What Are We Doing Wrong: A Teacher’s View On How To Fix Problems In Schools

Education is the backbone of our society. It is the key to the development of the nation and its future. Schools provide a pathway to developing the future of the country. However, we fail to understand that schools lack certain qualities that lead to problems many times. These qualities are necessary to create citizens of tomorrow. With my own experience as a teacher, I have made a list of 7 common problems in schools and how we can improve them.

7 Common Problems In Schools and How To Fix Them?

1. Lack of Creativity is a Problem in School

Benjamin Franklin once said: “Tell me, and I forget, teach me, and I may remember, involve me, and I learn.”

Your child can excel in life when he/she is free to experiment and grow holistically. Curiosity in the child encourages independent learning. However, this is not the case in some schools. Many schools focus more on scoring at the exams rather than understanding the concept.

Rote learning and its disadvantages

  • Rote learning also makes studying boring, uninteresting, and unengaging.
  • The child also has no passion for the subject.
  • Additionally, the child doesn’t understand the primary subject matter fully.
  • Even when it comes to subjects like mathematics, many students memorize theorems without understanding the logic behind it.
  • The child will have a shallow understanding of the concept.
  • As a result, they may not be able to retain it for a long time.

One of the primary goals of the education system is to prepare the child for real-life future situations and problems. 1 in 5 students feels stressed out because of this pressure.

However, rote learning focuses more on memorization. It does not provide any necessary critical thinking skills of problem-solving skills. Sadly, many schools blindly ignore the real-life application of knowledge.

How to fix the lack of creativity in school students?

Let the child explore his skills and express his views. Don’t stop the child from asking questions, sharing their opinions, channeling meaningful discussions, etc. Additionally, allow students to explore their creativeness.

For this, use appropriate, fascinating, and useful ways. Encourage them to take creative risks.

  • Teachers need to monitor the participation level in classroom activities.
  • Use questioning regularly to check if your students have understood things.
  • Allow students to do their projects and assignments in their way as creatively as possible.
  • Inculcate independent learning among the children.
  • Organize field trips out of class learning, which will encourage students to explore the world.

2. Poor Curriculum is a Problem in School

A poorly planned curriculum is one of the major problems in schools these days. The syllabus and the curriculum play a vital role in what the student learns. The curriculum is a road map for learning.

It is a totality of all the experiences, including curricular and co-curricular activities. Hence, it needs to maintain a good balance. The poor curriculum is a recipe for disaster. An imbalanced curriculum affects the holistic development of the child.

Children from Japan lead the world in numeracy and literacy skills. The Japanese school system is designed in a way that makes the kids smart by understanding concepts. They focus only on the quality of lessons and not quantity!

Our curriculum is not suitable for the job market. The textbooks are not updated from time to time or contain wrong information.

Many schools show more importance to academics rather than activities. Moreover, poor timetable planning and work distribution leave very little time for extracurricular activities.

How to fix the school’s problem of the poor curriculum?

  • Schools must set up a curriculum planning committee in each school.
  • At the end of each year, this committee is responsible for planning the curriculum for the next academic year.
  • The committee must include teachers (department heads), school principal, and educational experts.
  • Schools must follow a proper plan keeping in mind the holistic development of the students as well as the needs of the society.
  • Opinions of parents, as well as alumni, should also be taken while planning the curriculum.
  • Schools must include balanced-curriculum and extracurricular activities as well as co-curricular activities.
  • Before the year concludes, a small committee must be set up to evaluate how effective the curriculum had been.
  • The school must plan the following year’s curriculum based on these results.

3. Untrained Teachers are a Problem in School

There are several easy ways to become a better teacher. A good teacher and quality education are the students’ rights. There are still many schools across the world that still have unqualified or inexperienced teachers working for them. Poor quality teachers are a significant problem in the education system.

A teacher from Los Angeles writes, “To this day, I carry the guilt of my own lack of preparation as a new teacher and how it affected those first few classes of kids.” 

As per UNESCO statistics, we need to hire 68.8 million trained teachers to provide every child with quality education. This means there is a demand for 44.4 million secondary teachers and 24.4 million primary teachers.

Sadly, there are still many teachers who have the habit of relapsing to the old pattern. These teachers are skeptical about the efficacy of modern methods of teaching and learning. Moreover, they are not assertive.

Many teachers don’t even have the necessary qualifications, training, or aptitude for teaching in a school. Some teachers lack initiative and a spirit of exploration.

Very few teachers have an attitude and passion for experimentation and research. This eventually results in a faulty evaluation. It also causes problems in the correction of written work and lesson planning.

Additionally, it may also lead to poor teaching and a casual attitude in the workplace. This interferes with the development of the all-round personality of the child.

How to fix the school’s problem of untrained teachers?

  • Teachers who don’t have proper qualifications should be encouraged to enroll in distance and open education.
  • There are various government authorized courses available online for untrained teachers.
  • In-service teachers should also undergo regular training and attend workshops to stay updated with the latest teaching-learning methodologies.
  • Apart from this, teachers should also be given basic training in classroom management, classroom design, evaluation, and assessment, etc..
  • Teachers should also be trained in time management to increase their efficiency.
  • In worst-case scenarios, if a teacher resists taking any courses or undergoing training, they should be given an ultimatum. E.g., restrictions with regards to their promotions, benefits, etc.

4. Lack Of finance is a Problem in School

No aspect of educational activity can be conceived without the provision of sufficient funds. Educational investment cannot be separated from education. A massive amount of money is involved in educational programs.

Mainly two types of resources require investment in the school. They are

1. the human resources,
2. and physical resources.

However, there still many schools that lack proper funding. UNESCO estimates the annual education financing gap at the US $26 billion.

This results in a shortage of facilities provided to the students or poor compensations for the staff. Due to a lack of finances, some schools are unable to conduct extracurricular activities. This indirectly affects the child’s development and growth.

Funding is the main issue of many under managed schools. Once we address this problem, all other problems in schools can immediately vanish.

How to fix the problem of the school’s finance?

  • Financial planning is an essential part of running a school successfully.
  • For this purpose, set up a proper committee consisting of PTA members. Selected faculties, including teachers, and management must take part in such meetings.
  • Additional school expenses should be cut short. Most of the time in a school, more money is spent on other costs rather than education itself.
  • Having one fundraising drive every year can help schools to raise funds for certain cultural or extra activities.
  • Some of these fundraising ideas include a bake sale, exhibitions cum auctions, charity performances, etc.
  • The government can also help to raise funds.
  • During the financial crisis, the school authorities can write a letter to the local government asking for financial aid.
  • Apart from this, public companies can also come forward to aid.

5. Outdated Teaching-Learning Methods are a Problem in School

In a classroom, a teacher is a leader. The best way teachers can lead the class is through their teaching-learning activities. Schools are no longer limited to four walls.

Students in our classrooms come from diverse backgrounds and have different stories to tell. We have all different kinds of learners in the class.

What works best for one child may not be suitable for another. However, teachers fail to understand this.

Teachers teach as per their comfort, disregarding the needs of the pupils, especially specially-abled students.

Completing the portion on time is the main priority. The lecture method is one of the most commonly used methods of teaching. Teachers fail to include the use of technology, practical methods, activities, interaction, etc.

This problem profoundly affects slow learners and students with learning disabilities. Only 2% of teachers are currently using virtual reality in the classroom. 

How to fix outdated teaching methods?

  • The school needs to adopt a child-centric teaching policy. In this, each lesson suits the needs of the children.
  • Involving students in an active part of the process is a must.
  • Train your teachers to use technology in everyday classroom teaching effectively.
  • Involve students in activities, discussions, and regularly debates to develop higher-order thinking skills in them.
  • The internet has so many sites that help in improving the teaching-learning.

6. No Proper Space, Facilities, and Maintenance is a Problem in School

Studies have shown that children who study in a poorly maintained environment can face many health problems.

No school can function in air. It can work only when proper material equipment is available—these types of equipment to the school as the body to the soul. School buildings require proper maintenance from time to time.

However, there are still many schools in sub-Saharan Africa that don’t adequately maintain school buildings, amenities, and infrastructure. As a result, schools with bad infrastructure have many different types of problems like leakages, molds, etc.

Many students huddle together in the dark. They reluctantly sit on floors or under a weak roof or in a dreary old building.

Moreover, basic facilities aren’t available in many schools. Only one-third of schools in the state of Bihar has a playground. A survey conducted of 2.4 lakh secondary and senior secondary schools in India stated that almost 75% of schools lack decent science labs.

How to fix maintenance issues in school?

  • Lack of facilities is somewhere related to a lack of finance. Hence, we must raise funds for the same purpose.
  • Alumni of the institutions can also provide financial support by donating books or apparatus, certain utilities like water filters, benches, desks, etc.
  • Smartboards in classrooms can be a solution to many issues.
  • For schools with a lack of space, online laboratories or virtual laboratories can act as a replacement for labs.
  • The basis of any classroom is:

  1. proper ventilation
  2. electricity
  3. benches and chairs
  4. bright colored walls
  5. a well-maintained blackboard
  6. and as much natural lighting as possible.
  • Moreover, toilets should be adequate in number. Additionally, they should have proper water flow.
  • Regular inspection and supervision of the school resources and equipment are necessary.

7. Poor Coordination & Communication Between Parents-Teacher

When it comes to imparting education, it’s not just the teacher’s responsibility. Parents and the community need to be equally involved. However, most of the schools lack the involvement of parents in a student’s education.

There are several benefits of parental involvement in a child’s development, including better academic performance and socio-emotional development.

A school is a part of the community and is equally responsible for the development of the members of the community.

In many schools, there is minimal parents and community involvement in the teaching-learning process.

As per the research from Capita SIMS, 57% of parents feel primary school reports do not contain enough information about how their child is doing.

One of the main reasons for the education system’s failure is the participants’ blame game. When a child’s performance is terrible, the parents are quick to blame the teacher and vice versa. If something goes wrong, we quickly point fingers at each other.

We spend more time finding whose fault it is rather than searching for a solution. Stress, unmet expectations, low morale, personal problems, gossips, etc. are some of the reasons for poor coordination and communication between the staff and the parents.

How to fix bad communication issues in schools?

  • Every quarterly, parents and teachers must meet to keep the parents updated about the happenings in school. Encourage friendly measures to contact parents like visiting homes, sending progress reports, inviting parents to school, etc.
  • School should be made community-centered and be an active member by involving itself in social work.
  • Introduce special days like ‘Career Day,’ where people from the community or the parents can share their expertise in their career path with the students. Arrange special lectures, shows, exhibitions, etc. to engage the community and parents.
  • Reasoning and modes of persuasion should be adopted while dealing with any problems. We must understand the problem and situation to find a solution for it through teamwork.

Concluding thoughts,

To conclude, life is also about learning, apart from living. School is necessary for children to teach the workings of life. Developing a plan to take schools in the right direction is easier said than done.

The concerned authorities need to understand the problems and work towards rectifying them. We shall not be able to solve the issues at once, but slowly, we make progress and solve all of them.

Key Takeaways

  • Schools provide a pathway to developing the future of the country.
  • However, schools lack certain qualities that are necessary to create citizens of tomorrow.
  • Many schools focus more on scoring at the exams rather than understanding the concept.
  • One of the primary goals of the education system is to prepare the child for real-life future situations and problems.
  • Additionally, allow students to explore their creativeness by using appropriate, fascinating, and useful ways.
  • An imbalanced curriculum affects the holistic development of the child.
  • Schools must include a balanced-curriculum and extracurricular & co-curricular activities.
  • There is a need for 68.8 million trained teachers across the world. Many teachers don’t even have the necessary qualifications or training for teaching in a school. Some teachers lack initiative and a spirit of exploration.
  • Teachers fail to include the use of technology, practical methods, activities, interaction, etc.
  • They fail to include the use of technology, practical methods, activities, interaction, etc.
  • Teachers must stay updated with the latest teaching-learning methodologies.
  • Therefore, teachers should also be given basic training in classroom management, classroom design, evaluation, and assessment, etc.
  • Financial planning is an essential part of running a school successfully.
  • Lack of facilities is somewhere related to a lack of finance. Hence, we must raise funds for the same purpose.
  • Due to lack of finances, the school or the teachers are unable to conduct different activities on the school premises.
  • One of the main reasons for the education system’s failure is the lack of parental involvement in a child’s education. If something goes wrong, we quickly point fingers at each other. Instead, both parties must focus on bridging the gap between parents and teachers.
  • School should be made community-centered and be an active member by involving itself in social work.
  • We shall not be able to solve the issues at once, but slowly, we make progress and solve all of them.

Your thoughts,

What are your thoughts on problems in schools and the education system? Did your school have any of the problems mentioned here? Share your comments below.

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Felicia is a full-time teacher and a freelancer with interests in blogging. Also, a die-hard fan of the FRIENDS series.