The mcdonaldization of education the rise of slow literature notes

See The McDonaldization of Education - the rise of slow - Essay #literaturenotes


The cult of speed

  • coined by journalist Carl Honore
  • Fast and slow are shorthand for ==ways of being, or philosophies of life==
    • Fast: busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality
    • Slow: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity. It is about ==making real and meaningful connections with people== — culture, work, food, everything.


  • coined by George Ritzer
  • also known as “need for speed”
  • the process by which the ==principles of the fast food industry are coming to dominate== more and more sectors of the world
  • Four characteristics of this worldview:
    • Efficiency
    • Predictability
    • Calculability (quantifiable results)
    • Control (or at least the illusion of it)

McDonaldization of Education

  • attempts to wipe out ==messiness/inefficiencies== of learning
    • adapting shortcuts
  • reduces education into a ==commodity== that can be packaged, marketed, and sold
  • reduces learning to an ==assembly line==
    • things are homogenized as much as possible
  • reality: imposing a ==mechanistic view of life== on an ==organic process== (learning) at a great cost
  • Efficiency
    • responsible for these ideas:
      • teachers can be replaced by Khan Academy
      • drastic student to teacher ratios
    • assumes that transition of information is the most important part of learning
    • What about…
      • developing children into thoughtful, ethical citizens who critically evaluate, rather than being swayed?
      • creating citizens instead of consumers
    • When learning is treated as one more product to be consumed, ==a horrible disconnect== occurs in our students.
      • It becomes about the mark.
      • It becomes about the diploma.
      • It becomes about the end justifying a lot of terrible means.
  • Predictability
    • causes the ==standardization of a curriculum and the way it’s taught==
    • Every student must be able to display the same skill (or regurgitation of content knowledge) at the same time.
  • Calculability
    • Important to calculate whether there’s a difference being made or not, so ==system of high stakes testing== is introduced
    • Just ends up stressing out and disengaging students more
  • Control
    • Fear of…
      • losing one’s job
      • losing funding
      • having embarassing test results published
      • having your child not being able to…
        • get into college
        • get a “good” job
    • No idea of long-term cost
    • Effects (Short-term)
      • Lose a lot of new teachers in first five years
        • Others quit early or need stress leave
      • Children are more heavily medicated now than any other time in history

The Slow movement

  • originated from Slow Food
    • abdicates industrial food conglomerates
    • seeks to reconnect citizens to the richness of a common life with the neighbours who grow and prepare our food
  • The Slow movement is…
    • a call for intentionality
    • an awareness of our mutual interdependence with all people and all creation
    • seeking to root people in their community
  • Not about having everything done as slow as possible, but rather seeking to do things well and at the right speed
  • Principles
    • Good
    • Clean
    • Fair

The Slow movement for education

  • What it’s all about…
    • Reimagining what it means to be a community of learners
    • Requires us to admit to and evaluate the organic messiness of learning
    • Requires admitting that a large part of what is happening isn’t good for our children, our teachers, or our communities
    • Rather than a top down industrialized and homogenized assembly line of education, we need a ==grass roots development of education that takes into account what real learning looks like and what children really need.==
  • Principles
    • Authentic
      • Not based on worksheets, standardized tedts, etc.
      • Allows children to engage in real, meaningful work that matters to them and their community
      • Empowes children with the opportunity to identify and seek solutions to problems in their community
      • Consequence of these changes: re-educating communities to see students as authentic and active participants in community life
      • Authentic education is also an ==act of justice==. Design justice
        • allowing kids to explore social issues
        • helping them become ethical citizens who speak out and make a difference
    • Individualized
      • No more ==homogeneity==
      • Respond to ==real needs== of students
      • Shift to using content to teach skills, student interest, and how to learn
      • Student-centered
      • Teachers must become co-learners, and let go of control. Teachers are facilitators
      • Requires ==trust==: districts to trust administrators, administrators to trust teachers, and teachers to trust students.
      • Supporting all of this is a community deeply connected to the life of the school
    • Formative
      • Marks (arbitrary symbols) -> summative assessments should be abolished
      • No one really understands what grades mean
      • The reason we don’t do what we know is best for our children because we don’t have the guts or because it’s too much work
      • ==Formative assessment== allows kids to…
        • Reflect on their learning
        • Figure out how to create better
        • Allows for more failure and less judgement
        • Provides feedback and voice

So what is the bottom-line of the slow education movement? ✓ We ==abolish== the busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, quantity-over-quality ==education environment== that prevails today. ✓ We educate parents and communities about the ==risks of today’s current model==, including the drawbacks of “edubusiness.” ✓ We ==create learning environments== that are carefully crafted, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity and engaging. ✓ We develop curriculum that has ==greater depth than breadth.== ✓ We make sure our curriculum takes into account ==local culture== and celebrates the uniqueness of our ==local community.== ✓ We don’t isolate skills development but ==let students grow their skills== as they engage with important content. Critical thinking and skill development are not mutually exclusive ✓ We construct learning environments that ==foster questioning, creativity and innovation==, such as the maker movement and project/problem based learning. Problem-based learning ✓ We find the courage to have serious discussions about ==abolishing standardized testing, classroom marks and grading, and the use of “birth year” as our primary criterion for sorting students.== ✓ We ==lobby our governments for funds== to assure true equality in education for all children. ✓ We ==discontinue the ranking== of teachers and schools. ✓ We ==replace our egg-carton grades with flexible, personalized learning== that takes into account when students are ready to engage in and acquire important skills. ✓ We ==make time for teacher collaboration== a top priority. ✓ We expect all classrooms to ==connect students globally== so they can learn from others around the world and apply what they learn in their own communities through meaningful projects and service. ✓ We ==make student voice and choice an integral part== of everyday teaching and learning.

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