The school divide

There are three main cleavages between students and the school environment. In other words, the school environment is not representative of the reality of its students, does not meet the expectations of its clientele and, ultimately, limits their development when it claims the opposite.

1.  The student’s reality and that offered by the school environment

Does the school environment offer a world that resembles the one in which its students evolve? Does he adapt to it? Two examples immediately come to mind:

A- First of all, the integration of EHDAA into regular classes highlights the difficulties of this linkage. Teachers need to educate, socialize and instruct all their students but some need adaptive measures to achieve this. Where are the resources? We rely on teachers who have little training in this regard. Showing pedagogical flexibility is definitely an essential characteristic to develop in teachers. However, resources to support these teachers and students with special needs are necessary. The reality dictated by the Training Program is far from being modeled on the reality of students with special needs. It is moreover more improvisation than effective intervention!

B- Another eloquent example symbolizing this divide is certainly the fact that students evolve in a digital environment. They interact in several ways, including, again, via social media. They access all the knowledge of the world from the beginning of human consciousness via their smart phone, located in the palm of their pocket. How does the school environment react to this reality? It bans these electronic devices. Why ? There are two main reasons for this situation:

  • Because teachers are afraid of many things, including being judged (or ridiculed), through photographs, videos or sound recordings. They also fear losing their place in the class since they lose this monopoly of knowledge that they have historically held for ages. Also, their authority would be threatened by these devices. There are several other apprehensions which are all just as legitimate as the others, but which in no way justify the ban on access to these personal technological resources.
  • Because the paradigm on which the school is based is outdated. Why would students use their smartphones? They would have access to all the information!So what ? When they work, they will always have access to all the information! The professional environment has understood this, but not the school environment … Should we remember that the Training Program emphasizes teaching by competence while the organizational culture of the world of education continues to evolve at the rate of knowledge teaching. In this sense, it is not surprising that ICT integrated into pedagogy is perceived by many as a threat hanging over the world of education. Very often, those who denounce the technological shift in schools also denounce the incompatibility of electronic devices in their teaching. The integration of ICT requires a paradigm shift. The threat in education is not ICT or novelty.

2. The student’s expectations and those of the school environment

The school environment is one of those very rare markets that cares little about the expectations of its customers in order to survive. It is fully subsidized by the government, regardless of the performance of the school, the school board or the staff in place. In fact, when there is an article in the Education Act that states that school attendance is compulsory until June of the school year of the student’s sixteenth birthday, is it really necessary? to submit to the needs of our students? They have to be present!

In short, the clientele is forced to consume school services. And when they are of legal age to decide, around 20% of our customers decide to leave the boat.

We must take the trouble to examine the needs and expectations of our students instead of imposing an outdated model on a clientele that thrives on novelty and contemporaneity. This requires a redefinition of the role of the teacher in his class and a review of his teaching strategies. Education must be more representative of the model of society in which it operates.

3.  What the student aspires to and the possibilities offered by the school environment.

Is the school an environment for the development of the potential of its students or a tool of castrating conformism which, in fact, makes it possible to set the parameters of their achievement? In other words, are the possibilities of achievement predetermined and preset?

Does our school environment put in place all the conditions to promote creativity in its students? And their curiosity? Is she encouraged? Exploited? Valued? According to Ken Robinson , these two characteristics are among those that distinguish us from animals. Are we creating winning conditions for them to emerge? Are we training automatons  programmed to face the same problems of their parents with the same tools and the same solutions? The company often complains about the lack of imagination of its leaders. This is paradoxical, because we train our future leaders in the same way our leaders were themselves educated.

Whether it’s old or new problems, we need new solutions. It is imperative to think differently to hope to act differently. Is the school environment a fertile ground for the incubation of creative and innovative ideas or does it offer an environment for the recovery of already proven ideas?

That said, the student aspires to be more open to ideological diversity in his school environment. If we proclaim loud and clear that the only limits are those that the student imposes on himself, it is high time to put this maxim into practice!