Factory Model Debunked

In education technology circles, the argument about needing to change the factory model of schools is so common as to seem cliche. 

However, I love seeing articles about this in mainstream media! Here’s a commentary from The Atlantic Monthly, “How to Break Free of our 19-th Century Factory Model Education System.” 

Take this quote, for example:

 But we continue to assume the factory-model classroom and its rigid bell schedules, credit requirements, age-based grade levels, and physical specifications when we talk about school reform.

I certainly used to feel all that stuff was important. I excelled in that factory model of school. I mastered how to master school. Kids needed to learn how to conform!

Then I had kids. One of the first things my husband and I commented on when we dropped our daughter at kindergarten was the insanity of expecting all 5 year olds to be at the same place. We commented on what a crazy idea it was to put 25 5-year-olds in a room and expect them to pay attention and to sit down.It’s still a crazy idea. 

At work, we interact with people of all ages. Kids don’t all learn at the same pace. Kids don’t all learn the same way. Kids have varying needs for social interaction. Yet our current model of school expects everyone to be the same. (Read Lois Lowry’s The Giver. The whole premise is “sameness.” Kind of like school.)

Here’s hoping that some of this conversation in mainstream media leads to more changes. 

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