Sunday, September 19, 2010

Real Life Learning Essay

Real Life Learning Essay

Many students entering college and/or the workforce are struggling with problem solving and applying the knowledge they have learned in school. This is a problem because employers and colleges expect them to know how to do these things and they are expected to have learned how to do this in school. Many curriculums do not teach the students how to apply the material they have learned to the real world and do not elaborate on the material they teach. The students are expected to memorize facts out of the textbooks and then take tests to make sure they are able to memorize the facts but are not being taught why what they are learning is important. In Lives on the Boundary, Mike Rose explains how many courses will rely on tests that “stress the recall of material rather than the reasoned elaboration of it” (Rose 191). They are not taught why they have to learn this material and how it applies to life. Many students are not being taught how to apply the materials they have learned or how to solve problems, I believe the curriculums in schools should change so that there is more elaboration on the facts in the textbooks and different ways of teaching so that the students can apply the information to their lives and use it outside of school.

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The ways that students are being taught are not enabling them to test and challenge their knowledge. “Learning means that students can do more than pass a test, they can actually use their knowledge” (Lesgold 1). One problem is that students are not sure how they will use what they are learning. According to Lesgold, this results in lower motivation and also that what they have learned is not likely to be remembered when it is needed. Another problem with the way students are being taught is that they are expected to memorize facts out of their textbooks. After they take the test for the facts they memorized they are most likely never going to use that material again and will probably forget what they learned. “Studies show that even students who score well on standardized tests often are unable to successfully integrate or contrast memorized facts and formulae with real – life applications outside the school room” (Hanley 1).

For example, many recent high school graduates know that Independence Day is the day we declared independence and that it happened on July 4th, but they will probably struggle when asked what we declared independence from. This is because their teachers expected them to memorize the facts and dates out of their history textbooks but did not go into detail about Independence Day. This happens in a lot of classrooms. Teachers teach directly out of the textbook and fail to elaborate about the facts in the book. In Lives on the Boundary, Rose states, “The faculty, for the most part, do not provide freshman with instruction on how to use knowledge creatively – and then penalize them when they cannot do so” (Rose 191). A lot of the time the way the students are being taught is not interesting to them, they think about other things and do not learn the material fully and will forget it soon. I feel that if the curriculums change and teach the students the material more in depth and teach them how to incorporate the things they learn outside of the classroom this problem could be solved.

The curriculums should figure out ways for students to use the knowledge they are learning and connect it with their everyday life. One way to do this would be to have the students work in groups and have them solve problems together. Teach them like you are training them for something. This would get their minds involved more in what they are learning. It would also teach them how to use the knowledge in their lives to solve problems. If the teachers make students learn facts and formulas out of the textbooks then they should elaborate on why they need to learn them and keep incorporating the facts and formulas throughout their schooling so they can see how to use the knowledge and not forget it. To make learning more exciting and interesting to students, the teachers should find different ways to engage them into the material not just lecture them for an hour or so on the material. Lecturing confuses many students because they are receiving so much information at one time and cannot incorporate it all. Instead of lecturing they should involve the students in the conversation. The teacher could start the subject and then let the students take over. The teacher would stand aside to make sure the students are staying on subject and answer questions. This would engage the students into the subject and they will be more apt to learn it and remember it.


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