that education systems do not implement this. Like I said, each student is different. This means that in order to satisfy the individual learning needs of every student would require each student to have his or her own personal instructors. There are many problems with this, and I can discuss them, if you would like to extend your contention.

5) "Another point is that there are many things that are left out of the education system that I believe should be taught."

Forgive me, but I lack an understanding of which education system you are referring to. It is here where I would like to provide my personal experience.
I am in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, and I am currently a senior in high school. Particularly, in my district, there are core subjects each student must go to (Mathematics, Science, History, Literature/English, Health/Physical Education). Beyond these are electives. Electives are classes that students choose to take outside of their core curriculum. I will now address each subject you provided.

  • HEALTH - In my school, this is a required class for graduation. I would imagine that there are other schools that require this class, as well.
  • FOOD - Here, we call it Home Economics. It is an elective.
  • PSYCHOLOGY - This is also an elective. I have taken this class.
  • HISTORY - The description you provided closely fits with a Socio-cultural Anthropology class. Nevertheless, there are electives that provide wide overviews of history, such as SOCIOLOGY.

I would discuss more, but I have reached my Characters Limit.




Debate Round No. 2


Of course, this is for the United Kingdom though I believe it is the same if not worse in America (across the nation).

I get the feeling your school is quite good, in some parts of America these new ideas are being tested. Because the US has de-centralized political power it has a wide range of schooling methodologies, some good, some awful. Did you know there are many states that have not prohibited corporal punishment and some even still use it? Granted only on the permission of the parents, but just the fact that this kind of lesson is still being given would be funny if it wasn't so worrying. Though it must be said many schools in the US have got the right idea, that's the thing with the US, got the worst and the best. It seems Wyoming, or at least your district, is good. Better than the UK anyway, but my school is (was) like all others in the UK, as we have a single, standard curriculum. So my experiences are very similar to everybody else in my country.

2) The reason I believe they intend to do it is a whole other matter that goes deeper than this debate will take us. But it has relevance of course, so I will just point out that one of the co-founders of the General Education Board, John. D. Rockefeller said 'I don't want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers.' This is why I made the comment, but I didn't intend it to be a point, for that is a whole other matter.

I see your point about convenience, but we have to think outside the box. People want to get the job done early, but why does it have to last 7 hours? Also, why do they even need to go to a building to be taught? At the end of the day, those lessons are less productive and are quite feeble (early morning) and so why continue to do it? The education system is not the only thing at fault, and its because of other bad factors that cause children to need to come to school at this time (parents have long 5 day weeks, children not trusted alone, criminals) you cannot fix one problem fully without the others around it being fixed.

Yes, tests are for feedback. But to the pupils they indicate their intelligence. When you get a D on a test you don't initially go, 'okay what's to be improved, I wonder where I when wrong.' You go '$h!t, I am no good.' Now I m not for soft love or against truthfulness, but there is only one way people officially actually rate themselves, and that is in school. Now I know jobs can do this same sort of thing, but not in the way schools do. And schools inevitably make many people feel stupid and like failures, because they have only one standard of which they rate people. Tests are not only for feedback and even in feedback they can be upsetting as I have said. They are not just for testing because you leave school with a set of marks, the last thing you do is get your exam results, so there is no improvement possible there. They are the grand finally of the school years.

You say students want high marks because of:

a) Want to beat there peers. Well there are many things wrong with this. 1) competition like this is great for some, for the vast majority-not so great. (they feel capable, but average) like they nothing special to give to the world, so they may as well just focus on getting money too enjoy their free time. Also, for the majority of pupils who are average to below average, a rational tendency to not bother kicks in. I mean, social acceptance is more important to an average human than grades, and also its not nice to fail at something your trying at, so you may as well not try and so feel better about failing. These children are not smart enough or educated enough, to know that these grades don't represent your qualities. Therefore they sink even further into a feeling of self doubt.

b) Yes, but this argument is for the graduating to universities that is not something that I would agree is done right anyways. Though the point is valid. I think testing is good and essential, but not the way it is today.

Yes I get your point, for job interviews then yes, the best man gets the job. But throughout your childhood, having to do these each year and being scrutinized for them is a more complex matter.

Your point about my examples I accept, they are not in the modern context. But I would argue schools fundamentally are the same and, actually, there are examples today. Ben Howard, musician in the UK today. But I just see it all the time. I have a friend who is an amazing artist (he travels round the world now and beat 3 university graduates in the 6 month trial period to get the job) He failed art at lower collage after a few months (age17). He had no training at all until he was in competition with the graduates, he won hands down. So even now school weeds out so many brilliant people because they cannot adhere to their types of learning. My friend struggled with writing up on age old famous artists, and that's why he failed art! this was only 10 years ago. I also feel let down by the school system, I love history and science and yet hated lessons. And so much more.

Despite all that about Einstein, he still failed school and ended up a clerk.

And here is the problem with your point. The teachers are the education system! they don't hire themselves, nor write their own job description or salary. This couldn't be more wrong, teachers are hired by a high up groups set of qualifications that they deem is necessary for the job. The teachers are the education system. We should put more credibility into teachers and pay them more. Make it more desirable for the young ambitious graduates to apply for. I do n

Okay for your next points. I do not argue that all students learn the same way at all. I believe, for knowledge, videos should be the learning and school should be time to learn how to do things you cannot on the computer. Small class sizes, not many hours of the day, matched for personality. Video's would be on the website (free). And video's you can pause and rewind as much as you like. Also children are no more likely to listen, at 9am to a boring teacher, than at 5 pm to an animated and well written video. Whatever their motivation, boring teachers in lessons that are compulsory and an hour long, are not the best choice for young people learning. Students not motivated to watch animated, good video at home will not be motivated in class either. Watch 'CrashCourse' on youtube to get an idea of how these lessons might look (world history, biology, ecology, its all there on crash course).

I get the problems with individualised learning. Expense, practicality, staff, facilities, different grades at the end. No, individualized learning should be a huge 'cloud' website. All subjects and sub subjects we know about available to watch, you can get a harvord education if your homeless (excluding the feedback). all done from the comfort of your home and no lectures anymore! so so much easier for teachers and students alike.

That is great that them subjects are taught at your school it really is, but they are not taught in ANY UK school. History is extremely focused on the tiny details of a very specific event, psychology is not an option. There is no lesson that teaches you about what health is at all, and our food class's are a confused string of making foods and knowing about packaging etc. Not focused on how to cook food and the basic bread and butter so to speak.

Thank you, my point is that school needs to be reformed massively, as it is no longer fit for the age we live in. And also that the way we have it now is damaging to many pupils and has negative effects on most pupils amid positive effects.


BeckyDawg forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I will leave to respond to my last argument


BeckyDawg forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Again I will let you respond again, hope you are okay, thank you for the debate.


BeckyDawg forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF