The Disadvantages of a One Size Fits All Education

Children Reading

I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend that I used to go to school with.  She was concerned that the school that her daughter goes to was affecting her in undesirable ways.  Her daughter is quite academically gifted for her age so has been given extra homework to do.  So, at 7 years of age, her daughter is spending a significant amount of time out of school hours doing extra work.  She has become quite competitive and, as there are also other children allocated extra work, her daughter does not want to get behind.

Her learning has become a duty and a competition and, at such a young age, she has already lost the joy of learning for its own sake.

As I watch my almost 2 year old use every opportunity to learn more, and LOVE doing so, I wonder how much of her joy and creativity will be stripped from her if she is delivered to the school system.

The public schools that most kids attend have several disadvantages compared to homeschools. The main idea of one curriculum for all the students and one teacher for an entire class brings the possibility of individual attention to each student to near zero. Some children who require special attention in these classes may end up failing due to the ‘one size fits all’ education system. Here are some of the main disadvantages of this schooling system.

·         Bigger class sizes: Most public school systems have large class sizes. In these classes many students do not receive the attention they need. Most studies show that homeschooled children often outscore public school students. Another study shows that classes with less students score better than classes with more students. This clearly shows that more personalized attention leads to better results, and homeschooling provides students with much more one-on-one attention than is possible in public schools.

·         State determined rules: In public school systems, the state usually determines the rules for the school. This does not consider the fact that some children are different from others. Some children suffer in this system causing them to perform more poorly than they are capable.

·         Same curriculum for all: Public schools have the same curriculum for all the students. Usually some students are stronger in math while others are good at literature. The same curriculum sometimes causes problems to a student whose only choice is to go into a field of literature while he has to take up math which he finds useless for his cause.

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·         Common grading system: The public schools grading system is very much separated from the students. Each student should be scored individually, keeping in mind their abilities and weaknesses. Some grading systems can be very tough on the morale of some students.

·         Common pace of teaching: In a class of 30 students, all are taught the same thing at the same time and are given the same time to assimilate and understand the new concept. Each student has a unique curve of learning which takes different lengths of time to capture a new concept. If the required amount of time is not given to a student, then he or she will not be able to learn the subject well.

·         Common method of teaching: Among all the students, some learn better from books, some learn better by listening to lectures while others learn better by doing activities on the subject. When a teacher teaches at the same pace, some students may find it hard to learn as the teacher’s method of teaching varies from the students way of learning.

·         Competition towards success: Public school systems, with their common curriculums and grading system, usually end up creating a sense of competition among students. Though this may sometimes be good, this is generally detrimental to the students. When the competition gets tough, some students resort to malpractices during tests. Excess competition among students can not only occur in studies but also in sports, events and other interpersonal arenas.

These are some of the considerations I will be pondering as my daughter continues to grow, learn, develop and enjoy the process of learning simply because learning is fun.  I hope to be able to continue to nurture her creativity and quest for knowledge and skills.

Raising a child is, after all, a parent’s most important job so, whatever my decisions, she deserves my full attention and devotion while I make them.

2 Responses to The Disadvantages of a One Size Fits All Education

  1. Mandy Heritage says:

    this is kind of why we are now trialling mia at a different independent school, much, much smaller and more attention to each individual child. they are all about play-based learning and self-directed learning, so kids learn at their own pace and with enthusiasm. mia is in the smarter end of the kids as well, given extra homework and stressed about doing the work. hence why i considered changing. now after only a week, she is happy, enthusiastic and doesnt want to miss a day of school…

    • Melissa says:

      That is fantastic to hear, Mandy. It is important that kids enjoy learning. With encouragement, before school, it is a pleasure to see a developing child love learning for its own sake. It is so sad when, if the teaching/education style doesn’t suit the child as an individual, this love is lost.

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