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Posts Tagged ‘Education reform’

“Collaboration is the stuff of growth.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson

Anyone concerned about the future of the world should spend time considering how we educate our children. I have friends who have children in different educational programs – public schools, private schools, Montessori programs, home schools, international schools. religious schools and so on and I know that they would all agree on at least one thing: education is important.

I came across this presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, a remarkable presenter I wrote about months ago in my post called “Bring on the Learning Revolution.” This lecture is well worth the next eleven minutes of your day:

I’ve long felt that education should be more about drawing out the inherent value, talents, radiance, etc. from children than it should be about stuffing them full of facts and figures that will hopefully be useful at some later date. Individuality creative expression suffers in our current system, and this unnatural homogenization is resulting in a pressure that our youth are increasingly incapable of bearing and navigating.

It appears that the presentation stops before you hear Sir Robinson’s suggestions as to how we might best revitalize education in this new era, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

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Image by Gregg Hake

 

My youngest son, who is now four years old, learned to pronounce the letter “l” properly this weekend. I daresay that I will miss the “w” that typically stood in the place of a properly pronounced hard “l”, but hey, “wife” goes on. He spent the entire weekend searching for words that began with or contained the newly mastered letter and it was such a thrill to behold that his brother, mother and I proposed a toast in his honor (he wuvved it).

One of my greatest delights in life is when I have the privilege to witness the personal victory of another. No matter how big or small, life’s accomplishments are worthy of notice and celebration. It is on this basis and only on this basis that education becomes and remains something to be looked forward to rather than dreaded or shunned.

The process of education is taking on a whole new meaning to me as my sons begin to interface with the education system in the United States, a system that has its roots in and retains much of its shape from the transition between America’s distant past as an agrarian society and its more recent past as an industrial nation.

Loud clanging bells still mark the hour, preparing students for beginning and end of shift bells in shops, factories and manufacturing centers around the country that are increasingly hard to find. The industrial-era influence continues to shape the architecture of most schools with an austere aesthetic. Sure, computers are plugged into the “wired” schools of our advanced era, but in my view it is generally lipstick on an outmoded jig.

What is needed is a new template, one that takes the realities of our current era into account. For starters, our students need to move around more and eat better. No matter how many facts we fill their minds with, a child who leaves the educational system with a diploma and a diagnosis of obesity is at a disadvantage. Many schools, particularly on the West Coast, are revamping their cafeterias and meal programs with the help of passionate innovators like Jamie Oliver. It’s a good start, but we need more!

With regard to my two previous posts on the future of our country and of the freedom we have enjoyed over the last two centuries, we are in desperate need of programs and tools that help educate the future electorate that walk the halls of our educational institutions. What good is a specialization in this, that or the other if you do not understand what role you have in maintaining the delicate balance between anarchy and tyranny made possible by a Constitutional republic?

In my previous post Civic Virtue and the Rise and Fall of Empires I quoted Benjamin Franklin on the necessity of forming and training our youth in wisdom and virtue. There is no greater challenge faced by educators today. Unless we get this right no effort expended or dollar spent to put the American educational system back in the game will have any meaning.

Education is a tremendously inspiring and engaging process when delivered correctly. The future of the world rests in the hands of an educated and virtuous electorate and we must do all within our power to create a system that meets today’s needs and answers today’s challenges.

As an aside, if we fail on this point we had all better start practice saying: “Wong Wive the King!” No pressure!

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