How exactly can you make children's education better in Russia (and the first practical step)



    We have 41-43 place out of 65 in education in the OECD study and 49 in the UN Education Index.

    After receiving the three highest, 13 years, I was engaged in teaching IT specialists, scientists and other strange people, the last project is Kurser in Russia. A year ago, she began to study children's education. Below - my IMHO, but I think a lot of you are familiar with. In my opinion, there are several important areas for development in children's education in Russia.

    Here from the position of children:
    1. Children do not see the practical application of the knowledge gained.
    2. There are no mechanisms for choosing a profession. Children can, for example, choose their future according to the kindest teacher (a favorite subject - their desired profession - a specialty at the university - sailed).
    3. Children as a whole crave for knowledge, but they really want to diversify the process of obtaining it in school.
    4. Well, they almost never go anywhere, but they must be taken on various interesting excursions and met with interesting people.

    From the perspective of parents and teachers:
    1. Children are underloaded: much less knowledge is given than under the USSR, for example. On the other hand, at the end of training, they are overloaded with preparation for the State Automobile Examination and the Unified State Examination.
    2. Children initially live in a new information environment that is comfortable for them, but not very comfortable for teachers.
    3. Additional education in large cities is sometimes the wildest logistics, for example, you need to take the child to the other end of the city in the middle of the day.
    4. Problems with personnel: you need to be really cool motivated to fully and efficiently work with children.


    A bit more detailed


    1. Children do not see the practical application of the knowledge gained.
    The knowledge that is given in school, in the general case, is pushed into the student’s head “to be”. The child does not understand why this is necessary, since there is no connection with practice or demonstration of any results at the training stage.

    Take, for example, teaching programming in an arbitrary language. For an adult, it is assumed that 20-30 lessons will be held with a theory such as determining what a variable is, writing simple choices, cycles, a philosophy of structural and object-oriented programming, and so on.

    Only after a sufficiently large gap will it be possible to write the first program, understanding what each part of it does. But children's training may look like this: a framework is put in place that provides care for all “boring” things, and in the first lesson, basic operators are given for controlling a funny robot saving a kitten or picking apples. Children don’t really care what and how they do - it’s important for them to play and bring the robot to a funny cat.

    If you don’t explain (more precisely, if you don’t show) to the children what knowledge is for, they will cram them to pass the exam and forget.

    2. Children choose their future according to the kindest teacher.
    The chain is formed as follows: first, the children associate the subject with their beloved teacher; then they realize that they’re best at this thing; then he becomes the focus of the desired profession; defines profiling for a university - and life on. The problem is not that there is a favorite teacher, but that the children simply do not see other options for what to become.

    The future can be chosen according to the parent, by comparing the salaries of the professions of interest 5-6 years before entering the university and so on. At the same time, children do not see the real practical aspects of work and do not understand exactly whether this suits them. Previously, this task was partially solved by television: they showed various heroes of work, outstanding scientists and so on. Now we need to give more concrete examples and show the prospects of various professions. Again, in practice. In general, we figured out how to do this, but more on that below.

    3. At the same time, children want to receive the knowledge that they choose for themselves.
    Starting somewhere in grades 8-9, children begin to take an active part in shaping their own educational process. They have at hand a bunch of sources on the network (which we did not have), and they collect information as they can. Now there are all conditions for changing the approach to teaching - the teacher is not a source of information, but a navigator, but this transition still needs to be completed, the whole system is imprisoned for a different paradigm.

    4. No practice or sightseeing.
    The educational process in an ordinary school is quite monotonous, again, there is no way to relate information from lessons to something vital. If every week there were “interactive” lessons like visiting a production site, going to a spaceship simulator, etc., it would be much more interesting. Partially now this issue is being solved by various platforms of additional education, for example, children's cities of professions.

    In Moscow and other large cities in general, there is a bunch of everything, in all areas, from quantum physics to breeding rabbits. But all this is unsystematic in nature. The effectiveness of training is reduced to a systematic approach; it is often absent in additional training.

    Now let's look at what the parents and the teaching staff see.


    1. Children are underloaded.
    This is a fact, for example, a first-class program can most often be squeezed up to 2-3 months. Most of the children know that there, even from the kindergarten, but the school does not load them in order to correspond to the most “slow” ones. The problem is not in the curriculum itself (although it has also been eased several times), but in the fact that we do not have a progressive system of education when a child can finish school in, say, 12 years. Or “close” your favorite subjects at the same age and start getting a university program on them, and go to work, physical education, get general knowledge of Russian, biology, and so on.
    “My grandfather studied at the gymnasium in that pre-revolutionary one, he was 87 years old, he read poetry to me in Greek, and knew Latin very well, that is, He was a very educated person, interesting, peculiar, we talked about school with him, he saw how I was studying, how my brother was studying, and as I understood it, he was very mocking of the knowledge that we received, if not for him, if it weren’t for our grandmother, we probably would haven’t received something. ”- Nina Aleksandrovna Bloch, teacher, gymnasium No. 1540


    2. Children initially live in a new information environment, and everyone over 25 is already “digital immigrants”.
    50 thousand schools are connected to the Internet, but only a tenth uses it for education. Let's just give a couple of quotes from our polls:


    Old experienced engineer got a 3D printer to school


    “For half my life, I saved up, for example, material from lights, cut out from other magazines, portraits of writers, and even weren’t on sale, because I was not here in Moscow, in the province.”

    Children have access to any Internet information. , and their main skill is not the accumulation of knowledge (as was the case with a lack of information), but their application. Remember the turning point in interviews for a developer’s position, when massively began to allow Google to solve the problem? The important thing is not that you remember any specific things, but that you can achieve a result.

    3. Additional education in large cities is the wildest logistics, you need to take the child to the other end of the city in the middle of the day.
    There are especially no comments here: if you live in Moscow, then you know how difficult it is to choose a school so that it fits into the standard routes from home to some clubs or clubs, or a music school, or an artist, and so on. For example, in the USA, many parents in such cases move when the child needs a new school. And in Moscow in recent years they have also moved.

    With us, this means two problems. The first - additional education is sometimes given to a child based not on real needs, but on the basis of accessibility (including price) or proximity. The second - additional classes are simply canceled, because it is easier to take the child to his grandmother, for example. And all the circles where you want to take the child can start working at the same time.

    4. Problems with the staff.
    I will give very accurately describing quotes from one of the school principals (from our survey):


    They are not afraid to ask the student a question: “Listen, I don’t know this, tell me how to do this?” ... The guys after the school who simply couldn’t go to some other universities began to enter pedagogical universities, but their parents dreamed that they had a treasured crust of higher education.

    At the same time, I believe that the teaching profession is just beginning to get out of oblivion. But we need time for the situation with gender and age composition to begin to change in an acceptable direction. Much needs to be done to attract proper attention to the profession. Plus, to work on university training programs, it is more effective to use trainee students in the educational process at school (and not a couple of months in five years of study - this is ridiculous). Future teachers should not get out of school from the first year - but this process is not established, trainees are more often perceived as a burden. An example of a connection is to each teacher (who is in 80% of cases digital immigrant) by a digital native trainee whose job it was to look for new technologies and methods of digital pedagogy.

    How is this solved in other countries?


    Not by single efforts, but by joint efforts, and from three different, but from this no less equal stakeholders:

    1) Support for educational programs from the state.For example, the same anime is, in fact, educational films that explain the most important things to Japanese people of different ages. At first - that you can achieve a result, you just have to work. Next up is a discussion of egoism, details on how to talk with the opposite sex, and so on, basic socialization skills. Then - that you need to work in a team, a loner can do nothing at all. In the USSR, there were excellent educational media ranging from thematic magazines for any age and ending with telecasts that set the ideals necessary. Remember the relatively recent books of Perelman, Oster, all sorts of “Entertaining experiences”, “Technique of youth”, “Know and be able” - this is it. And in Finland, the sensational Minecraft, which by this moment has already been bought by more than 18 million people, including Microsoft guys for $ 2.5 billion, and completely included in the school curriculum throughout the country. And you know what? Children are thrilled.

    2) The activity of the educational community. Let’s say, do you know that teachers and people who are not indifferent to the education of children created the first child’s democracy at the Summerhill school in the UK? All issues related to school management are resolved at school meetings, which are attended by all students and school employees, while everyone has an equal vote, and students choose what classes they should attend. Moreover, in 2011, the school was recognized as outstanding in all respects except for teaching. And that is only because it completely lacks any system of ratings.

    There are many more examples of successful schools.with a flexible education system, where each student goes through an individually selected (and not pre-fixed by the government) program for his strengths and weaknesses, with different methods and approaches that he needs, and everything is monitored and adjusted in real time based on the student’s success. Among them, the mathematical School of One and the world-famous Big Picture, which was founded by a couple of enthusiasts, and by 2015 opened 90 schools around the world with an average percentage of graduation of 92%, using the same philosophy - to teach not a faceless mass of children, but each individually.

    3) The initiative of private companies.And here it is not only about the sensational online startups that collect millions of dollars of investments for the development of education on the Internet and no less small audiences. Modern online courses provide an opportunity to learn at home almost anything. The downside is desocialization. The last time the study was in 2012, 100 thousand children studied at home. For comparison, in 2008 there were only 10 thousand.

    Even quite “ordinary” companies that have access to a children's audience are trying to use their products to help the educational system. For example, Lego has been actively promoting its plastic parts for years, in general, for things that are quite compatible with the game. For example, a teacher of the month in January 2015 appliesLego kits for teaching math, critical thinking and modeling. But there are still kits for teaching reading and writing, mechanics, design skills, teamwork and much more . And for children (and adults) of any age.

    What are we doing?


    Having looked at all this inside and out, we decided to get together a small team and improve the situation a bit. Not remaking current systems and processes, but complementing them. On a non-profit basis (no profit for us).

    But for starters, who am I at all to talk about it. I am 13 years old I have been studying. Perhaps you know me from projects in Digital October - this is a Knowledge Stream with guys like Steven Wolfram (you don’t even have to introduce him), Perry Barlow (founder of the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace), Jeremy Beilenson (a Stanford psychologist studying the impact of the Internet on society), Kevin Werbach (gamification, Digital Toronto project), Ken Goldberg (robotics, robot psychologist), Michel Maharbiz ( insect-based IT platforms), a little crazy Jacques Fresco and focused on Andrew Ng (co-founder of Cursers). And there were many, many economists, psychologists, and so on.

    Then, a couple of years ago, on the basis of the same site, we then tried to launch a children's project. The idea was this: small interesting lectures, teleconferences with leading scientists examining various objects. In the first lesson about the human skeleton, for example, there was a doctor of medical sciences, a robot designer, a real astronaut and an anthropologist. But then, for a number of reasons, including commercial ones, a “large” adult education was more important.

    The idea is very simple.These are vivid lectures on the subject with the most interesting and vivid representatives of their professions, who in a cheerful manner tell about themselves, their business. We dilute events with games and interactive tasks, letting us feel the profession through them. Well, for the most interested children - we offer a set of programs, schools and initiatives that will help now begin to gather the necessary knowledge so that children can become what they really want to be. For example, our first lesson will be about programming, and guys from Yandex, several people from Habr, a psychologist-career counselor, will get on the TV. Grigory Bakunov from Yandex (@bobuk), Konstantin Kondratyuk from ITrening.rf and Dmitry Lokhansky from Kodabra have already confirmed. Their task is not to transfer knowledge, but:
    - To show children what is the coolest thing in their work and what they like about it.
    - Tell how they became developers.
    - Explain how to understand that you have a penchant for this profession.
    - And to give some funny-interesting-surprising facts or experiments, for example, to tell some beautiful algorithmic solution in a language understandable to children (in the spirit of the joke “why don't they play at night?”), Or something magical at the forefront technology.
    - Explain to parents why the child needs this in the future, and how this profession will look in 7-10 years in society.

    That is, the goal is to interest the child and give the parent motivation to move a little.

    The main information package comes after the lesson - this is a list of all the objects where you can get knowledge on the topic (“And you have a Lego robotics club in two quarters”), plus provide links to existing books, online courses, cool applications, projects and so on . All so that the child with his parents can study the topic more deeply.

    It's free. It gives motivation and perspectives. It gives knowledge. Our existing education system has a lot of wonderful things, and we just need to work a little better to become one of the strongest in the world again. A new generation of young professionals is now entering all sectors and turning them around. The role of knowledge is growing. In the end, large companies also need all this in the long run.

    Huge budgets are not needed. You just need to take it and do it.

    We have already taken the first step.January 25th will be the first lesson in programming and about programmers for schoolchildren (grades 5-11). I’ll talk about what work has been done to prepare it (and in general, what are some wonderful additional educational tools in IT) closer to the event.

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