For many, education is the keystone of a successful life, but not everyone learns alike. Since everyone learns differently, this spectrum of ways to learn should be a tool in the arsenal of education. Since everyone learns differently, teachers should teach differently; different styles of teaching should be embraced. Since everyone learns differently, there should be multiple paces of learning, more of a hill than steps, five or seven paces of class. Since everyone learns differently, everyone should learn differently.
There are numerous learning style inventories one can take, and numerous outcomes on each inventory. One standardized format could be presented, and from there teaching could be designed around the result of each student. With that, since independence is a commonly respected ideal, electives should be more common, as mandatory classes tend to bog down the system, and sometimes hurt the students who hold minimal interest in the subject. That is not to say that basic classes shouldnt still be required, but mandating ten to twelve years of a subject in which a student has minimal interest does nothing for the student, nor the teacher. Basics should include: mathematics, to the survival level, e.g. change counting, budgets; language, at least one foreign language, starting in elementary school, and the most commonly spoken language of the region in which the student lives, and communication courses, at later ages; law and government, the rights of people, and how their government functions; science, at least the basics, how to apply the scientific method, and some introductory chemistry, biology, geology, and physics, but it could easily be just one class; and basic self care, how to finance, health, and home care. From there, a student could pursue whatever endeavors he or she wanted.
The minimal choice of electives yielded by the current system in the majority of the United States seems to demand conformity of thought. Conformity isnt inherently bad, but with no real window for self expression, it is not beneficial to the student, nor the business world, if every two employees are trained in the exact same way, how is teamwork and problem solving going to advance in the future? A wider set of opportunities for precise, well presented education, uniquely tailored to each students interests, learning style, and comprehension level would provide for a more productive society, with more independent and unique ways to solve problems. Diversity of thought is another form of diversity businesses should, and likely do, respect.
Language is a valuable tool, and many students in the United States dont get to choose to take a foreign language until as late as middle school, and for some, even high school. It is becoming far more important now in business to know multiple languages, and it is far tougher to learn a language as a teenager than it is as a young child. The lack of opportunities for language education in schools seems like a very negligent action on the part of the United States education system. Most other countries support multilingualism, some businesses see it as the difference between being hired or not. The minimal options provided for students as far as language in the United States is disappointing at best. In a global economy, and with people of every culture living so close, this lack of a key skill warrants an immediate fix.
A larger scale of speeds at which a class could be taught would allow for a better chance to challenge oneself, and not be overwhelmed. The current structure allows for a trailing speed, a moderate speed, and a highly advanced speed. This structure limits to a dichotomy of being overwhelmed or underwhelmed to a student who is able to fit comfortably in between two, such as a slightly deficient or advanced student, who requires slightly more or less assistance, and slightly more or less workload to be comfortable, and engaged. A five or seven level scale would provide for a much more effective education for many students. Three is not enough levels.
With all of these changes in the format, it would be a difficult transfer for some teachers. Teachers should make more anyway, as it is a difficult job, but with these changes demanding a more precise set of skills, the concerns of the welfare of teachers should receive more attention. Education is a very difficult job, dealing with between three (in the most extreme cases) and a thousand (in the most extreme cases) people on an intellectually stimulating, psychologically comforting, and personally engaging way is a difficult task, and many teachers get just enough money to feel only stressed about making ends meet. The fiscal neglect delivered by the government isnt necessarily all the fault of the government, but the lack of concern seems distressing to many.
Extracurricular activities should be embraced by more educational facilities, because it provides a look at various fields, on an academically engaging level, without the looking-over-the-shoulder stress of having a grade. Many students would say they get more out of their extracurricular activities than they do from school, because it caters to their interests, and usually allows for deviation from the structured world of education most schools provide. Business, unlike the modern educational system, does support these extracurricular activities. The Business Professionals of America, Science Olympiad, debate, Distributive Educational Clubs of America, Scouting, 4-H, SkillsUSA, and on-the-job training all look fantastic on resumes, and stand out since many students (likely due to the lack of promotion in schools by the various organizations) dont have extracurricular experience.
Reliance on technology is apparent in schools, but on a nearly minimal level, this is something which leaves much room for improvement. The only truly mandatory technology education is a single keyboarding class in Kansas. Students use technology, teachers use technology, but both outside of school. What should be pursued is a greater use of technology: podcasts, YouTube lectures, teaching websites, the internet provides endless opportunities for advancement. The challenge comes with the fact that not everyone does have a computer, but most school and public libraries do, so there really is no viable excuse; besides, many English classes require typed essays. Technology is a far underused resource for education, even though everyone has access to it.
These simple, but extensive, changes could make education better for all students, simpler for teachers skilled in specific types of teaching, and more productive for business. The respect for individuality would provide for a stronger sense of identity for students, a more comfortable, interactive opportunity for teachers, and more diverse workplace for businesses. The further embrace of language would make opportunities more numerous for students, and opportunities far more global for business. The stronger support for teachers would be a clear plus, and perhaps increase the interest in teaching, as some find the level of pay discouraging. These few changes would make the world better for pretty much everyone.