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tutor and studentHow on earth are "standardised testing," and "normalized education" at schools ever going to produce children who can get on in life?

No two children are the same - except identical twins. The notion is absolute balderdash, piffle, claptrap, dross, flimflam and horsefeathers!

SameExamThis illustration* is a great metaphor for what happens to ADHD children, and other children who do not fit the little boxes our school masters have decreed we must fit into.

The whole approach is wrong!

Even though it's abundantly clear that not every body is created equally, the paradigm has been created that we must all be treated the same - in the interests of fairness!

 Professor Sugata Mitra of Newark University in England descibes how we still use the "Victorian Method" of schooling which decreed that a person educated in India, or England or in any other of the colonies, could be seamlessly interchanged, as they would have been educated in exactly the same way!

Paradigms are a set of rules that dictate the thought patterns or practices that define a scientific discipline. While these have some merit in the scientific world, by their rigid nature - rules are rigid - they can, and have caused problems.

The example of the bicycle seat usually referred to as a "saddle" is an excellent example of this muddled thinking, just like standardized testing in schools.

What people rode before the invention of the bicycle was the horse. When you ride a horse, you usually sit on a saddle, unless you are riding bareback. So the paradigm of riding something using a saddle prevailed, and the bicycle was fitted with a saddle as well. The first bicycles even had a huge front wheel and a tiny little wheel so that you sat at the same height as on a horse.

Not only was this seat called a saddle, it looked like a saddle. The pain and misery that this design has inflicted on people over the decades is the stuff of legend. You even have to wear specially padded shorts to lessen the pain and the damage. Yet it has not changed.

The point of this article is that because children are different, treating them as if they are the same, and worse still, expecting them to perform at the same level, with the same intelligence, with the same levels of distraction, and achieving the same results is simply not possible.

It is absolutely possible to treat children individually in a large group. Those are arguments for for future posts.

It is time we urged our education masters in goverment and in our schools to stop smoking their socks, so they can smell the roses!

Sources and Links for this Article

 Why Declining National Assessment Standards Hurts Kids by Sean Hampton-Cole

Sean Hampton-Cole is a practicing teacher in Joburg and blogs proliferally.

Professor Sugata Mitra
Sugata Mitra (born 12 February 1952) is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, England. He is best known for his "Hole in the Wall" experiment, and widely cited in works on literacy and education. He is Chief Scientist, Emeritus, at NIIT. He is also the winner of the TED Prize 2013

The historian of science Thomas Kuhn gave it its contemporary meaning when he adopted the word to refer to the set of practices that define a scientific discipline at any particular period of time.

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