Knowing Stuff? A response to Sugata Mitra.

In this week’s TES comment section, Sugata Mitra points out the irrelevance of our education system in the age of the Internet. As we know, from Sugata’s PC in the wall experiment and his “Cloud learning” system, children can learn without being”taught” by a teacher. So where does that leave the present manner in which children and young people are taught in our schools?  Our present system defines an “educated” person as someone who has acquired a lot of knowledge and can recite this knowledge when asked and even,sometimes, when needed. Many of our most successful people, those who have done well in business or entertainment etc.have not done well in school and therefore do not belong in this definition of “educated”. Unsurprisingly many pupils in our schools question whether what they are being taught has any relevance to , not only their present lives but , more worryingly, to their future lives! As many as ten years ago, I read of a 12 year old pupil of average ability, who taught himself the whole two year Geography A level curriculum in a matter of weeks, while also doing all his other school work.  I am sure this could be the same for many other subjects. What a waste of time for our intelligent A level students and, indeed our teachers,  when they could have covered the whole curriculum themselves, without the teacher, in a matter of weeks! Indeed we now need to question whether our whole education system is effective and providing our society with value for money.

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