Personalized Education: It's Not For Everyone

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As I quickly learned while in my Innovations class during my senior year of high school, personalized education is not meant for every student. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, our class was modeled after Google’s 20% time and many of my classmates caved under the pressure of picking their own learning path for the entire school year. As I concluded in my last post, this was due to learned helplessness.

Why is learned helplessness an issue in schools today? As a high school senior, I can provide invaluable insight as to why our education system is not meeting the standards it should and believe it begins with teachers. I will not blame teachers for not helping students learn more and become smarter or for grading assignments based on friendliness rather than merit, but will bring to light their tendency to give away answers rather than pushing their students to seek it out themselves. I will not generalize and point the finger at every teacher under the current education system, but will argue that a majority have sidestepped the role of teacher in preference of always providing for their students.

Instead of assuming the role of caregiver, teachers need to take back their roles of enabling students to seek out the answers, fostering creativity, and allowing space for students to personalize their learning. While I admire the care and love teachers have for their students and are now showing through this “caregiver” method, they are really inhibiting their students from becoming independent individuals with a purpose and understanding that everything is not handed to them for free. Students need to learn how to fend for themselves in the professional world and that begins with learning how to find solutions to complicated problems on their own. Without this facilitation of freethinking, learned helplessness will ensue, which is what we are seeing in the education system today.

In turn, this leads to learned helplessness and inability to personalize their education because students are lost and helpless when given the opportunity to discover their own talents and think independently.

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