We have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education, and it’s impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies. ~ Sir Ken Robinson
The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed — it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions. ~ Sir Ken Robinson
Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. And it’s the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves. ~ Sir Ken Robinson
My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status. ~ Sir Ken Robinson
I have always found the words of Sir Ken Robinson to be fascinating. I must admit, it is easy to be fascinated when I agree with what he is saying. I find myself asking similar questions and drawing similar conclusions….. education is NOT working for our children. It is working for some of our children, but as a whole, education as we do it today – the model we use – is broken, it is not working. I may even argue it is in disrepair. There are times when you try to fix your car when it breaks down. Often it can be more economical to fix your car. However, when your car gets really old and continues to break down on a regular basis, there are times when it actually becomes more economical to retire your car and start over with a brand new machine. I think the time has come for us to be bold and brave enough to do this with our educational system.
As a parent and educator I find myself increasingly more disturbed that the basis of the high school experience has evolved into a race and pressure to develop the most impressive application possible for collegiate study. In essence, our institutions of higher education are running and driving our high schools, as they set the standards that we pressure our students to meet.
I am not always popular when I tell parents and colleagues that I wonder if their entire educational philosophy is wrong. I am not always popular when I tell parents and colleagues that I am not in agreement with pushing college for every child. Not every graduate needs to go to college, and they certainly do not need to go immediately after high school when they are often not ready to pursue their studies diligently and ultimately have no clue who they are or where they are heading career-wise. Imagine how much more productive university years would be if students participated in community service or other alternative programs for 2-4 years prior to entering university? The maturity that occurs during that time, as well as the ability to explore and clarify goals, would ultimately change the college experience for the better.
It is also very important to note that if the definition of life success is the ability to create a successful career for oneself then we must acknowledge that there are many skilled professions that require technical training, but not a college education. In these cases, students need to be educated about their options…. nursing school, truck driver training, computer programming, etc.
Furthermore, why is it that our society has evolved to a space where collegiate education is considered a critical element necessary for future success? Is this REALLY the case? Look at how many individuals who “made it big” never graduated from college – yet, society still holds firm to the fact that college is necessary for success…. the sad truth is, it is not. Granted, there are some professions that necessitate a university education, yet it is important to know the balance and find a way for our children to gain admittance into top quality institutions without having to fall victim to the immense pressure to perform a certain way and check their thinking freedom at the door.
Two years ago our oldest told us she wanted to be a hair dresser when she grows up. Needless to say, my partner and I are cerebral snobs and we were not pleased with this announcement. Yet, as we spoke, I realized my own biases towards collegiate education and a hierarchy of professional prestige (completely in my head) was in full swing. In the end, I realized that my daughter is very smart – and is looking at a great profession. I am assuming that people will always have hair (at least non-balding men and women). Therefore, my daughter is wanting a profession with a shown pattern of customers throughout the years. People always need haircuts. While this may not be what I would envision for her, this is her dream and it would open a career path for her that would enable me to not worry about her ability to provide for herself. It pays well and there is always a demand…. I learned a valuable lesson.
Today, 200 days ’til 40. I continue to question the way we structure education as a whole, and particularly high school education. I hope that you are brave enough to question it as well – together we can help to change the system for the sake of our children.