This blogpost is an amalgamation of a series links to various articles and videos related to education we stumbled upon in a span of few weeks.
We first came across Sir Ken Robinson’s video which outlined three principles necessary for the human mind to flourish.
Critiquing the existing educational culture and dominant practices that have prevented young minds from exploring new possibilities, he highlighted the lack of attention being paid to the “process” and “methodology” of learning and stressed on the need for radical yet practical solutions to be implemented in order to revive an ailing education system.
Erica Goldson, the 2010 valedictorian of Coxsackie-Athens High School, whose speech titled, ““Valedictorian Speaks out against Schooling” went viral on YouTube a couple of years back. Here was a topper, the valedictorian comparing herself to a worker trapped beneath an system that according to her has left her fearful, lost, and confused. Her opinions although seeped in negativity seemed to strike a cord with many beyond borders, sending shockwaves across the education and academic circles. While many were quick to dismiss her speech as a rant, some feel the real problem and danger lies in how we diagnose the educational system.
Bill Waterson, author of the iconic comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes in his speech to the graduating class of Kenyon College, Ohio 1990 he urges students to create a life that is built on values and strive to achieve happiness by questioning popular definitions of success. If the same speech titled, “some thoughts on the real world by one who glimpsed it and fled” is read in the context of education, he accurately diagnosed the system and stated that individual and society’s general attitude and definitions of life, career and happiness need to be re-examined. Mirroring Ken Robinson’s views his constructive criticism implores us to take a hard look at ourselves as individuals first.
The system isn’t perfect nor is it the way it ought to be. But its existence certainly radiates the potential it has to make our lives meaningful and purposeful. Fifteen year old Jack Andraka’s path-breaking and cancer detection invention is a shining and inspiring example of how complex problems like cancer detection can be solved with sheer hard work and determination.
By valuing existing resources and pulling the right strings, Jack Andraka has emerged from the same restrictive culture that Sir Ken Robinson likens to a “Death Valley” devoid of creativity and in dire need of transformation. However, it’s hard to turn a blind eye at the glaring fact that the system could remain stagnant, if we continue to treat this disease with the same scepticism it dishes out.
Our future rests on curious young minds. Their natural learning curiosity, imagination and and creativity need to be tapped into and not trapped under the weight of norms and expectations. As they navigate through this journey of life, their free and eager minds merely need to be guided and encouraged to explore by a dynamic education system, before its students become disillusioned by the very idea of learning.
To prevent such a consequence, we need to learn a few things ourselves before we set out to educate the rest.