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Three “I”s Suggested for Education Reform

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Public education in America is in a state of flux. In 26 states, including California, legislators are adopting new standards and curriculum to teach our nation’s kids. During my 14 years in teaching, I have taught mostly from the multiple choice assessment standpoint. It has its pros, but there are certainly many aspects where it just doesn’t work. What I would like to see is a more real world curriculum, in which kids are nurtured in their individual ideas and inventions. We don’t just want kids who can pass tests, we want kids who can invent the next iPad and help save our healthcare system. Inspiration, Innovation, and Invention

Most agree with the thought above. Unfortunately however, the path is not as clear. I don’t have many ideas on how to make every school successful. I do, however, think there are some universals that should be taught in the public school classroom. The first is Inspiration. The simple question teachers should ask themselves here is, “What inspires me to be productive?” I don’t know how everyone would answer that question but I can tell you my answer: music, movies, restaurants, travel, the beach, just to name a few. Listening to great music empowers me and makes me want to do amazing things. All the other things do as well. We need to help kids identify passions and then make the connection to inspiration so they can lead productive lives. Students who have been shown the inspiration connection will make a larger contribution in their early adulthood.

The second classroom “must” is Innovation. We need to put kids in situations where they can make solutions in adversity. A great way to do this is to show them how we do it as adults. This can include bringing in successful grownups as guest teachers to share how they get through their day-to-day; not just paying the bills, though that is important, but creating inspiration for themselves and others through solving problems. Kids who learn how to innovate and solve problems in school will be more productive members of society. In the advanced cases, these are the types who will cure cancer or create pathways to peace.

The final part of classroom curriculum we should focus on in education reform is Invention. Bill Nye the Science Guy has an amazing episode on this topic. He shows how important it is to everyday life. When I put a piece of tape on my alarm clock button, it makes hitting snooze easier. That is a simple example of human invention. Students who have coaching and practice inventing will invent better things in their homes, communities, and worlds. If a teacher can inspire invention in her/his students, they can truly change the world.

Once again, there is much disagreement on what education reform should look like. At the same time, I think all Americans want to see higher productivity in our land. I really feel that as we look to alternative frameworks, we should consider these “Three Is” as equivalent in value to the “Three Rs:” Inspiration, Innovation, and Invention. Our kids, the future citizens of America, will thank us if we do.

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About Damien Riley

I'm a movie fan from way back when I first saw "Pete's Dragon." In 1977, it sealed the deal when I saw "Star Wars." I write about the movies I see, whether I like them or not. Sometimes I like them more than words can express! I also write editorials on various topics once in a while. Check out all my online writing at my blog Riley Central.
  • Baronius

    I don’t know if I’m being a jerk for making this comment, but so be it. The plural of “curriculum” is “curricula”. Our kids are already citizens. When you said “just to name a few”, the word “few” doesn’t refer back to any other word. I can be a sloppy writer too, but don’t you think that a teacher has a greater obligation to communicate properly?

  • Damien

    I was thinking of curriculum as one whole. You are corrects about the “few” mistake. I agree a teacher claims that title should be more careful. Blogcritics’ editors approved my post fwiw. Still those are my errors. Did you like the 3 I’d after the mistakes in writing? Thanks, I will be more shrewd in my proof reading.

  • Damien

    I wrote that reply on an iPhone so the auto correct did me in. Apparently this article has its challenges out of the gate. Live and learn.

  • Baronius, “curriculum” is a collective noun and does not need a plural.

  • roger nowosielski

    what about “agendum” or “datum”?

  • Archaisms.

  • Baronius

    Maybe, Dread, but unless 26 states are applying the same collective guidelines, it’s poor phrasing. It threw me off because there are real issues surrounding education standards and independence, and the idea that several state were working in unison really caught my attention. You may remember that I’m always interested in discussions of education.

  • Damien

    The common core standards have been adopted by 26 states starting in CA this year.

    Again, I don’t want to appear a sloppy writer. I definitely made some errors in the article and will be careful to not make them again. I don’t think you’re a “jerk” for pointing them out.

  • Baronius

    Fascinating link, Damien. Thanks.

  • Children need reading,library research & labs.

  • Damien

    I think libraries in their present for have mixed value. Search engine usage and the skill of determining a site’s value are of prime importance. I fully agree about real world labs. Thanks Dr. For your contribution.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I suggest a fourth “I”: Improvise.

    Why? Because there’s a certain political segment of America that believes that if only we’d slice-and-dice the budgets of our schools (and the pay of the parasites that most of us call ‘teachers’), then our kids would automatically do much, much better.

    Never mind, of course, that our teachers already often use their own money to buy classroom necessities for the kids since neither the school district nor the kids’ parents have the money to do so, and never mind that teachers are increasingly having to take second jobs to support themselves and their families – like 41% of ALL teachers in Texas already do – instead of doing silly little things after school like grading tests and homework, or ginning up the lesson plan for the next day’s classes, or talking to this or that student about their grades or personal problems.

    Yes, our schools and our kids must be able the Improvise, since That Certain Political Segment is bound and determined that schools won’t be able to educate them no matter how hard they (the students AND the teachers) try.