A while ago I found a picture of how children are being tested by the same means and compared against one measure – intelligence. Every child and every person is unique, we all have a unique way of working and performing at our best. Throughout school we are all told that we will only be successful if we do well in exams at school, go to college, go to university and get a good job. But we aren’t told what we are best at. We aren’t told what is the best path for us.
The correct route for a child must include understanding the individual child’s advantages and disadvantages but also their motivation.
These days there are so many routes of education that it can all become a bit confusing. Knowing which route is right for you can be difficult but made even harder when the correct route is not known. For example, a child will go through the education system which I mentioned before just because it’s what their friends, parents, grandparents and so on went through. Nowadays the education system is growing with more possibilities for children to follow which are best for them. These could be missed at vital stages because it’s not seen as the right route as it is the unknown.
In the past educators have been working on more pressing matters such as all children having the right to an education regardless of wealth, thus taking many young children out of the workhouse and into the classroom. They were also concerned with making sure both boys and girls had equal opportunities in education.
Now, in a time where everyone does have equal rights to education, particularly in 1st world countries, research is developing in education and lifestyle and many routes are being discovered which are specific to each individual. While education is important the correct route for a child is key to making that education successful.
The correct route for a child must include understanding the individual child’s advantages and disadvantages but also their motivation. If you can combine a persons dream job their best environment to work in and their advantages and disadvantages only then can you be best informed as to which path a child must take. Fitting a person to the job comes under the ‘person-environment fit theory’ as suggested by Caplan and Harrison (1982) and many others over the years stating that only when you understand the true interest of a person and their ideal environment they will perform at their best.
The different routes:
- Mainstream school – educating all students regardless of ability or any other needs during specific schooling hours. Differences may occur in whether the school is a specialist in a specific subject or how they choose to teach their pupils. As mentioned in another blog I posted a few weeks ago there is still much controversy as to whether pupils should be taught all together regardless of ability or whether they should be put into sets of high to low ability so that they can learn at their own speed.
- Specialist school – secondary schools that aim to be centres of excellence in a certain specialism
- Special needs school – A school for children who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age.
- College – an institution of higher learning, especially one providing a general or liberal arts education rather than technical or professional training.
- Apprenticeships – An apprenticeship is when someone learns from the boss on a particular job, some professions even have apprenticeship programs where an apprentice learns on the job
- UTC – all have a university as a lead sponsor. Further education colleges, charitable organisations and the private sector may help co-sponsor as well
- University – a high-level educational institution in which students study for degrees and academic research is done
Some of these routes are becoming much more popular than they once were such as apprentice is rather than the conventional college route after secondary school. But a lot more work must be done to enable all routes to be of equal measure and of equal opportunity to all students without stigma. I know I used to be influenced by this stigma before joining university: meeting new people and learning what they did for a living I would automatically have a view of the person dependent on whether they were going to university or were going to work straight off to college or who had just dropped out of college. But what I’ve learnt is these routes may not have been right for these individuals and a better (perhaps unknown) one was right around the corner.
These lesser routes include special needs schools and UTC’s. Special needs schools support many different children with special needs from ADHD, autism and learning difficulties. It seems these days that these schools are stigmatised for being a less than desirable route but this is WRONG. These special needs schools shape and teach these children in a way that reaches out to them better than any mainstream school could.
Every school helps children in different ways, not as a better school in comparison but as a better method for those individuals. If a child is put into a special needs school people automatically think of a ‘problem child’ who will find it hard to succeed but this is not the case. The children of all these institutions all learn what they need to get jobs and succeed at what they aspire to, just in different ways. The stigma must end to avoid children from getting put in the wrong route for them because of the stigma surrounding lesser-known routes.
UTC’s are a very new educational route involving a more technical basis shaping skills for the job world, jobs include that of engineers, plumbers, technicians, electricians. UTC’s are for 14-18-year-olds and therefore would involve pulling students out of secondary education in year 9 to join this new institution. The barrier towards this route arises as parents are very reluctant to stop a child’s education for something they are interested in now and might not be in the future.
It is a big decision but maybe a very beneficial route for the child’s educational successes. With more publicity and understanding about these other routes perhaps the stigma could be reduced and every child will follow the correct route for them and reach their potential.
In the future, I shall write a blog about the stigmas surrounding different routes of education and how it is damaging the future of many children who could thrive in these other institutions.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Emma Cree and published with kind permission. This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2020 by the UKEd Editorial team in accordance with website and policy changes.
The original post can be found here.