Schooling in Modern Society
We all want to raise successful children. Can we trust our schools to really educate our children to grow happy and prepared for life? I hope to post a series of blogs examining our present school system (Grades K to 12) and what we can do as parents and teachers to raise our kids and students to become successful and productive members of society despite the lousy job that our schools are doing as a result of flawed policies being implemented. Teachers, let’s be clear are also victims who are forced to carry out defective policies that are cosmetically modified year after year by administrators, some of whom have never stepped inside a classroom, costing a lot of government money and unreasonable stress on the part of the teachers and the students. Elon Musk, the richest man in the world now and has admitted in many interviews that he hated school, decided to educate his own children his way. You may argue that not everyone is as rich as Musk to educate their own children but that is not the point here, but rather that many individuals who have really thought seriously about the schooling systems of today, discovered that it is flawed and instead of being helpful, it is detrimental to the development of children. Read Education: An Infinite Game.
I am writing from years of experience as a father and as a public school teacher. The teacher in the Philippine public schools as in any other conventional school the world over, is compelled to adhere to a curriculum guide, prepared by administrators who have no idea what transpire in the classrooms, listing all the skills (they call competencies) in various subjects for the teacher to drill into the heads of bored students, only to be forgotten after the tests and hence no chance whatsoever for anything to be made of significance in life. What a waste of energy, finances, and time that could have been utilized for more productive activities for both students and teachers.
Aside from proposing a new philosophy of education and making suggestions on how to overhaul the present school system, I would attempt in this series of posts to outline what parents and teachers should do to raise successful children in the manner of the ancients and in line with the purpose of man’s existence. It would be cheaper for governments to educate children who would also be happier and more successful. Read Homeschooling and Unschooling as Options.
Man was created to have dominion over all creation according to the Scriptures. Today that would mean mastery in any field the individual is being moved by his own passion or inclinations (the sciences, the arts, entrepreneurship, sports, etc.). Hence the error of forcing him into subjects that don’t interest him. When man was still in the garden of Eden, God intended for him to live happily by hunting and gathering. This is not in conflict with what is being taught in evolutionary science that the first humans were hunter-gatherers. Their children were educated in the hunter-gatherer ways, having dominion over the fowls of the air, or beasts in the field; hence kings or rulers over their domain. Today it would be those who are masters or experts in their fields or entrepreneurs who rule over their own companies.
The advent of agriculture and the subsequent industrialization removed man from his original purpose in the world. Those who didn’t own lands were forced to work under those who had. They were suppressed from their original calling to have dominion and became servants, living by the sweat of their brows. This continued with the industrial revolution, only that labour was transferred from the fields to dark and dirty factories . The compulsory mass education that we inherited and we have today was invented to fill this demand for labour. We therefore have schools designed for creating employees or obedient servants, instead of masters or experts having dominion over the field to which hey are interested in. This explains why those who have found a way to cut school in some manner became kings, not servants or employees living a hand to mouth existence.
We start to have doubts about the present school system when we notice that most children, allowing for their own nature would not want to spend a lot of time sitting in classrooms. We also note that many who hated school and its coercive strategies lived on to be the more successful individuals. The list is too long but it includes Albert Einstein who instead of attending his classes preferred to read on his own on topics that interest him and was evaluated by a teacher as “not to amount to anything” and failed in most of his subjects, yet went on to become one of the greatest physicists who ever lived. Thomas Alva Edison, who as a child the teacher commented “too stupid to learn anything”, went on to hold over a thousand patents for his inventions. We also hear of Richard Branson who was so vocal about his hatred for formal education that he left school at 16 to build billion-dollar businesses in six different companies. There are many other individuals who, because they were left alone or found a way to escape from the restraint of our contemporary school system to pursue their own interests, succeeded in spite being labelled a failure in class. The teachers’ pets who were always getting the perfect marks went on to live ordinary lives and many even lived unhappy. John Taylor Gatto in his book Dumbing Us Down showed that the school system is ruining our children. We have been led to believe that the present school system is the only way to educate our children and other ways may have been tried and have failed so we accept to be correct the decision to spend a big chunk of tax money on the system of education that we have now. The truth is, according to Peter Gray in his book Free to Learn, other systems have been tested and have succeeded. The Sudbury Valley School is a good example. So why don’t we apply these other successful systems and save tax money and help our children lead happy and successful lives and why not discard the present broken system that is costly for the nation? That is for the policy makers to answer. Read Teacher: Artist.
What can we do as parents and as teachers who are truly concerned about the welfare of the children and students under our care? I hope to provide some answers in my next posts. See Homeschooling and Unschooling as Options