I find that the children, in the industrialized countries, and more specifically South Korea, have become overstimulated.
There are 2 things that drive this situation. Reduction of hours of sleep and Increase in hours of study/training. Increase in Media exposure.
As a school owner, I am part of the problem, and therefore potentially, also a part of the solution.
How do we notice these overstimulations? What are, from my point, telltale signs of these issues? It basically comes down to attention issues. As most of my readers are teachers, I am sure most of your energy is focused on getting the kids to simply do what was asked of them. How many times do we deal with kids getting side-tracked, falling asleep in class, irregardless on how much energy the teachers themselves exert to get kids to focus on their tasks. Sometimes I see their brains going completely blank, right in front of my eyes, their brains stopped functioning and are crying out for rest.
I have steered my curriculum away from vocabulary and grammar memorization, and pushed into writing and speaking actions, because it allows for children to find expression to the many ideas floating inside their heads, and giving respite to the constant hammering of facts inside their heads. To focus on the creative energy within the children, that seems close to infinite, rather than the forcing of the brain to memorize specifics about few things they will rarely or never use. This is a personal opinion, not guided by any scientific research, but based on practical experience in the field. To stick to the practical.
It might be that the current stress we force onto our kids will create a new selection mechanism to separate the capable from the incapable, because that is what education today does. It separates children from the capable and the incapable, the fast and the slow, the dull and the creative. Rather than admitting that everyone is capable and incapable, fast and slow, dull and creative. Educations systems today are used to filter those who abide by what people specialized in Education find important ( I would like to refer to my post last week Testing), but is that really something we want to do? Is memorization an important part of being human? Is detailed flawless work the aim to go for? Is it important to write beautifully in cursive, as it was when I was younger? I say it is not.
What is important is the liberation of the mind to maximize the comprehension of reality. Humans are flawed, the brain is lazy due to the energy requirements to think, we are assumptive creatures, we see relations where there aren’t any since that is what will increase the likelihood of survival in the wilderness (fear!). I want my students to become fearless and free from these bonds, to express their point of view clearly and with no reserve. THIS IS NOT THE CURRENT EDUCATION ENVIRONMENT. The current environment still focuses all their energy to make children fearful for their future rather than hopeful. They enforce traditional thinking instead of creative thinking, simply because mistakes are considered bad, even in the classroom. Absolutely ridiculous.
We can reduce the stress of the overstimulated students by finding a better balance between different requirements within education. Yes, training your brain to do complex arithmetic without using tools IS useful, just not everyday. Teaching drama to allow children to find a way to express their thoughts is equally important. But in an environment where tests are believed to be the decisive factor in your value to society, the first one is applaud, since it can be measured, but the second is denied, due to the huge variance it displays from person to person. It is VARIANCE that we need. We need to allow people to create variance and potentially STUMBLE upon a new idea, something that could actually be useful for mankind as a whole. This is where chance flourishes, not in tests, but in people finding their way to express their unique point of view.
Testing uses well defined tools to find out very precise concepts of what we believe should be. Assessments would allow for a broader appreciation of the individual, and yes, they are also not without fault, but they will allow for children to maximize THEIR individual potential rather than the potential OTHERS want them to achieve. True Freedom.