This post is about Schooling.
I went to a public school for primary and a private school for secondary. Education was important in our family. My father demanded focus on it, and my brother was a massive over achiever at school. So being the youngest, these two 'authority' figures meant I took doing well at school really seriously. I did ok. My marks got me into my first choice university course and I came out 4 years later with two degrees.
I am massively appreciative of the opportunities my parents gave me, and the values that a solid education has given me around discipline, learning and employment. However, the more I'm thinking about it, the more I'm thinking that this form of schooling does not adequately prepare young adults for the 'real' world as it is today.
I believe we are going through a rapid state of change. The internet and technology is changing everything and I feel we need to start thinking outside societal norms around education to keep up with this change.
It's already happening. A lot of parents are choosing different forms of education, and I'm going to sum them up, with my thoughts on what I think is best for when we have kids.
1. Standard schooling (like what I describe as my experience above).
It's interesting to find out the history. Schools originally came about during the industrial era, when parents needed to work all day so this made it hard for parents to home school. Also, it was a way to teach children to be compliant, obedient citizens (perfect for army, factory, industrial work). It became a billion dollar industry, and is now embedded into our culture and media.
School system controls.
2. Home schooling.
Using the 'on site' school curriculum to teach children at home.
Pros - better bonding with children, they won't be exposed to bullying or any other bad influences, more flexibility.
Cons - requires A LOT of work for parents, with one needing to be home most of the time. Need to also ensure the children get other opportunities to mix with kids their age.
This is the opposite of the traditional schooling model. Children are not given any formal education or classroom experiences. They learn through experiences, life and play. A great podcast on this here.
It puts more focus on individualism, where they can choose what they want to learn, they are educated through 'life'.
Parents role is to provide environment rich in resources - books, videos, cameras computer and video games, workbooks, textbooks, projects, jobs, museums, field trips volunteer programs, atlases, maps, science centres zoos, museums, TV, toys concerns, musical instruments, board games, libraries, instructors, living history parks, sporting venues, parks travel.
4. Steiner (Waldorf) Education
This form of education is more structured than 'unschooling' but allows for more creativity and play compared with the current school system. If I have kids, this is the school I'll be aiming to enrol them in. Here's one in Sydney.
Combination of School and Learners control.
What this school supports is what Seth Goddin encourages here and is my viewpoint.
In a nutshell.
The current school system is designed to create factory workers. Success is about doing well in a test, measurement, memorising things.
We don't live in this type of environment anymore. For example, memorising dates and the times tables can easily be completed using a Google search or calculator. There are more important things our kids can focus on.
Today, we need to teach kids two things:
1. How to solve interesting problems
2. How to lead
Value is created by connections, working with people we trust, high expectations and innovation. Creating Art, things without a map, things that matter to the individual. The role of the classroom should be around these types on things, along with mentoring, coaching, problem solving, self development.
The role of the classroom is to do homework, problem solving, mentoring, coaching. Finding out where fears are and facing it. Give them a problem for them to solve. Or for them not to solve. It's ok to not follow instructions, even though it may not work.
This type of learning for a child opens them up to believe in themselves and their abilities. How many of us need to constantly battle with the 'I'm not good enough' self talk. We get to our thirties and wonder 'is this it?' This is a wonderful opportunity for parents to go against the norm and create human beings that make the most of and believe in their potential.
An exciting prospect for a wanna-be parent :)