Is it all group oriented hands-on learning in our Burbank schools now?


We’ve been looking at some of the new and supposedly innovative “21st-century learning” that’s been going on in our BUSD classrooms lately, and a simple question keeps popping up:

Are any of these kids getting lectured to by the teachers, and having actual academic information imparted to them by people who know more than they do? Or are they instead being forced to group themselves into various teams and “labs” in order to design, brainstorm and/or construct assorted mechanical projects or other materials and layouts of a physical nature?

Apparently not, or at least it’s not being talked about much.

Burbank’s not alone in this trend, either. It’s all over. Other school districts have adopted what they call “STEM Labs,” several of which involve purchasing expensive curriculum and supplies from one or two private-sector companies. The major source of these so-called “labs” also breaks the student-participants down into specific leadership roles as part of the overall lesson plan, and then gives them official military sounding titles such as commander, information specialist, communication specialist, and material specialist.

All of this is quite perverse of course, but it does handily indoctrinate the kids into possessing a structured, utilitarian world-view that’s quite convenient for the more authoritarian types among us. Has Burbank been charting this same course lately? Is it intending to?

Is there much real learning going on in our Burbank schools these days? Or is it all mostly just job training and conformist “team building”?

We’re kind of afraid to ask. Apparently no one else is. Do Burbank kids ever work and think alone? Or are they always being controlled and pestered at by the guy in charge, this time with fancy machines?


1 Comment

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One response to “Is it all group oriented hands-on learning in our Burbank schools now?

  1. Another anonymous

    I think this collaborative learning set-up works well for some kids but not at all for others. My son who is social and has trouble sitting still loves being in a classroom where you are encouraged to talk to your neighbor (especially after Catholic school where you were supposed to sit quietly and twiddle your thumbs while the rest of the class finished their busy work). But my daughter, on the other hand, has zero tolerance for dumb people and would not have survived non-stop group projects. From what I understand, they do get taught a lesson but work on the follow-up together. The work is usually done by whichever smart kid in the group asserts himself; the others just fart around — also good practice for real life, imho.

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