• Opinion
  • 3 de May de 2024
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  • 6 minutes read

Educational or political failure

Educational or political failure

Educational or political failure

Unfortunately, today there are far too many self-proclaimed experts discussing education

Imagen de 7706992 en Pixabay

License Creative Commons


David Rabadà


The government has repeatedly asserted, without providing supporting studies, that Spain’s educational shortcomings stem from a teaching model based on the encyclopaedic data memorization. They then argue that this model is incompatible with the future social and labour paradigm, which emphasizes the development of competencies our students need for their future jobs. These assertions are based on pedagogical proposals from over a century ago, but which they call innovative. We only need to remember John Dewey with his constructivist learning theory, William Kilpatrick project-based learning approach, and Jerome Bruner’s discovery learning. These theories have governed the curricula of Canada and several OECD countries, including Spain, without proven success. They proclaim a democratic education that should allow students to learn independently and according to their interests. They add that students should be fully autonomous, learning through discovery, and that teachers should only guide without imparting specialized content. They emphasize the acquisition of competencies, the definitions of which, among the many written, perplex even the most cultured. In essence, any type of knowledge becomes secondary.

Consequently, the different subjects are diluted into abstract areas that obscure the teachers’ expertise and devalue their content under a competency-based education, project work, and the elimination of rote learning in classrooms. In summary, the transmission of knowledge and its curriculum are fading away in secondary education. Faced with this paradox, it is desirable that teaching to be competent in the face of a competency-based education. With firmness, patience, and esteem, educators must earn the trust of their students in the classroom despite the prevailing happy-go-lucky pedagogies. Briefly, educating is not just about imparting values, skills, and theoretical competencies, but also about conveying solid, proven knowledge that enables students to become critical thinkers, not subjects of criticism. Achieving this requires many years of experience in classrooms, across various centres, and with a wide range of students. Regrettably, national educational policy continues to take shots in the dark when it comes to secondary school classrooms.

Unfortunately, today there are far too many self-proclaimed experts discussing education from the comfort of their offices, far removed from the realities of the classroom. Some have never even set foot in a lecture hall or taught a class. What’s more burdensome is that these experts often criticize those who have been on the front lines of education for years, disrespectfully labelling them as “teachersaurians”.

PISA reports consistently show a decline in Spain’s educational performance year after year. Despite decades of pedagogical reforms, our nation, with the exception of a few autonomous communities, has the highest rate of school failure in the entire European Union. Approximately thirty percent of our students either drop out of school or fail to utilize their studies effectively.

The national school disaster is so egregious that the key question is: should our parents and teachers bear the blame? This is the assertion many educational experts make. They reiterate the age-old narrative, although in different words, that poor families produce unwise students. Furthermore, numerous pedagogues and sociologists argue that better-trained teachers are needed to reduce school failure. In other words, according to these experts, the blame for the national educational crisis lies with families and teachers, a sentiment echoed every time PISA reports are updated. However, if this hypothesis is to be believed, then why haven’t these so-called educational experts found a way to maximize our students’ learning potential over the past thirty years?

The complexity of the educational system is such that no single factor can be pinpointed as the sole cause of all academic failures. It’s not just about teacher training, nor is it solely about the economic status of families or the state’s investment in education. The crisis in education is a multifaceted issue that requires a comprehensive analysis to identify the primary causes, followed by the development and implementation of effective solutions. This requires an in-depth exploration of school grades, schools themselves, laws, pedagogical methods, and the family backgrounds of both students and teachers to uncover the factors undermining our education system.

While it’s evident that students who study less, learn less, the issue is more complex than that. Many educators argue that secondary schools are overburdened with content, and that most of the knowledge imparted becomes mere trivia, and that rote memorization is becoming obsolete. Despite these claims, students are studying less now than they did a few decades ago, leading us to question why more isn’t being studied. The answer lies in the need to disseminate the solutions that educators, from their reality, the classroom and at home, have applied. To achieve this, it’s worthwhile to explore classrooms in various national and international cities and to learn from countries like Singapore and Estonia.

Source: educational EVIDENCE

Rights: Creative Commons

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