The Problem With Reductionism


Many things in education today are reductionistic to the point of being nearly meaningless:
  • Grading: student performance is reduced to one of five letters or a single number average
  • Achievement: state tests reduce students to Advanced, Proficient, Basic, and Below Basic
  • Grouping: Students are sorted and categorized as gifted, special education, ELL, etc.
  • Curriculum: Content is doled out in bite-sized pieces, using a pre-determined linear sequence
  • Space: School buildings are subdivided into isolated classrooms, lined up in hallways. Classrooms have a front, student desks face that front in equally spaced lines.
  • Learning: Students are expected to work alone and only on the prescribed activities

What other aspects of schooling fall into a linear mindset? Add your thoughts to the list above.

Why do we do school this way? What are the advantages?

What problems does a linear mindset bring to the learning process?