Our Modern Education System isn't Actually Modern?
There is a growing feeling today that something is wrong with our system of education. But what is it? Well, we send our children to school to prepare them for the real world, which is changing very, very fast. But our schools haven't changed much for hundreds of years. In fact, thought leaders from around the world agree that the current system of education was designed in the Industrial Age, mainly to churn out factory workers. And this Industrial Age mentality of mass production and mass control still runs deep in schools. Industrial Age values. We educate children by batches, and govern their lives by ringing bells. All day long, students do nothing but follow instructions. "Sit down", "take out your books", "turn to page 40", "solve problem" number three, "stop talking". At school, you're rewarded for doing exactly what you're told. These are Industrial Age values that were really important for factory workers.
Their success depended on following instructions and doing exactly what they were told. But in today's world, how far can you get by simply following instructions? The modern world values people who can be creative, who can communicate their ideas, and collaborate with others. But our children don't get a chance to develop such skills in a system that's based on Industrial Age values. Lack of autonomy and control. At school, our children experience a complete lack of autonomy and control. Every minute of a child's life is tightly controlled by the system. But in today's world, if you're doing important work, then you're managing your own time. You're making your own decisions regarding what to do and when to do it. But life at school looks very different. The system is sending a dangerous message to our children, that they are not in charge of their own lives. They just have to follow whatever is laid down, instead of taking charge and making the most of their lives.
Experts believe autonomy is incredibly important for children. It's no wonder then that our children are bored and demotivated by school. Can you image how you would feel? if you were told exactly what do to for every minute of your life? Inauthentic learning. Most of the learning that happens in schools today is not authentic, because it relies on memorization and rote learning. The system defines a generic set of knowledge that all children must know. And then, every few months, we measure how much has been retained by administering exams. We know that such learning is not authentic because most of it is gone the day after the exam. Learning can be much deeper and more authentic. It can be so much more than just memorization and retention. But that's the only thing we measure, and test scores are the only thing we value. This has created an extremely unhealthy culture for students, parents, and teachers. Children are going through endless hours of tuitions, staying up all night memorizing useless facts that they will forget very soon. No room for passions and interests. We have an extremely standardized system, where each child must learn the same thing at the same time in the same way as everyone else.
This doesn't respect the basic fact of being human, that each of us is unique and different in our own way. We all have different passions and interests. And the key to fulfilment in life is to find your passion. But do the schools of today help our children find and develop their passion? There seems to be no room in the current education system for the most important questions in a child's life: What am I good at? What do I want to do in life? How do I fit into this world? The system doesn't seem to care. There are so many greatly talented people who failed in the traditional school system? Fortunately, they were able to overcome these failures. But not everyone can. We have no measure for how much talent, how much potential goes unrecognized in the current system? Differences in how we learn. Each of us is also different in how we learn, in how much time we take to learn something, and what tools and resources work best for us. But the system has no room for such differences. So, if you're a bit slow in learning something, you are considered a failure, when all you needed was a bit more time to catch up.
Lecturing. In the current system, children are lectured for more than five hours a day. But there are a few big problems with lecturing. Sal Khan from Khan Academy calls lecturing “a fundamentally dehumanizing experience."30 kids with fingers on their lips, "Not allowed to interact with each other. "Also, in any given classroom, different students are at different levels of understanding. Now, whatever the teacher does, there are bound to be students who are either bored because they're ahead, or confused because they're behind. Because of the Internet and digital media, our children have at their fingertips all the information in the world. Technology has made it possible for anyone to learn anything, but for fear of losing control, the system is not leveraging these incredible resources. Our system of education, which evolved in the Industrial Age, has become outdated and ineffective. If we want to prepare our children for the modern world, if we want learning to be effective and engaging, then there's no doubt that we need to fundamentally change our system of education.