It seems that just as children arrive at this "spark" of curiosity, schools more moving them in the opposite direction. Rigid curriculum narrow down this curiosity and are the death of wondering and constructing their own knowledge. These are the things that, according to Armstrong, the "schoolhouse" overemphasizes:
- Reading, writing and maths at the expense of other school subjects. In the words of Howard Gardner there is too much attention on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences at the expense of the other six intelligences.
- Scripted teaching programmes
- Fact based learning and standardized tests - a emphasis on acquiring finite, testable chunks of information at the expense of real world encounters where students can use their imaginations and questioning minds.
- Textbooks and worksheets
While I have been at international schools that have utilized standardized tests, I'm thankful that the emphasis has definitely been on real world learning and the social construction of knowledge. The PYP programme acknowledges that "learners have beliefs about how the world works based on their experiences and prior learning. Those beliefs, models or constructs are revisited and revised in the light of new experiences and further learning." Since the PYP strives for international mindedness, teachers are concerned that students are making connections between home, school and the world. I'm glad to read that, according to Armstrong, such an approach is be regarded as the best and most developmentally appropriate educational practice for elementary students.