Education, Training and Knowledge.June 14 2021 | Dave Fardoe
One of the UN sustainability goals is Education. Sounds like a good thing, yet is Education a good thing?
Many, most in fact will cry “YES” what a dumb question! On the face of it you’d be right, pry under the surface though and do you find what you expect to find? What exactly is Education and how does it work?
Well let’s start by saying what it shouldn’t be – Brainwashing. How often in history have we heard of “Re-Education” camps? Sadly in recent times too. So if Re-Education has such negative associations what of education itself? is it a state sponsored form of brainwashing? To what end?
Take a step back, be honest – in the main education is about betterment, it’s about setting a level that gives everyone a baseline to jump off from and that is a noble and worthy goal. The issue that I have with education is in its execution. The way it is done, and its an old argument yet one that is highly relevant today.
When the state sets a minimum standard it is trying its best to develop a one size fits all, a challenge prone to failure, at least for some individuals. For them life is made challenging from the outset simply becasue they learn differently or have other attributes. The one size doesn’t fit. Why? Becasue state education isn’t education its training. Take a maths class – In China long multiplication is taught by method A, in Japan its visual, in Europe its classical. What we are doing here is conveying a methodology, a skill to apply to a problem. That is training. Education needs to encompass the why? as well as the how? Education needs to explore the thinking behind solving a problem not just the application of a method.
Education needs to know the difference instinct and intuition, insight and skills. To mis-quote Einsein, Goldfish can’t climb trees and monkeys can’t breath underwater; and yet we can apply technology and innovation to change those rules – eduction needs to help us understand the art of the possible and then, when we have set on a course, provide us with access to the skills we need to accomplish the objective. Not try to shoehorn as many skills into us as possible in the hope that our objective falls in line with a few of them.
Our Western education system needs radical overhaul – sure some life skills are essential and need to be a baseline, yet maybe the middle part is a bit misaligned and works for those who measure and narrate that specific story.
We need to get back to critical thinking, innovation invention, instinct and humanity before we try to apply Fermats last theorem. Our children need to know what it means to be human, to be inclusive to be part of a planetary ecosystem and the value of all those things. The we need to train mathematics, art, philosophy, science and engineering, politics and charity. yet only to those who have a penchant for such things. How do we find out who is who? That is the reform. A broad eduction encompassing all areas based not on attainment but understanding, then time out and let the students pick a direction. Its a hard challeng I’m posing and no real answers yet its a worthy challenge and one that can reshape how we live.
“Education is the one thing we can do badly, Empirically prove ourselves correct and receive a hearty pat on the bad for a job poorly done.”Dave Fardoe
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