We meet many parents, teachers, school leaders and above all, pupils and students. Everyone has the same questions about school policy and they would very much like to hear our vision of how the schools should be better and how to meet the needs of the students in the best way.
We are often asked what we stand for when it comes to education and what is our school politics. Our answer is that we have to find out each and every student's own interests and experience first and then try to stimulate all their senses to make them want to learn more and explore things so that they even want to reconsider their own theories and change their views. They must dare to ask questions, be critical and in a cognitive way to be able to learn new things. Going to school and learning things should be fun! Things that are fun we do voluntarily without having anyone pushing us.
Everything that prevents our children and teenagers from having such a learning environment, and adults who prevent them from acquiring knowledge in this way, will create insecure citizens in the future. If we don't give them the right conditions we can not expect the education system and the students to change!
We honestly don't see how a school that is punishing kids can lead to getting good citizens. Nor do we see how someone can believe that we can get children, teens or even adults to develop as indivisuals if we keep back curiosity and hold down the conditions for growing as a person. The things that make us want to know more, to thirst for knowledge and that makes us want to learn more have to be cherished and nourished. If we kill curiosity, we slowly kill the unique individuals!
This is what DIDACTICS is all about - the science of how to learn more.
The Socialliberalerna believes that while the politicians in other parties keeps blaming the bad results in school on the lack of grades from year one in school, we strobgly argue that it is a socially structured problem. Politicians blame the schools, the teachers and in many cases the 'lazy' students, when in fact it is they themselves who should take the responsibility and leave their seats after all decades of failed school policies. What makes the citizens of our country not dare speaking up against these politicians or school leaders who are misleading us? We believe it is naive to think the problems will disappear if we stay silent and close our eyes? They don't! The problems will remain and will grow if we don't make a change. By not doing anything about it we will prevent free-thinking individuals in school and the society. Kids will be afraid of speaking their minds after leaving school. Perhaps that is exactly what the politicians want? Nothing is more inconvenient than citizens questioning the authorities, and that is what we want to change.
For Socialliberalerna it is first and foremost about the human beings and human values and we are convinced that all people can learn things. The current situation with unmotivated students and high percentages of failed students with low grades hwen they finish school is not adapted for all kids these days. Over 86% (according to Folkhälsomyndigheten) of our youngsters who passed school can continue to upper secondary school, and almost everyone else of those with bad grades also can get into secondary school programs. Therefore we suggest to take away the grades in primary schools. The grades are there only to segregate the students, not to help. On the contrary grades are a big factor to mental illness of many young people. Never before have kids been so stressed out, burnt out and in many cases given up on life at such young ages.
In the political debate on school policies, all politicians and the past Ministers of Education have a strange belief that tests and grades from first grade at school will increase the number of students who achieve the final goals. Neoliberals have an idea that more homework, more and harder tests, tougher grades and more years at school will lead to better knowledge among our children and teenagers. Unfortunately, media and journalists have joined the choirs and are spreading these alternative facts. That's spreading among school leaders, parents and some teachers as well. By supporting this approach they completely miss the core of the problem that a large proportion of students who don't pass school actually experience school as meaningless and that they can't learn anything meaningful in school. These students are instead hurt as individuals by the school system and by all the homework, tests and grades.
The reasons why politicians and other decision-makers who speaks of more control and more tests, is that they themselves belong to the group of individuals who succeeded well in school and the old school system, and therefore have difficulties understanding the experience of how it feels to fail in school these days. What makes them believe that learning can be done in only one way? The school politicians in Sweden also seem to believe that focusing on Swedish, English and Mathematics is what matters to increase the proportion of approved students. The reason why politicians don't pay so much attention to other skills such as creativity and increasing self-confidence as well as belief in other abilities, is simply because these qualitative skills can not be measured quantitatively with grades.
But Socialliberalerna wants strong individuals and citizens who dare to have a critical thinking and who dare to question! We want to see fellow human beings who feel safe because they always know how to acquire knowledge on what they want know more about. People who are constantly learning new things, no matter how old they get, are people of free thinking and a country of freedom. We reach there if we give the people the right conditions to be curious and building their creativity and passion for learning. With freedom, passion and creativity, we will have more people who dare to invent new, great products, and who dare to express themselves even more artistically in different ways and they will discover things we have never dreamt oof and even are imaginalble to us today.
All these things above create free individuals and that creates happy people, a rich and knowledgable country with great success stories! By creating situations for meetings and learning we motivate a system for democracy. With more time and commitment for the students, seeing themselves as individuals in a global world, we can turn something negative into something meaningful in their lives. Schools can once again become a place of motivation, but first we must give the students the tools to strengthening their self esteem. Sometimes it can be enough by listening to them, but even more important we need to create a relationship with the students so they feel the passion for learning more and believing in themselves that everything is possible.
Examples on how didactics works:
If, for an example, you have an interest in gardening or sports, then you read about it, you get involved, you have a burning passion and are constantly looking for new information which you then try to realize through your own plantings in the garden or by getting engaged following, exercising or play in a team. No one needs to stand next to you with a whip making you to learn more about the plants or a sports team. At the same time, reading more about your passion you get to learn more about other things such as nature with the importance and roles of animals, or health care, technologies, or mathematics by reading sports statistics etc..
Another example is whether mobile phones should be allowed or banned in the classrooms. There are evidently teachers who are able to give students training in how to use the mobile phones as an tool for learning. With an entire internet available to google, with a built-in camera to document what the teacher writes on the whiteboard, explanatory videos on youtube, translation apps and many, many more applications, it is surprising that schools and politicians want to prevent us from preparing students for the future. These days adults are using thie mobile phones at work to search for information. We rarely see anyone using old school books or notes from school to check on how to solve a problem. In addition, we are getting higher salaries if we learn to collaborate with others at work using communication apps. Kids of today use social media daily and if we do not show them how they can use these in a good way for something useful, they will continue usiong them for useless things such as bullying or spreading alternative facts. So let's tell them how to "google that shit"!
A teacher's job is to discover how to help each individual student to get engaged and interested in learning as much as possible. The teachers have to believe that the students have every opportunity to learn what they want. We can even begin with something as simple as a plastic cup. All of theSubjects in a curriculim can fit into a simple plastic cup!
Based on a plastic cup, we can bring to attention all of the syllabusses making the students interested in wanting to learn more. We can talk about Chemistry (what the mug is made of), History (what was used long time ago), Mathematics (volume etc.), Biology (environment), Design and Art and much more.
As Social Liberals we are often asked what we think about private schools and all the profits made by private schools. We believe that the most important thing is always the quality of the school. All schools in Sweden must maintain a high quality, a good working environment and be able to report very good results. If there is some profit we don't mind, but there should be really hard controlling on the quality. The government and the politicians often save private banks and financial institutions with crisis packages that are paid for with taxpayers' money. We believe they should be consistent when it comes to school and health care. But these days we have seen too many private companies taking advantage of the system that previous governments let go of from controlling. At the moment schools and hospitals and health care companies should be state owned. Even municipalities have failed in running the schools. Later on, when we as people and government are ready from learning our lessons from what the research has shown, we can go back to have some private schools and health care institutions. Ideally we would see politicians making themselves independent from the economy so that the power lies with the people, instead of a small elite in the financial world, which is still largely based on speculation and wild guesses on the stock markets.
In addition to the above mentioned criterias for a good school, the work climate and work environment are very important in a social liberal world. Our children go to school and it is their workplace. Not many adults would accept such work environment as the schools offer. School staff and students need peace and great, calm environments to learn, but not by using a punishing system, but rather by everyone helping to make the schools a safer and better workplace. It must be fun to go to school. It should be every child's right to feel good and safe and to have the opportunity to learn new things every day. Even distance learning can help those kids who otherwise wouldn't show up in the school. Technology during the Covid lockdown has proven to be very useful. Let's use all technologies that we can get. Let us aim for those future schools in a virtual worlds as inspiration for learning and making it easier to understand with 3D-models as well as traveling the world and even the universe in an Metaverse!