The more I read, the more I hear and the more I think about it, our current established education system leaves a lot to be desired.
I recently saw a video interview (featured) by Noam Chomsky (professor at MIT), which outlines his views on the purpose of education. An interesting interview, I have to say.
To sum up the ideas in this interview:
The Purpose of Education
He states that there are two concepts of the ‘purpose of education’. The first comes from the era of the Enlightenment, where traditional thinking states that education is a process of ENQUIRING and CREATING constructively and independently without external control. It’s about seeking out the riches of the past and internalising the important parts – or the parts which are important to you.
This style of education has children questioning and challenging a standard doctrine and searching for alternatives.
The second concept of education is indoctrination, where children are taught to accept and not challenge a certain set of data given to them. They are taught to fulfil the roles given to them – that failure to follow those rules results in punishment. They are taught not to ‘shake the systems of power and authority’.
The Impact of Technology
Chomsky states in his interview that although the impact of technology is very real in our lives today, the effects are not as dramatic as, let’s say, the introduction of plumbing or the development of transport, which were born of creative inquiry.
His comparison of technology to a hammer was interesting: a hammer does not care whether it is used to build a house or smash someone’s skull. His point, of course, is that inquiry provides a framework and directs ones questions and research so that we can find what needs to be pursued and reject the rest. This framework is needed in order for technology to be useful.
Tests are practical only in the sense that they show what a child knows now and how much more he/she needs to know – but they do not necessarily test UNDERSTANDING. A child can perform brilliantly on a test and not really understand a thing.
Tests can not only be meaningless, but they can do more damage in the sense that they can divert attention away from really meaningful learning. Tests can potentially mean nothing more than a set of hurdles our children need to jump – they are not the same as exploration.
A gem from this interview is one quote:
“It does not matter what we cover (in class), it matters what we discover.”
We should be helping our children get to the point where they can think and learn on their own, not just regurgitate a set of given facts on command.
Sometimes, I find myself needing a little more motivation, as a person, a mother and as a teacher.
Often, I look to those little, but very wise, inspirational or thoughtful quotes, and they strike a chord, and I carry on.
Today, I have felt even more driven by the need to inspire in our students the desire and passion for learning. Sometimes, we need to sit back and think, or rethink, what we teach our children, but, more importantly, the way we teach our children.
So, here are a few of those little quotes that I stumbled upon today, and that I hope will keep afire the flame that should burn inside all us teachers.
Here they are:
Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
Have a great and inspirational day 🙂
A while ago, I saw this animated video of a speech given by Sir Ken Robinson on how ‘Schools Kill Creativity’.
Looking at it again, I realise once more how many amazing and insightful things this genius educator has to say about our education systems.
In this video, he tells us how we are getting our kids through education by anaesthetising them into boredom, and he calls for action to ‘wake them up’. He ponders upon the problem of how standardised testing has in fact killed creativity in our kids, and how, as educators, we should actually be ‘going in the opposite direction’.
I am constantly inspired by Sir Ken’s talks. So, I’d like to share this one here, for us all to learn from and enjoy.
How Poetry Helps Autistic Children Learn – Article (Click to read this article)
As a follower of the brilliant Sir Ken Robinson’s Facebook page, I recently read an article he shared on how poetry is being used in one particular classroom to inspire autistic children to learn.
Although I don’t have an autistic child myself, I have been touched quite personally recently by the case of a friend of mine whose child has recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
So, I found this article quite interesting.
Perhaps others might be inspired….? Deserves some more research I think.
Thanks, Sir Ken, for sharing this on FB!
I recently found myself browsing some TED talks and stumbled across a genius in education called Sir Ken Robinson.
Since being uploaded, his TED talk in 2006 has been one of the most watched talks ever, and I can honestly say that, not only is it witty, inspiring and amazingly insightful, but I think it’s also one of the most captivating talks I’ve seen on education.
Schools kill creativity, because the standardised education system is outdated – built around the Industrial Revolution when everything ‘needed’ to be measured and mass manufactured (even our kids!).
As we now live in the digital age not the industrial age, surely our education systems need a good overhaul.
Sir Ken Robinson’s entertaining and profoundly moving talk calls for a move towards a more creative education system – one that encourages creativity rather than stifles it.
Whether you’re an educator or not, this is an interesting talk for anyone to watch.