School fails student minds

Two in three secondary school teachers believe that the education system does not promote critical thinking and fails to encourage creative abilities among their students, according to the results of a survey made public yesterday. The survey, conducted among 1,475 secondary school teachers, found that the majority of those questioned (81.9 percent) also believe that students’ daily agendas are overloaded. «The (teaching) method of covering many topics, which was pushed through in a rushed manner without dialogue, creates large problems,» said Grigoris Kalomoiris, president of the Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OLME). Educators described books introduced into secondary schools two years ago «as a missed opportunity» as the material encourages parrot-like learning techniques, offers incomplete knowledge and turns teenagers away from proper education. «The vision is missing for a school that promotes critical thinking,» said Pavlos Haramis, president of OLME’s Center of Education Studies. The number of educators questioned by the survey represent some 2 percent of the total number of Greece’s secondary school teachers. The vast majority of respondents – nine in 10 – said that a key issue in the education system is that teachers are not offered ongoing training so that they can be better at their jobs. As opposed to previous studies that showed teachers had a reluctant stance toward new technologies, yesterday’s results indicated that this appears to be changing. Nine in 10 teachers also said that new technologies can be used in the classroom and are a necessary component in the education process. Innovation is seen as lacking in Greek schools. Teachers argue that ideas and programs that could breathe new life into schools have become bogged down or proceed at a snail’s pace, while European institutions have fully applied them in daily practice.