Rarely do we have an opportunity to participate in being a part of creating a life changing event. When I think of those enormous life changing events I’m talking about the discovery of insulin in 1921 by Banting and Best or Fleming who developed penicillin in 1928. Being more basic the wheel was invented around 3500 years before Christ walked the earth. X-rays, telephones, computers, the internet, gun powder, fire, medical vaccines for polio, and electricity were really milestones that would be considered vital to the development of human beings. Some would argue that splitting the atom was the single-most important thing that we ever did when we think about all of the things that came from that achievement. There is no question that these are examples of massive importance and there are arguments pro and con for so many other inventions and innovations.
However, here we are today with a rare opportunity to influence one of the most important developmental shifts in our existence as human beings and I’d wager that very few people are even aware of what I ‘m talking about nor would they equate it to something that they are capable of influencing or contributing to.
Everyday so many parents send their children off to a building somewhere where there are professional educators responsible for enlightening their kids and expected to prepare them for what? When I have asked the following questions of some teachers, some parents or business people “What is the purpose of education?” or “What is the goal of education”? no one has been able to provide a clear concise answer. So the question remains–why do we send our kids off to be educated?
Most parents did mention ‘to make sure that the kids can get a good job and be employable.’ Others say so that they can be self sufficient and provide a good life for their families. Nothing wrong with that but many of the kids themselves aren’t buying it. They want so much more and aren’t getting it. If that was all it is about for them they could learn enough studying the internet to gain enough information to “pass” school exams. We are turning out too many kids who don’t feel that their educations, or what is passing for an education, is doing anything more than turning out robots who are being programmed to learn the same things as each other to produce a uniform work force for industry. If this sounds familiar its the same idea–the same thinking–that was put forth over 100 years ago. The goal for educating our kids seems to be the same now as it was during the Industrial Age in Europe. Although the world has changed dramatically, due to the amazing growth of technology, the way we prepare our children to survive in that new world hasn’t changed much at all.
Please consider the rise in student drop out rates, why do so many college graduates find it difficult to get a job, why is there more gang growth and gang violence, more suicides among our young folks, more instances of mental/emotional illness, and a waning interest in our children when it comes to being excited about learning in general. We often hear our kids saying “why do I have to learn this stupid stuff” or “I hate this stuff-I could care less about this or that”? Our kids have their own ideas and goals about their futures but folks don’t appear to be listening. The school system has its own ideas about what they–the learners need to learn and how they need to learn it. Rote learning is still the popular delivery system despite all the indications and evidence to the contrary.
There is so much more to say about this topic. You can go to my web site at jimcloughley.com for more information about this but consider that our educational system is trying to prepare our kids for a life and a future by employing an approach that is out dated and irrelevant. We have no idea at all about what job market and opportunities will exist because technology is changing so quickly. J0bs available now may not exist in two or three years so how can an old approach satisfy the qualifications needed to succeed? How will our children succeed if they are not ready or educated to succeed. Our success as a race–the Human Race–depends upon our ability to adapt and prepare the next generation of thinkers, innovators, creators, problem solvers and collaborators. It is up to us to make sure they have all the tools they need to get that job done and right now we are not doing a very good job of making that happen. The old system trains our kids to retain data–to memorize stuff.
How much of what you learned in high school do you remember today? Not much would be my guess. What is needed and right now is the creation of a new paradigm concerning how and what our children are learning. We need to be teaching our kids HOW TO LEARN and not WHAT TO LEARN. They will take care of the rest on their own. They are so much smarter than we give them credit for.
If learning more as a parent or as a student is important to you–If you want to find out how you can be a part of this extremely unique opportunity to shape the world in a new way-and we can do this-become informed about what is coming so that you can contribute to this rare but necessary shift in thinking. Go to Google and type in learner-centered education.
I’ll be writing a great deal more about this new opportunity to influence our survival in the weeks to come.
Anyways, that’s how I see things.
All the best, Jim Please send any thoughts or comments to me at: email@example.com or go to jimcloughley.com
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