Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kids Need Structure

I recently watched Colin Powell's TED talk, and while I don't agree with everything he said, I do agree that "Kids Need Structure," as his talk was so aptly titled.

"I spend a lot of time with youth groups, and I say to people, 'When does the education process begin?' We're always talking about, 'Let's fix the schools. Let's do more for our teachers. Let's put more computers in our schools. Let's get it all online.' That isn't the whole answer. It's part of the answer. But the real answer begins with bringing a child to the school with structure in that child's heart and soul to begin with."

There is a post by Justin Tarte called Technology is not the answer... in which he discusses a metaphor for education as a house. Tarte says technology is the house, but without a solid foundation the house won't last. Structure is the foundation in education, students have to be able to adapt to different structures to help prepare for the real world, to build their homes. I think public schools with different teachers, buildings, campuses, etc. provide this exposure to structure that students need.

"And I also had this extended network. Children need a network. Children need to be part of a tribe, a family, a community."

Schools provide this social network, this need, that General Powell discussed in his talk. I teach online, I take courses online, I am months away from a Master's degree in educational technology, but I still know the social value of deep interpersonal networks that very few institutions other than face-to-face schools can provide. The structure and routines of schools can help reduce learning anxiety in students to manageable levels, and allow them to explore learning and personal growth in a safe environment.

As General Powell says, "every child ought to have a good start in life," and schools are the best way to do this.
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Kids Need Structure by Tony Pascoe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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