There are many ways to think about what’s needed in education today. Some talk about “becoming your authentic self”, some talk about maintaining the natural creativity that we all possess (rather than have the traditional system of education slowly drain it out of us), some talk about “identifying the talent that you have” or “being the artist that you already are”.
These all capture the same fundamental idea: that education needs to be about something very different from what it always has been and remains today. It needs to be about human fulfillment, about “optimal development”. Education needs to be a process of growing from birth to adulthood and becoming the person that you are. This is so very different from a content focus of traditional education.
Seth Godin, http://www.sethgodin.com, makes the remark that “we’re teaching the wrong stuff” (in his book Linchpin). He says, accurately, that “the essential thing measure by school is whether or not you’re any good at school”, and he goes on to trash the system as one that rewards bureaucrats and punishes what he calls “artists” – people trying to become their best selves, people trying to make a difference, people trying to create and innovate.
Schools are not about innovation, they are not about “new”, they never were. “Good at school” means good at following the rules, fitting in, and conforming. Too many question, too many different ways of thinking and you’re a trouble-maker.
Well, slowly the science is catching up.
It turns out that none of us is born programmed. It turns out that our genes interact with their environment from the moment of conception onwards, ever shaping themselves. This means that we all have great potential to be so much, but you have to be active, awake and participate. No sitting down on this job. Those who are going to make a difference, those who are going to succeed and find personal fulfillment in this life are going to do so under their own steam.
We’re teaching the wrong stuff in traditional schools because we’re not teaching this. We’re teaching facts, we’re teaching that your job is to sit, listen and remember. Were’ not teaching how to solve interesting problems and how to lead. Were’ not teaching that your job in school is to identify your talent(s) and develop them and be who you are.
So much to do.
It’s time to CHANGE THE EDUCATION CONVERSATION.