The Purpose of Science and Math Education
The major subjects that school teach are Science and Math. Both these subjects are considered very important. But they can only be important if we know what a science/math education is? Why it is important? And how to teach them in the correct, effective manner. The School as a system has certain constraints in exploring all three questions. Let’s see all three in detail.
What is a Science/Math Education?
A science/math education is a process to understand the world around us in a logical way. This process if it had to be taught, it should be done on a sequence. The methodology used to transfer this process to students is concept building. We have to understand a concept is different from a fact/ theory. So the school initially need to teach students that a concept is different from theory. Then it has to teach how to convert a fact into a concept. But schools don’t do these things. If a student of 7th grade doesn’t understand the basics of Algebra, he will certainly not understand the calculus he will be studying on 11th grade and because of that he will not be able to understand Newtonian physics too.
Why it is important?
As we have seen above science/math education train a human mind to THINK. The conversion of a fact into a concept with all the relevant and available data is thinking. Schools are not the place for it. Because as per philosophy and psychology thinking is something infinite. But in schools everything is finite. There are number of working days in a calendar year. There are particular number of periods in a day and every period has a certain number of minutes. Even if we can justify by saying we are harnessing the ability to think in pressure situation or in a time bound circumstances, this should only be done after the initial process of thinking is successfully transferred. School as I said in previous blogs consider themselves as performance arenas, but the truth is they are preparation grounds. Cognitive preparation takes time and that is what is scarce in schools.
How to teach it?
The traditional teaching philosophy in the school is, Instruction. Many psychologists have said anyone who is 12 year old, should be considered as an adult. An all adult learning is done only through discussions and conversations. As this is a process of concept building if a student doesn’t understand block 5 he will struggle at the block 9 and he will not even know why he is struggling. School doesn’t have a mechanism to correct this course. This is where the use of technology can come in very handy, but schools don’t allow gadgets. It actually tries to keep students away from gadgets considering how harmful they are to their concentration. But in my opinion it is the duty of the schools to teach students how to use gadget’s smartly. It should be a part of the curriculum in the coming days. Lots of things are to be done in the school level to make our children 21st century professionals.
What should we do?
Schools structure has to be revamped. Time to re-think the time based periods. High time students are considered as learning partners. To understand and develop the concept building process, we should encourage both teachers and students to use technology wisely. Finally schools have to understand they are practice grounds and not performance arenas. The performance arena for a student is LIFE not SCHOOL.