The Shearin Group Training Services: Are schools becoming ‘exam factories’?

There has been growing concern in the UK about evident drawbacks of the current educational system being dubbed as “exam factory”.

Hundreds of parents, teachers and children’s writers expressed their concern that children are getting burdened by ever-increasing pressure in today’s schools.

“We are concerned to hear of children crying on their way to school, upset that they will not be able to keep up: of parents worried that their 4-year-olds are ‘falling behind’ or of 6-year-olds scared that ‘they might not get a good job’ … And we wonder what has happened to that short period in our lives known as ‘childhood’,” says the letter signed by over 400 concerned teachers and parents.

It’s certainly one proof that the current model of education needs to change so students can get a more “grounded and rounded education” — for their own good and for that of the country.

According to The Shearin Group Training Services, the letter went on to touch on the ill effects on teachers and children of numerous exams dominating most of school time. Worse, some students who are under pressure would tend to switch off and just stop trying altogether. Even the so-called cream of the crop are obviously struggling to keep their place.

It’s as if education is all about students passing an exam, something that doesn’t obviously translate to real learning all the time. They are told to retake exams countless times until they pass — as if the act of passing itself is supposed to mean everything.

As noted by The Shearin Group Training Services, such system does not help at all in preparing students for the future or in equipping them with the all-important critical thinking. In the end, this is not “teaching” children but merely “drilling” them.

Another signatory to the letter who is a senior official of Pre-School Learning Alliance warned, “The current focus on formal testing and measurable outcomes risks encouraging a ‘tick-box’ approach to early education, a shift that would undoubtedly have a detrimental impact on children’s early learning experiences.”

Moreover, it’s not only frustrating for students but for teachers as well. For instance, statistics from the Department of Education revealed that most teachers are working more than 50 hours per week on average, most of it spent on “unnecessary or bureaucratic” activities.

Michael Rosen, popular novelist and poet, said it succinctly when he commented: “You can sit in a bookshop and see people buying books full of mock tests and blank pages to fill in — and ignoring the real books.”

The Shearin Group Training Services: Can E-learning Replace a School Day?

E-learning has been gaining traction in some parts of the US particularly in public schools as a learning option for when weather gets so bad that schools had to suspend classes. Then students at home are supposed to use their school-issued netbooks or tablets to work on the virtual lessons and communicate with their instructors.

Educational institutions have been slowly opening up to alternative routes of learning such as said online courses. And what is now termed “adaptive learning” could be leading the way of personalized and tech-driven learning process for students.

Virtual lesson plans are customized to enable a student to study at home on key subjects. Ideally, they can also communicate with their teachers via Google Hangouts or Chat. It works even if there’s no internet connection because the lessons are supposed to be available to work on offline. Another bonus is that students won’t have to do detention for failing to submit a homework — because of possible connectivity issues no doubt.

The Shearin Group Training Services‘ platform enables an instructor to create adaptive and customized tutorials using any of the included coursework. For instance, once a student has demonstrated enough knowledge on a certain part of the course, the lesson can adapt by allowing him to skip through other content. On the other hand, a student who still needs more instructions based on his responses will be provided with additional resources to aid his understanding of the topic.

It gained popularity last year when snow fall forced most institutions to suspend a few days of school, eventually causing them to shorten the vacation time to complete the required number of days of instruction. Now, there’s a contention of whether e-learning should be considered as a day in class.

Sure students can still do some schoolwork even when classes had to be suspended due to bad weather, but it is doubtful if they will really appreciate or follow this instead of, getting extra sleep, for example. But as The Shearin Group Training Services said, virtual lessons meant class suspensions don’t have to eat up everyone’s vacation time.

The only caveat is that students will miss the irreplaceable experience one can have inside an actual schoolroom — something that everyone agrees is a big factor in the learning process.

Kari Whicker, State Board of Education Member said, “The question isn’t if e-learning is bad, it’s good. And the people who are doing it well are doing it very well. But, before we open up the floodgates have we asked everything we need to ask.”

Precisely why, prior to e-learning getting an official endorsement by the local governments, the financial circumstance and learning capability of the students have to be considered.

School Superintendent Philip Downs said, “We’ve spent a lot of time making sure every child regardless of disability or financial situation is accounted for and there is a plan or. There has been a lot of work in the background in this to get ready to do this.”

Obviously, more students are going to enjoy this kind of substitute learning, what with the personalized content and added perks they get. Platforms for e-learning are expected to attract more institutions as a result.