What does the Industrial Revolution have to do with your classroom? More than you think.

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I’ve recently been reading the book Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education b

 

y Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica.  While I don’t typically enjoy reading books about education and its foibles and failures, and what each person decides should be done about it, this book has got me thinking about how we approach education.

One metaphor the author uses to describe schools is industrial manufacturing.  Modern education is a relatively new invention, mostly designed and put in place following the industrial revolution.  Thus, the needs to be meet were quite different–children were to be trained into adults who could fulfill roles in a factory.  So children were/are themselves treated as objects on an assembly line.  They are grouped by age, arranged in neat little rows in their desks, each given the same textbooks, resources, and materials, and to whom is dispensed the same “knowledge” that is one-size-fits-all.  Instead, Robinson posits, we should look at education as industrial farming.  Each student is an individual, and should be given personalized care based on the specific needs and based on the desired outcome.  Each student needs a specific climate in which to grow, and targeted resources that help it to grow at the proper speed and in the proper direction.

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