The difference between a thriving community and a broken/outdated one is an understanding, acceptance and respect for change. Barack Obama’s two notions, “the world as it is” and “the world as it should be” and significance of bridging the gap between the two has often functioned as food for thought for my thoughts.
In early education, to be able to function in more complex civilizations and societies and to uphold their learning, discoveries and cultural heritage, man needed some kind of system to accumulate data which gave rise to writing and because everyday hands-on activity could not teach this skill, a place specifically devoted to learning to write came into existence. One of the reasons for shifting from being Hunters and gatherers to a more organized system was to produce more soldiers and more obedient citizens. The aim was to learn and the method of learning was memorization with motivation of fear of harsh physical punishment.
On an ancient Egyptian tablet discovered by the archaeologists, a child had written: “Thou didst beat me and knowledge entered my head.” Hunting/Killing wasn’t the solution anymore, we needed better ways of survival and for that we needed more sincere and streamlined human labor for trade, armies, leaders, followers. Having accomplish that, was it easy for the tutors to let go of their power when more then enough human labor were delivered?
Maria Montessori an Italian physician and educator in the late 19th Century began educating and encompassing children who were considered ineducable. The technique that she designed for educating mentally retarded were so effective that some of these children learned to read and write which further made her contemplate the flaws in the normal educational techniques. According to her, the techniques normal education uses stifled development by killing creativity and growth of the child seemed restricted with boundaries. After she became in-charge of Children-houses, she emphasized learning through freedom and as independently as possible. This was achieved via tasks like cleaning their room, choosing the material they wanted for hands-on activity, correcting their own mistakes, etc.
Even though the realization/movement had already crawled in the late 19th century, the evidence of schools still chasing the same path is absent even when they are aware that it suffocates a child’s curiosity and creativity. Till date some supposedly worldly-wise adults decide what’s good and what’s not good for the students. As per “the world that it should be” we need risk-takers, innovative and creative thinkers to solve problems like global warming, sustainability, plastic pollution in the ocean, deforestation, air pollution, global health, water and food security and many more. We don’t need more obedient soldiers working in some multinational company and looking for more high paying jobs, we need people looking after solutions to the problems we are doomed with.
Questions to inquire in millennial sphere:
- What do we need schools for today?
- Having AI systems in place for accumulating and memorizing, why do we still make it a compulsion for kids to remember and mug up things?
- Education or knowledge or experiences?
- How to ingrain values in our future citizens.
- How to make basic survival knowledge (rather than academic information) available equally.