This I Believe

jess - covington, Georgia
Entered on February 20, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

How to Improve Education

I am nineteen years old and have attended school most of my life. Currently, I am a college student at Young Harris College. There is no doubt that I have had a good education. I have had the benefit of dedicated, caring teachers. I believe the current method of teaching in the United States is too regimented and does not allow students to learn to their fullest extent. I believe if hands-on teaching and learning was used more often in the classroom it would be beneficial for all students.

In grammar school and high school I struggled in some subjects. It wasn’t until I reached college that I was introduced to the hands-on form of education. The class that introduced me to hands-on learning was my outdoor education class taught by Rob Dussler. In class, Mr. Dussler lectures on the subject matter but the emphasis is on actually doing what is taught. This allows me and my peers to feel more comfortable with the subject matter. Feeling relaxed and confident makes the learning process easier and enjoyable.

An education is something that everyone receives in life. From the time you are born, you begin to learn. Most education in today’s classroom is presented by a teacher lecturing usually anywhere from twenty to thirty students. The policy makers in education seem to believe students are automatons and should learn every subject the same way and in the same amount of time. This is just not true.

I see many flaws in the education system. The emphasis is on testing and test results not acquiring knowledge. You are given too much information to learn and not enough time to remember it. If a hands-on approach could be used in more subjects, students would be better prepared. Hands-on learning with a lecture reinforces the information so you can remember it after the test. A good example of this is field trips. I can still remember what I learned on field trips that I took in grammar school.

Education today is, either you understand, or you are left behind. This is why formal education needs to adopt a hands-on approach. Hands-on learning allows students to learn by doing. A hands-on activity allows one to work at ones own pace and receive more one-on-one help. Hands-on activities allow students to think outside the box and become more creative. Thinking outside the box prepares students for life in the real world. For example, in outdoor education we learned how to tie knots; then we applied what we learned by going tree climbing. We were forced to tie the knots correctly before we were allowed to climb. If the knots were tied wrong you would not have been able to use the rope to pull yourself to the top of the tree.

Hands-on education has taught me how to communicate with confidence what I have learned. I know all people learn and understand better by actually doing the task. If the education system, today, could be fined-tuned allowing more hands-on teaching learning would be enjoyable and I believe test scores would improve. This should make educators happy.