What should children be taught in their grammar schools these days?
What should children be thought in their grammar schools these days? What will our society look like in twenty years? What are the most efficient ways of teaching? What should the beneficial IT lesson be?
These and similar questions we put not only to ourselves but to various figures across disciplines as well, to people from science, business, education, parents and to all active people who understand that good-quality education is our future and that we cannot fully rely on our state in this regard.
"Our future is uncertain, that's the only thing that we can claim for sure," said Michael Sebek, professor of cybernetics at CTU (Czech Technical University) in Prague during his interview with Lucie Výborná on Czech Radio. Therefore, in his opinion, schools should prepare children for any future and develop those skills that are appropriate for every future. Our school has come up to the same conclusion and we think that it is necessary to develop creative and critical thinking, flexibility, the ability to communicate and the need for lifelong learning. Thus, there is responsibility instead of blind obedience and curiosity instead of expectation of closed lectures that we want to create our school on together with overall approach to students. We want our teaching to be a source of inspiration and good tools. We want to encourage young people to "try", not to be afraid of trying things in spite of making mistakes because one can effectively learn by making mistakes and it moves the person on and further. In our view, one of the main tasks of the school is to give people information about their personality, who they are, what their values are, what they are very good at or what their limits are. This is the only way to build an individual's natural self-confidence in order to live a fulfilled and happy life.
We want to be a place where there are good and healthy interpersonal relationships, a place where people respect each other, a place where both children and adults like to attend and meet because they feel safe there.
We have a wide field of activities in our IT specialization and we focus on modern technologies. The state-level ICT standard for grammar schools does not impose anything specific on us, it is very general and very academic standard. While trying to describe the key competences of a "digitally" literate individual in a comprehensive way, the formulations are so vague that they do not really provide schools with any key for the practical realization of ICT teaching. For instance,
"A student controls, interconnects and applies available ICT resources. A student utilizes theoretical and practical knowledge of the functions of individual hardware and software components to solve tasks creatively and effectively."
While the details in other school subjects described in the curriculum often go to the level of writers, terms, historical events and so on, there, in ICT, you will not find the word like IP address, browser, local storage, cloud, and so IT school teaching looks like this at most of our schools, as it is also aptly written by Mr. Michal Bláha on his blog.
We have decided to prepare a quality ICT curriculum by ourselves and create it based upon our own knowledge and experience in IT practice. We have decided to cooperate with leading technology companies such as Microsoft, Google, Oracle or JetBrains, that we have a good partnership with. We are going to look for other technology companies and possibilities of our interconnection, both to commercial and non-profit sphere. We have addressed to important scientific institutions. We have accepted a personal invitation from the head of the Institute of Informatics, Professor Pelican, to the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, to have their projects presented there and we have found out great potential for our mutual cooperation in the future.
We want to be in active contact with all progressive Czech schools, both grammar schools and universities. As for abroad, we are most attracted by Finnish schools. The Finns take education really very seriously and it is one of their main priorities so their education is at the top level and their results are among the best, although Finnish children spend the least time at school from all over Europe. Every child is important to Finnish teachers, everyone is gifted and everyone deserves attention. The teacher is a true personality there, highly competent not only in terms of expertise but also in human terms, and on this basis Finnish teachers are also valued both financially and socially. We would like to see such a model here too.
On the ground of the interviews we have hold, we are convinced that our public is not indifferent to education any more and that there is a growing number of people who realize the need for quality education and the real need for its system change.
We appreciate and thank everyone for their opinions, ideas and interesting suggestions.
"There is necessary the kind of school that you are creating very much here.... and if you ask me specifically about computer science, I would like to see the breadth of it... learn to program on various platforms, solve problems ... from jokes like do the snake in it here, to database, after a more complex system ... " (26.6. 2019)
Petr Mára, Technology Evangelist, Apple Certified Coach
"I have always asupported that children learn something that they will carry for life but the older I get, the more sceptical I am about it. Now I think that there is no need to learn a subject as itself and separately and learn everything by heart, now I hold the view that children should learn to think as a method, learn to draw knowledge, learn to learn, learn to navigate in a large amount of data. " (29.6. 2019)
Vladimír Pikora, Financial Market Analyst and Macroeconomist
"For me, a good grammar - school is a guide in the final stage of my childhood for life. We are historically accustomed to the paradigm that in the school we get unloaded with stuff and than at home we do our homework. Currently, it has been converting and the role of teachers is completely different than it is used to be... Now it is a role of guides, coaches, mentors ... and all of this puts also much greater demands on teachers." (10.7. 2019)
Petr Beneš, Co-founder of 6D Academy, Coach and Technology Optimist
"When you go to Matfyz (Mathematics and Physics Faculty) and look aroun there, you will find that there are the same number of male and female students. But in programming subjects there are only men, it doesn't make sense ... It was in the 1980s when IT was a hobby that started with hardware and when everyone firstly soldered and assembled something.
So, these days it is not longer like that, there should be both boys and girls and I would teach them to "algorithmize" them and to have IT crowd thinking. Furthemore, I would teach them that you need not only to write functional software, but also to know how it works in practice, what users really need and what I need to do to bring the product into market. " (11.7. 2019)
Jaroslav Řasa, Founder of ABRA Software
"If I think of any type of education, I can even think of it as a business. From my point of view, the ultimate goal of any human organisation is to let people know what they really are, so that the saying "Explore Yourself', from the Delphic Oracle, really gets above the doors of all educational institutions. " (14.8. 2019)
Ladislav Veselý, COO of Slevomat