[Not] technical secondary, or why the school prepares the humanities

It so happened historically that I had the opportunity to work in different areas: from sewing shoes and repairing electronics to releasing (for some period of time - almost alone) a weekly magazine and teaching robotics to younger schoolchildren and preschoolers.
And wherever I worked, I met with people who are absolutely not friends with technology and do not understand the principles of operation of devices and mechanisms that they encounter in everyday life. For 8 years of work at school, I managed to make sure that this problem goes back to school years. Alas, the modern Russian school releases children into an “adult” life completely unprepared from a technical point of view. I will not now talk about the compulsory school curriculum, how it has changed in recent decades, and what these changes have led to. This is not my field. But I would like to “delve” into the purely practical part of school education.

I will start from the end, from the conclusion to which I arrived, thinking about the voiced problem. It is simple: at school there is neither a material base, nor personnel for preparing children for real life. Yes, there is a show-exhibition exemplary gymnasiums, but they are lost among thousands of ordinary schools, and their graduates are only a small part of the total number of schoolchildren.

The reality is: we are surrounded by technology. Computers, programmable and robotic devices and other, other, other ... Even the once purely working specialties (such as turner) are gradually turning into engineering specialties, focused on programming.

A small example. In our village there is a production of electromagnetic equipment for cranes. The last few years, high school students lead there on excursions. Production is modern, growing. But children, even having been in such production, do not ignite the desire to learn from turners and engineers. One of the reasons for this reluctance is that, after school lessons in labor, they have little idea what it is like to work as a turner in modern manufacturing. After all, typical school workshops of the sample of 2018 are no different from the same workshops of the 80s of the last century. Literally - nothing. As a graduate of our school in 2000, I can confidently say: in 25 years, labor lessons have not changed. Totally. From the technology - only ancient woodworking machines (since my study there were fewer, some were written off due to respectable age), and the TV6-M lathes with poor at the present time capabilities and terrible (due to age) appearance. And that's all.

Find 5 differences:

The rest is a hand tool that works for more than one generation of schoolchildren. No modern equipment, no programmable machines, not even banal electric jigsaws and engravers / Dremels. Of course, modern children, who have learned labor education in such conditions, are not eager to connect their lives with working professions and rush to universities for the "prestigious" specialties of future unemployed lawyers and economists. The saddest thing is that parents usually support this choice of their offspring in every possible way, since they themselves are poorly aware of modern realities, if they are not engaged in the technical field. No, of course, there are quite a few graduates who deliberately choose the profession of engineer or teacher, but there are no queues for workers in specialty jobs, to put it mildly.

Children who are accustomed to communicating with technology without understanding the principles of its work (the ability to download a new photo in Vkontakte and download the latest version of Tanks is not counted), in the real world they start to experience problems in the technical field. Being, for example, good doctors or accountants, they fall into a stupor at the sight of a new program they need. But, as I said, now digital technology literally surrounds us. The computer needs a doctor, teacher, seller. Modern turners and, often, a woodworker are half programmers, half are specialists in 3D modeling. And the modern school does not provide these important skills.

This, however, is not the only problem of labor education in its current form. Having spent the last six months studying robotics, I ran into two more evils of the modern school. First, the children are mostly terrible individualists. Teaching them to work even in a team of two people is not a one-month task. And this problem naturally follows from the whole of modern school. “Ivanov, do not write off!”, “Petrov, do not prompt!”, “Sidorov, Pupkin, I will share the assessment for two!”. Familiar, right? We grow people who can not work in a team. Moreover, we disaccustom students to teamwork! Perhaps the only lessons where teamwork skills are minimally involved are physical education (the “game” part of it, soccer, for example). But this is not enough!

Finally, the third problem I would like to touch on today is the inability of schoolchildren to use the good old “scientific method”. Again I refer to my (albeit small) experience in teaching robotics. Faced with the simplest technical problem when assembling a model from a designer (one detail is not obvious in the photo instruction), children fall into a stupor. Many, without mastering the assembly with 100% compliance with the sample, after the second or third attempt, they completely give up lessons with the comment “still nothing works.” Yes, there are exceptions, but there are only a few. In my experience, approximately 1 out of 20 students is capable of solving the problem on their own. The rest of the algorithm of action when confronted with the slightest problem is the same: we immediately call the teacher. They do not try to experiment, do not try to peep the solution from a neighbor.

Children simply do not understand where it is necessary to follow the instructions, and where it is possible (and it is necessary!) To show imagination, try to solve the problem using the “spear method”. Even when such children are explicitly pushed to experiment, departing from the instructions, one can see incomprehension in the eyes. “Of course, because in the picture there is a yellow part, of length N, how can one put the blue part N + 1 here?”

And now let's imagine these children in the role of specialists in adult life. The surgeon during the operation runs to consult with a senior colleague. The engineer / architect, to whom modern materials and technologies are available, continues to design “in the old manner”, copying “time-tested” solutions from year to year. For years the teacher has been giving the same lectures, ignoring the realities in his field. Turner with experience unsuccessfully trying to turn a part on a new digital machine. Football players of the national team play every man for himself. Lack of flexibility causes errors, stagnation, unnecessary financial costs, perhaps even tragedies.

So what can (and should) be changed? What components to add to the school curriculum to fill these holes in the education of children? I will try to briefly formulate my opinion. Immediately, I note that I do not propose to include everything listed in the compulsory school curriculum. But all this should be in school at least at the level of circles and extracurricular activities. Schools need to be provided with the necessary equipment and trained personnel. So that those children who want to study the relevant subjects could do it. And it is in his school, and not in any paid educational center, the only one for the whole region / republic or a show-exhibition exemplary gymnasium. With regard to teamwork and the ability to make decisions, achieving the result "at random" - these skills also need to instill in the school, necessarily and everywhere.

So what I consider mandatory for school.

1. Programming and algorithmization. Yes, in short, this discipline remained in the school curriculum. But in comparison with the curriculum of the sample of the 90s, this section within the framework of the informatics course is noticeably simplified. The flowcharts of the algorithms are studied very superficially, there is no OOP at all in the typical school curriculum. Schoolchildren are not taught to invent more or less complex algorithms from scratch. The level of a modern school is to program in a familiar language a typical algorithm from a textbook (sorting by one of the “classical” methods, for example). But algorithmization is a very important skill in the modern world. Now almost all household appliances are programmed to one degree or another: washing machines, televisions, multicookers ... Even teapots are already controlled via the Internet from a phone and are programmed ...

2. Basic robotics. Some minimum course should be in the mandatory program, in the framework of computer science. So that the schoolchildren, at least in general terms, would imagine how to program “material” objects, and not just the notorious “bug” with a pencil, drawing on the screen. You give a real turtle on wheels, drawing on Whatman paper! Within the framework of this course, the ability to apply the “spear method” is very well developed, to go to the result, without being obsessed with failures.

3. Programming CNC machines. I believe that every self-respecting school workshop of the 21st century should have at least one CNC milling machine. And even better a few. In addition to studying the basics of modern “milling” (which in itself is useful in terms of educating future masters), such a machine can be a good help for classes in robotics (it can be used to make parts of robots). Also in school workshops there should be ordinary engravers / dreamers, working with whom the children can better imagine the purely mechanical possibilities of the cutters, learn how to work with various materials in a modern way. Without such skills, it will be more difficult to start working with a programmable milling machine (it is highly likely that children will disable the machine by selecting the wrong cutter / speed, or they will “lock” the workpiece).

Feel the difference:

4. Programming automation. The name is very conditional. In fact, this is a kind of a mixture of robotics of a more advanced (as compared with the previously proposed “basic”) level and programming. Automation penetrates all spheres of life - “smart” houses, assembly lines ... The basics of all this in the modern world must be known from school. And this is one of those “subjects” in which you can instill the skills of “team play” in children. The work is best organized in the form of “projects”, within the framework of which the children will independently distribute their roles in the team (perhaps, someone is not very friendly with the tools, but easily comes up with algorithms; and someone can easily do it for a robot or device excellent body). Moreover, within the framework of such studies, the role of the teacher should be reduced to a minimum supply of theoretical material and general control. It is important that children learn to solve problems on their own (with minimal clues from the teacher), this skill is extremely important in adulthood. When yesterday's schoolboy comes to work, he (with very few exceptions) will not have a mentor who will always help / tell / do the work for him. In the real world, any problem will have to be solved independently.

A small lyrical digression. In the years of study at the university, I formulated for myself one of the fundamental problems of modern education. More precisely - the classical education that came into the XXI century is almost unchanged. This problem is attempts to push as much actual knowledge as possible into the heads of schoolchildren / students. Why do I think this approach is wrong? It's simple: in recent decades, the information flow has been growing exponentially (see https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informational_explosion ). The amount of skills for most types of activities also increased markedly (at least, computer skills became compulsory).

A banal example: local doctors spend half of the time allotted for receiving patients to fill out forms on a computer; if the doctors had more “pumped up” skills, they would have more time for the patient. If the developers of the “hospital” software were less curved, the forms would help the doctors, rather than load them with meaningless work. And if the officials who came up with all these forms, tried to work with them day by day ...

The evolution of the human brain is not keeping pace with the rapidly changing world. So, it is vital to revise the approach to the training of specialists. The spread of global networks and the development of various storage devices of information led to the fact that in every corner of the globe, reference materials from any branch of knowledge are available to a person. Therefore, in my opinion, modern education should focus not on memorizing facts and formulas available at the click of a mouse, but on the ability to work with this “information field”, that is, to quickly find the right information and apply the “knowledge” found in practice.

Let's be honest, and 30 and 50 years ago even the best engineers and scientists didn’t memorize tons of formulas, but turned to books as needed. Now the volume of necessary information has grown, many areas of human activity are closely intertwined. But at the same time, knowledge became much more accessible. But, alas, graduates of the school do not know how well (or do not know how) to work with large streams of information. “OK, Google, show me the map of Russia!” - it doesn't count, this is a skill of searching for the most primitive level, as well as copying “essays from the Internet”. The ability to look for code samples, reference and statistical information is important. And not just search, but recycle, screen out, generalize. And this skill is already of a slightly different level, and, alas, modern education practically does not develop it.

As a brief summary of the previous paragraph: modern schoolchildren should be given the broadest possible outlook, removing the depth of knowledge to the background. Children should “try themselves” in as many specialties as possible during their school years. And, in practice. A student may not realize that he has a talent for 3D modeling if he does not try to make the first model. He may not assume that programming is “his theme,” if at school he becomes acquainted only with the primitive Pascal dialect, without knowing the possibilities of OOP, web development, etc. And certainly, modern children, surrounded by digital electronics, will not go on learning to turners, if they get the concept of this profession by looking at ancient TV6-M machines in a school workshop.

Therefore, it is important not to dwell on drumming dry facts into the heads of children. If the need arises, any student in a couple of minutes will find on the Internet the date of accession to the throne of Nicholas II. Much more useful for the student will be able to analyze the proposed events from different points of view. It is much more useful not to memorize a ton of physical formulas, but to be able to see the physical processes in the real world (and if necessary, quickly find suitable forums and calculate). Therefore, it is important to develop an outlook, and to leave actual knowledge behind the brackets. In the modern world, they faded into the background.
But back to the main topic of the article.

5. 3D printing. In the very near future, this direction will lead to a technical revolution. Already today, with the help of 3D printing technology, buildings, human organs and much more are created. The simplest 3D printer gives anyone the opportunity to model, which 10 or 20 years ago were only available through large-scale production. Designing three-dimensional models, debugging printing technology, all this will allow you to “pump” important skills, teaches you to achieve results, despite the mistakes. Plus, 3D printing can be a good help in the educational process as a whole. You can make tutorials, useful things, parts for robots.

6. Fundamentals of radio electronics. As practice shows, graduates of the school can not apply knowledge from the school course of physics in practice, do not "see" electrical circuits in everyday life. Meanwhile, we also deal with the fundamentals of radio electronics every day: when we just click the light switch on the wall, the electrical circuit closes. I believe that it is necessary to return the basics of assembling electrical circuits that are common in everyday life (connecting sockets, switching on lamps) to the program of labor education. Equally useful in life is the skill of soldering, the design of the simplest electronic devices. Up until the end of the 90s, radio modeling circles were in most cities and towns. Now, outside the regional centers, they are almost gone. The main reasons for their disappearance are the absence of teachers and an outdated material base. To revive this direction is necessary. And to revive on the modern element base, using electronic constructors.

In its simplest form, this course, in my opinion, is mandatory for inclusion in the technology program. In the advanced - well complements the course of robotics and automation or can exist in the form of an independent circle.

7. , , , - .It will be about "pumping" the skills of teamwork. To this end, the school should create as many “clubs” or “clubs” as possible, within which children will independently engage in any type of extracurricular activities. And this does not necessarily have to be technical circles. The issue of a school newspaper (possibly the site), a school television, a theater, separate garbage collection, volunteer activities ... It is important that the activities of each such association are built by children independently. Control by teachers should be minimal (at the level of provision of premises, control over compliance with laws and school rules, and conflict resolution). The appointment of the head of the association, the selection of "employees", the development of the rules of the "circle" and all other purely working moments should be given to the schoolchildren themselves,to develop skills that will definitely come in handy in adult life. At the same time, the school should have everything necessary (premises, equipment) for such activities so that the process of creativity and the formation of teamwork does not “break” about everyday problems.

If we talk about the lessons of technology (labor education) in general, then, in my opinion, it is necessary to move from individual activities to work in the framework of "projects". Specifically, in our school in the 90s, the beginnings of this direction were, but at some point disappeared without a trace. But to organize such an activity is very simple, it does not even require updating the material base.

The simplest example: at the beginning of the year, the class (together with the teacher, or relying on any necessary schools) comes up with a project for itself, during the implementation of which the necessary technologies are studied and the skills prescribed in the curriculum are worked out. As my life experience shows, in the course of working on a specific project, training is more productive than when studying a theory that is not supported by practice. Ideally, the project should include several types of materials (wood, metal) and assume various technologies for their processing (lathe, wood carving, etc.). Also during the work on such a project, it is possible to divide the roles among the students, allowing the children to choose the skills that they are more interested in and have inclinations for. Within the framework of such “projects”, it is possible to quite successfully make educational materials for schools, stands,elements of decor. With the availability of modern equipment and the minimum supply of necessary materials, school workshops can easily match their small carpentry (and not only) production facilities. And that means - to provide the school with many necessary things, at the same time teaching children how to work with modern equipment and materials.

In principle, the concept of project activities is well suited not only for technology lessons, but also for many other disciplines (especially in elementary school). Their combination will improve the perception of the material. Indeed, in real life, processes are always closely related, and within the framework of the school curriculum, their separate parts are “distributed” in different lessons (and often in different years of study). Geography and history, physics and chemistry, chemistry and biology, computer science and mathematics are only those pairs of "intersecting" subjects that lie on the surface. The process of their integration is a very difficult task, but, in my opinion, necessary for the development of the education system.

* * *

In this article, I have touched upon only those problems that I have actually encountered over the years of work at school, the solution of which I see, and which somehow relate to my technical field. Although teamwork and the ability to achieve goals are problems that affect all aspects of life, they are especially acute for technical circles.

A list of equipment that, in my opinion, is necessary for every modern school to provide adequate technical education for children and to instill in them an interest in labor education.

For the main lessons of labor: CNC milling machine, Dremel / engraver, soldering iron, electric jigsaw, stands for the assembly of electrical circuits.

: , (), ( Arduino, Rasberry Pi ..), «-» ( , , , ), -/ ( , , , , - , ).

Ps.For the last two months I have been trying to write a curriculum for the basics of electronics and robotics for my school, covering all age groups. The main problem on this path is the almost complete lack of funding. For the lower grades (and preschool children) we have a purely commercial circle, the equipment for which is provided by a company from the nearest regional center. But in the near future, merchants are curtailing this activity - for a small village, the rates turned out to be very heavy, the circle’s occupancy rate is steadily falling (although parents show a keen interest in the topic itself). With a creak, we found in the budget funds for the purchase of junior parallels of several sets of Lego WeDo. As for older children, the only budget option is variations on the Arduino theme. If anyone is interested,I can publish my work on this topic (so far purely theoretical).

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/411177/

All Articles