“90% of what we teach in school is a waste of time…” – is this true?

It is saddening as a future primary teacher to see this statement and to imagine a classroom full of young students who are disengaged, unmotivated and fully supporting this statement. This is fundamentally not the purpose of education – for children to believe learning is pointless, and for this detachment from learning to only grow as they progress through life.

Before the pressures of placement took over and I had the task of creating my own worthwhile lessons, I really enjoyed taking a backseat in my MA1 placement class and watching how the pupils learned. I liked trying to read each pupil’s mind and particularly focused on everything I had learned about body language – it was interesting to notice the little details now that might escape me while I was standing in front of the class preoccupied with teaching. I was lucky to have a really good example set to me on my first placement, to be able to see smiles, good work and also positive relationships exhibited. If I could emulate such a positive learning environment in my own practice, I knew for sure I was on the right path.

I believe that learning should be relevant to modern life – helping children unmuddle the complex world they live in, and begin to form opinions of their own from an informed background. This is one of my main aspirations as a teacher, to ensure children see the purpose they have and difference they can make in the world. In the IB PYP, this is also a key concept.

When a pupil says to me, “Miss, I don’t see the point in learning this, I’m not going to bother”, I want to always have an answer ready.



One Reply to ““90% of what we teach in school is a waste of time…” – is this true?”

  1. Absolutely agree with you Julia! I always say if pupils can’t understand the purpose of their learning, what is the point? That of course comes with the caveat that to learn we must start from a place of confusion, so the purpose of our learning may not always be clear from the outset… and that’s ok too…

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