Ask any teacher, parent, or politician what’s wrong with today’s education system and they’ll all have a different answer. Some will say it’s the absurd amount of testing. Others will lay the blame at the feet of the teachers. Another group will argue that poor curriculum is the driver.
Veteran teacher Martin Robinson may well have agreed with each of those complaints over his long career as an educator. A self-proclaimed rebel in his own school years, Robinson eventually became an acclaimed drama teacher, who learned to buck popular education trends in order to get his students to think outside of the box.
Robinson’s experience in the classroom eventually led him to the belief that something was wrong with the current education system. In his book, Trivium 21c, Robinson explains:
“Most poignantly I was beginning to see the results of the changes in education: kids were more focused on exams, grades, and learning how to pass, and as a result were becoming less independent and less creative. … This new breed of students were customers demanding a service, and the school was delivering this service to them. These customers sat at the table getting fat on the courses they were being fed, some of them force-fed. No longer were the students expected to enter the kitchen; rather they chose from a menu and expected it to be served up ready-cooked. This is the problem with spoon-feeding: the whole process devalues the making and concentrates on the service.”
Troubled by what he saw, Robinson set out to find a different way. What he discovered was the Trivium, the education approach successfully used for centuries, but abandoned only in the last 100 years or so.
According to Robinson, the Trivium prepares “young people for the future with lessons from the past” and then teaches them to dialogue, debate, and branch off of those same lessons to create new thoughts and ideas. In essence, the Trivium approach to education instills children with the tools they need to become creative, life-long learners.
The current spoon-feeding approach to education is clearly not working for today’s students. Do you think Robinson is correct in suggesting that a return to the Trivium educational model might be a solution to today’s schooling woes?
Image Credit: Skeddy in NYC (cropped) bit.ly/24dGLTK
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.