Too often, we fall into the mind trap of thinking the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. My parents were correct; it isn’t. For example, I spent my early years of teaching thinking that other teachers found the ONE way that is magic and absorbing and ignites the fire in each child. Then it hit me, like a baseball flying over the fence from the greener yard. There is no ONE way. Each teacher has his or her way of educating. Each student has his or her way of learning. It is difficult to match the two (student and teacher) together, but that is the goal of education. We do not need to work hard to match the teaching styles of teacher A with teacher B. This leads to standardized teaching and testing.
I was having trouble with thinking of an idea for today’s writing, so I did a little research. A blog on the problems of the educational system in South Korea sparked my interest. The full article can be found at: http://cjcpig.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/cram-school-culture-curfews-for-teachers-and-students/ . For those who prefer the abbreviated version, the article is about how the South Korean government has imposed a ten p.m. curfew on students and tutors. In other words, no studying past 10 p.m! The South Koreans have discovered that parents, students, and teachers have pushed students to concentrate on scoring well on the standardized tests to get into the three universities. Needless to say, it is very competitive. The South Koreans worry that they are producing great test takers and not innovative, creative leaders of tomorrow.
Is this the epitome of irony? When I began teaching I was encouraged to get students to think. Then, our state and federal government learned other countries scored higher on test scores, so they decided we needed to implement standardized tests. Once we had tests in place, we would show the world we could beat them in tests! One consideration our government did not consider was that we test everyone, while other countries only test the best.
Consequently, we want to have our students be like South Korean students and have high test scores. South Korea wants to be more like America and produce thinkers and innovators. The grass is not always greener.
In business, we need to remember this lesson. What works for one company may not work exactly for another. Too many business people see a successful model and try to copy it exactly. There are too many variables that prevent success from copying. Variables such as work force, work-place climate, economics, location, etc. Someone in management has to be able to think on his/her feet and adapt plans to meet the needs of the clients.