How High Schools Fail

High school is a world in itself. Educators are faced with many tasks that come up throughout the four years of high school. From grades 9-12 students’ main focus are on making sure that they meet the requirements that will make them a good candidate for graduation or college hereafter. Teachers try to prepare students to qualify, but very often the focal point is not to function in that future setting.

Well what would a high school student need to do to prepare for college? For one it is important that high school students be independent thinkers. Educators need to make sure that they give their students many opportunities to express their views and develop their thinking skills.

Many students in high school expect to be spoon fed. They find it very difficult to think through and form opinions that are valid on complex issues. They have not developed the ability to think on their own.  This should have begun way before high school so that it would be a lifetime ability.

In high school you should be preparing for college or vocational school, but somehow this gets “lost in translation”.  Attending college is a very different story from high school. There are many professors and educators in the college setting who do not care if a student gets a proper education. Some feel that the student should have already developed many of the skills that college require.  While all educator are not there for nefarious reasons there are quite a few who catch new students off guard.

Many students find college difficult because they do not have study skills. They are often taken by surprise by the amount of reading and studying that is required to function in the college world. Those that are more successful in college are those who were use to a heavy course loads in high school. They knew how to cope with the stresses and strains of studying, writing, and learning. It was not new to them.

Students are not exposed enough to literature or analysis of literature so therefore they find it difficult to comprehend or interpret books and works set before them. Grammar has also taken a back seat in high school all together, so teachers in college find it difficult to teach skills that should have been learned already.  In the past number of years curricula have changed where some of the requirements in the past are no longer studied.  This has created a backlash of uneducated students.  Although it is important to have relevant material in schools it is also important to study the works of the past and have higher expectations from students.  We do them a disservice expect little.

It is the high schools responsibility to stretch students minds and abilities to help them reach for the moon and stars rather than stay earthbound.  Many teacher are also ethnocentric and do not believe in the abilities of students.  Sometimes schools also get bogged down in funding that they fail to focus on educating kids and inspiring them to greatness.

Okay! So what is the parent’s role in this? Well it is important to help your child be as well rounded as possible, but at the most they need help to be exposed to reading and writing for many years before coming to college.

So college is not just class work it is an overall experience in all areas of life. Social skills are very important to help students interact with others that they will be in close proximity with. So a good part of the preparation for college is learning to talk and interact with others which many high school students are reluctant to do.

Lastly, college is writing, writing, and more writing. For the most part every course that a student will take whether writing intensive or not will require a lot of writing. So it would be well for students to do as much writing as possible in high school and do it well.

It is possible to teach high school student thinking and writing skill before coming to college. It might be more of a burden on high school teachers to improve their students preparation skills, but it will be beneficial to the students throughout their lives.