Education systems all around the world are create in such a way that they accommodate the majority of students. At least that’s what it has been portrayed time and time again by every school out there, from those that are deemed the best to those that don’t have such good reputations. The reality is different however.
“One-fits-all” system teaches children from the young ages to adulthood that they should conform to the intellectual standards imposed on them by the society. They are made to believe that their individual preferences and ways of seeing the world don’t matter, as the most important thing is to fit in.
Nowadays, schools have become more flexible when it comes to accommodating student’s individuality, however, it’s still very restrictive and rigid. A student may express themselves semi-freely only in a limited number of ways and situations. To put it bluntly, students are encouraged to be who they are only as long as it fits the established rules. Needless to say, that’s far from true encouragement and the intellectual freedom students should be given in a school environment.
Students are often given very limited options to exercise their minds. They are not given enough time nor space to think about a subject or a problem at hand. They are made to believe that the only way to acquire understanding of a subject is through textbooks that, in turn, contain very limited, “bite-sized” knowledge that they are often made to memorize without any real understanding. They are taught that the knowledge that matters is the one acquired in schools, from textbooks, while the extracurricular knowledge they acquire on their own may or may not be a good addition.
Even if we assume that textbooks are enough, which they aren’t, the educational system still doesn’t recognize the full spectrum of individual cognitive and motor abilities nor their interests.
Students are asked to think in a very similar fashion to one another, to have similar interests, while there is an unwritten rule on which abilities are more valued and which are less valued. A student whose ability is not particularly valued in their school environment will naturally feel less adequate and may develop self-esteem issues compared to their peers whose abilities are more valued.
Not all students have the same learning learning styles. Some are visual learners, some prefer to memorize what they learn, some are better at learning details while others learn better if they have a general picture of the subject at hand. School systems rarely accommodate different learning styles, and to such an extent that most teachers don’t even know that different learning styles exist. The most common learning style is memorization. There are certainly some students who excel at this type of learning style because that is how they naturally acquire knowledge – that’s how their brains are wired. These students are typically excessively praised because their natural learning style matches what the school system values the most and, often, recognizes as the only valid method of acquiring knowledge. These students are then put to be role models for the entire educational system and a proof that their methods work – only if all other students learned in the same way the selected few do, there would be no problems. This furthers the erroneous belief that there a very specific way of excelling both in school and in life, and if one thinks differently that there must be something wrong with them.