Rethinking Education Pt.7: Basics Are Out Of Date

We are educating ourselves in outdated context, for many years.

What is context? It is a set of principles we act and think within. E.g. “education requires graduation” or “education is learning subjects”. We do usually not think about it.

And I think there is a very complex problem. The context is now out of date. This old context, which roots are to be found in XIX century, became very unnatural in present days. And this process is very natural, frankly. Small mistakes get large. We do not notice small smooth changes happening on a daily basis. But after a hundred years we have completely outdated educational principles and we do nothing about it.

I think, that’s why we see today that graduation has become a single purpose of education instead of becoming a true master. It is too hard to become a master and graduate well at the same time. Most of us choose the easy way.

If you look how great masters of Renaissance were educated you will see big difference. I’ll go in detail in one of further articles. For now, the most important difference is the following: “school” was producing masters in that time. If you were educated, you were a master.

Today, when you are leaving school are know that you will start from the scratch in university, when you leave university you know that you will start from scratch when you will get a job. It is called “the lessons of life” etc., but I think the biggest lesson here is this: education is out of the date, its basics are out of the date, it is unable to prepare us for the future.

Few words on technology. There are many new technologies introduced into learning process. But, mostly, they are methods: new methods to do the same old thing, thus producing the same results. Good news are that sometimes it is impossible to get expected old result.

But what we really need is to understand what changes in most basic principles we need to make.

What are these basics? There are many of them and I will try to cover most of them in follow-up articles. Now I want to share a list of most obvious things, i.e. the things we should doubt the most:

  • Educating by age: the classes are formed on age basis, assuming all children of same age are equal in terms of education. Why?
  • Learning by subjects: how many new ‘critically important for all’ subjects will be added in next 50 years?
  • Teacher is a profession: many teachers do nothing else except teaching (and can not do anything else because they are always out of time), some of them are totally disconnected with practical realities. Is it the only way?
  • Graduation is the result of education: that is the essence of today’s educational systems. More and more of them are switching to tests. So with graduation as the main outcome, we will have children trained for exact tests since very first day at school. It is like a thought control. I’m scared.
  • Punishment for mistakes: we are made to be afraid of being wrong since we are conscious. At the same time unpredictability grows every day. We should be prepared for mistakes. There is much said about this. But very little is done.

Everything in above list is extremely outdated and unnatural, I think. The next action is to work out the alternative hypotheses.

Leading photo by crispyteriyaki

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My daughter dropped out of school in Grade 11 because she hated it and I agreed with her decision. She is now at 20, a television producer, who handles multimillion dollar budgets, organizes 100′s of people and makes more money than I do with all my formal university education. How? I homeschooled her until age 14 and she learned to research, organize and use her time creatively. Formal schooling was a step backward.

Amazing! You are a hero, I think.

You’ve made a decision that is consistent
with reality of present days. It is great!

I believe time will bring more stories like
yours and people will eventually understand
that something is out of date in education

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