Wednesday, 18 April 2018

What Is a 'Good' Education Anyway?

This is the kind of question that will prompt people to share all sorts of opinions of what constitutes a 'good' education but the only responses to this question are opinion, in my humble opinion. Does excellent data mean a good education? Not in my opinion but I know many who will disagree. For a while now I've been feeling discontent in a job that I used to adore, and I've finally realised why.
As Head of EYFS, I am responsible for leading a team and data and results rest on my head, in a school that is very data driven. We get the results. In fact, we more than get the results in most cases, our children excel. Most people would look at this information and say that we deliver an excellent education, and depending on what you're looking for in an education, we do.

But this isn't the education I fell in love with; the thing that drove me to jump out of bed in the morning and genuinely love every moment of work. I love working with children and seeing them achieve, but there is so much more to education that reading, writing and maths. Of course I understand that they are important, but I feel like in many schools, 4 and 5 year old children spend most of their day doing these activities, and when they're not doing a planned activity they are taking part in intervention groups because they aren't quite able to write a sentence using a connective, adjective and write a whole book yet. Sure, this approach gets results as we have witnessed, but it also goes against everything I believe is right. 

When I think back to some of the amazing things I have worked on in my career and watched the children's passion and enthusiam soar as they did so, it makes me sad that children today often don't get to experience those things. I miss the days when the most creative lessons that captured students attention were the ones considered the best. The ones that saw children learn so many skills beyond the classroom; watching their little minds solving problems but having the time of their lives while doing it. 

The problem is that we can't do it all and in a private school where parents pay a lot of money, the expect to see results in the form of those subjects that 'matter.' In many schools children have become data. They are no longer individuals following their own learning journey and making memories, living their best childhood life, they are numbers that show whether a school is good or bad. 

So, what is a good education? To me it's memorable and magical. Every day the children should come to school excited, knowing that the day will be filled with fun and new opportunities. It should be a place where children can investigate, experiment, make mistakes and take part in as many experiences as they possibly can. It should be a time that helps to shape a child, not only in their academics but as a whole. This is what a good education is to me and next year, when I am no longer Head of a department, I truly hope I can provide more of these opportunities and rediscover my love of teaching. 

How would you define a 'good' education? 
What memory of your school life stands out for you today?
Let me know in the comments - I'm intrigued...
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14 comments

  1. Thi is a well written about good eductaion. A good eductaion for me is when your child learns not only academic but alos learn a good manner and attitude.

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    1. Thanks Lauren! I agree, attitude and manners are very important! xx

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  2. Education should be memorable and magical! I'm a teacher and I believe that students might forget all the lessons I taught them but they will remember what I made them feel. <3

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    1. I totally agree that it should be magical and memorable. I really want to do more of that! What age do you teach? xx

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  3. I agree! If a child goes to school excited and eager to learn they will retain so much more than being viewed as data and following a certain curriculum. A teacher can make a world of difference if they allow their students to experiment, add students interest into lessons, and make education fun! last year my son had an amazing teacher who allowed students to think outside the box and do lessons that involved characters they liked (like Pokemon into the lessons/presentations) They had words of the day were the students couldn't say a certain word the whole day and had to substitute it for another to build their vocabulary... she did many fun activities that enforced learning and every student loved going to school. She was amazing! okay, sorry for the long comment, schooling/education is an important topic to me ; )

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  4. It sounds like your son had an incredible teacher! I love the word substitution day, such as easy but effective idea. I completely agree that a teacher can make so much difference, well, the good ones! xx

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  5. In the end, after all the children have grown up and graduated from their schooling, and gotten jobs. I wonder what it is that they remember. They don't remember the subjects but rather the teachers that made the most difference in their lives then.

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    1. I completely agree, good teachers can really make a difference and be truly memorable!

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  6. For me good education is teaching children life skills that will get them through life. That's what we are doing to our kids.

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    1. Definitely Sigrid! Teaching to tests just sets them up to fail later in life!

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  7. I agree, good education for me does not only focus in academics but helps to mold a person to be ready in courses of life.

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  8. Good education starts at home. It is the time you put in to spend educating your children from a young age.

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  9. I think there's so much more to a good education than what happens in the classroom. Everything from field trips to the Science Center to weekend excursions with mom and dad. Certainly learning our a,b,c's is very important, but I hate to take our eyes off raising a well-rounded child. xx

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