It seems to me that if we can say to students who have completed their “formal” education: ” you now know that you have a gift to give, something you can do to change the world (or your part of it) for the better. I hope you’ll do that, because we need you”, then we’ll be at a better place. We’re not there today, not with traditional education.
If we can say the above to each child then we’ll have a positive and empowering message for them. If the student feels this for him/herself, we’ve done our job. Today this is not the case. Students don’t leave their school years behind feeling inspired, they leave them feeling relieved that the ordeal is over with. That’s sickening. Nice huh? What do you think you’ll DO when you feel that way?
If the system hasn’t fully crushed the creative light that was within them, hasn’t fully tamed their enplorative and inquisitive soul, maybe they will find it again… maybe. That’s a risk we can no longer afford.
Education needs to be supportive and constructive. It needs to let each student discover what their gift is, what their talent is. They all have one. We all have one. It’s not the case that we can all be whatever we want. That’s not the nature of equality. But we can all be something tremendously valuable and love our life because we’re doing what we are. It takes work to be you. It takes work to be wonderful at being yourself. And only you can know and figure it out. This is the point: no one else knows what lies within you, none of us can tell you. So look within, discover who you are and practice each day being this. THIS is what the educational message needs to be. Imagine a place where this is how students feel. “Become the best version of yourself that you can be” – a motto for the front of every school building.
Let’s cultivate talent from the outset, not standardize and mechanize. Conformity be gone.
(I have to thank some writers for bits of the above- if you’re not familiar with them, change that: Seth Godin – new book Lynchpin- Ken Robinson – The Element is his latest).