Expert warns of likely failure of new Spanish school model

Expert warns of likely failure of new Spanish school model


In an interview with the Archdiocese of Madrid’s weekly paper, Alba, Inger Enkvist, adviser to the Ministry of Education in Sweden, said it was “cynical” that Spain would copy an educational model that is a proven failure.  The absence of effort, the lack of authority and the precariousness of the content will exert a heavy cost.  The only winners will be the teachers “plugged into the budget.”

Enkvist has spent decades studying the process of decay in European public schools and she thinks that the deterioration of education is the cause of “constructivism,” which is a “process assumed by the majority of European educational models.  It is based on the idea that the truth is only that which we construct ourselves, thus destroying the tradition and knowledge accumulated by previous generations.  Constructivism teaches that the child should know the truth on his own.”

However, she countered, “The teacher should always be the one to lead the student towards the truth.  Constructivists worry a lot about how you teach but not about what you teach.”  “A teaching method in which what is put first is not effort but rather that the children are happy, that they play and work together as a team, and that they say what they want, has already proven to be a failure,” Enkvist said.  The ones who benefit most are the teachers who have created this system sustained by public funds.

“This constructivism creates adolescent adults who want everything right now,” she continued.  “It’s like a permanent 1968 generation. Of course, nothing in life is immediate, most of the fruit of our labor comes after much effort, and the [constructivist] attitude renders some unfit for life because they confuse desires with reality.  They end up believing that if they want something to be true, reality will end up conforming to their desires,” she added.

“This is not a problem of resources,” Enkvist continued, “but of the system itself.  And perhaps the system would work better with fewer resources.  In Asian countries, where classrooms overflow with 50 or more students, textbooks are of poor quality and teachers are underpaid, amazing results are being achieved.”

She praised countries like Britain, “where they decided to turn back from constructivism and return to giving priority to content.  And the reform by Thatcher was continued and even improved under Blair, becoming a policy of the State free of politics.”