University prep and learning are not the same thing. Allowing each student to grow in their strengths, try new things and become a better person who is ready for a diverse, ever changing world is a very different process than preparing them for university.
Each students university experience is different… especially once they get past the first year. But when we prep them for university we aren’t really willing to prepare them for the unknown, which would be a vague and messy process of self improvement (for both students and teachers)… what we do is prepare them for the known. All we know that they WILL encounter in university is lectures and exams. Because of this we take every student (regardless of where they are headed after high school), and lecture them (which doesn’t do much to help them grown) and we test them (which doesn’t really show what each student can do, and we don’t have time to mark adequately). And sadly this process kills our “worst” students, and it breaks our “best” students.
This needs to stop. Subjects are background with very little essential knowledge. We do need to make sure that we cover the essentials. However, any subject can be used to teach decision making skills, teamwork, leadership, creativity and a host of other soft skills which will prepare them infinitely better for life (which includes university).
“Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe