From the beginning of time there has always been an educational system. We are learning animals and therefore we have always learned. Life itself is often the greatest teacher, but as we have progressed as a society we have developed further methods of learning, training, and thought.
The argument today is that our schooling system is poorly equipped to teach the next generation adequately. For the purpose of having a foundation to stand upon, I would like to make the argument that the schooling system of today is “overly equipped” to teach subjects that may or may not be useful to someone in today’s society.
For the sake of having a large foundation to stand on for the rest of education week I would like to also point out a few things about myself when it comes to education…
- I have never been a full-time teacher, although I plan on taking a more active role in teaching as I get older.
- I have spent significant time tutoring kids in various subjects.
- I have also spent a lot of time training employees to perform their given tasks better.
- I spent a couple summers as a camp counselor where I used games to teach kids about leadership and teamwork.
- I have spent a grand total of 20 years in the educational system. Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st through 12th grade, 4 years in college to receive my Bachelors degree, and 2 years in graduate school to receive my Master’s degree.
- I have always studied books on my own, and have a rather large personal library.
- I have went through quite a few training programs at different companies.
I have spent nearly my entire life learning and teaching. I have been a student and a teacher. I have been an employee and a manager/trainer. I have a lot of experience to draw from.
“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” – Mark Twain
I have made it to about the same point as Mark Twain was when he penned this line. I think my biggest philosophy here is that if you know what you want, you can always find a way to get there.
And I guess maybe that is the biggest problem with education. It trains you in subjects which may be of no use to you. Then again, maybe that is a good thing because it helps you become a “well-rounded individual” and that ultimately will help you discover what you would like to do with your time here on Earth.
The other problem and great thing about school is that it gives much needed structure to young people. Who knows what trouble young people would find themselves in without school? On the flip side, who knows how much school is stifling their dreams and aspirations because it is too structured. To use another contradiction, I would say that schools aren’t structured enough.
How can I say that schools are “overly equipped” and “not structured enough” in the same article? Well, that is just my perspective, but let me tell you why it is so…
The idea of a school with a teacher, and their class, is brilliantly efficient. You can give the majority of your country or society an education this way. Presumably, the whole country benefits when people are universally educated.
Previously, education came from parents who may not have been educated themselves. Or if you could afford it, you got a private tutor to teach a certain subject or to give an overall education. Yet the schools of today have come to a point where they are overly equipped to teach many subjects. It is amazing just how much they can teach a child in their course of getting an education. What is equally amazing is how much kids don’t learn over this same period of time. In other words, teaching does not equal learning.
Schools have gone so far, but not far enough. The way I see it schools need to be more structured. By more structured I envision a school system that runs more like a business.
Colleges and universities have mostly learned this lesson. They cater to students as customers. You want to take a class in underwater basket weaving? Sure, you can take it. You don’t want to do any work and fail out of school? Sure, you can do that too!
This is more like real life. This is what most of our school system should be like. However, there is this pervasive idea that kids, as opposed to adults, can’t make adult like decisions until they turn a certain age. Although I am opposed to this idea, there is some validity to this argument.
A child that drops out of school often resorts to a life of crime. There is no work for him or her because of child labor laws. Parents don’t know what to do with them because they have to go to work themselves to support their family. This is all a change that was necessitated by a change in society.
In history you often see education and work both take place at home. A child would learn from their parents and often do the same work as their parents. There was no need for an education system beyond the family. If a child wanted to do something besides the family business there was often another family member or family friend that they could be apprenticed to. People learned their life’s calling by living life. If they wanted to pursue a certain life bad enough then they found a way.
Flash back to today. Children are directionless. They have been forced to spend most of their waking hours in an artificial reality called school. It is the great privilege of modern society, and yet it comes with other considerations, both good and bad.
What’s the point? My point is that education would be even more effective if it was allowed to become more structured like a business. Give kids more choices in the classes they will take. Help them develop a personalized curriculum. Give kids more chances to practice more real world skills and not just “learn” them.
For goodness sake, teach them more about money and work, and less about calculus and 19th century literature. Still keep those options open for those that want it, but help kids practice more things they will encounter in real life, and less that they won’t encounter.
This week is dedicated to talking about education. The goal is to get people thinking about education and to create a discussion about how we can improve it. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section and also subcribe using the link below so you won’t miss a thing. 😉