Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Teaching Our Kids - The New Education

Teaching our Kids
When our kids go to school, what do they learn? They learn from two levels, one level is from the schools curricula, the other from their peers, but it's not so much what they learn, but how they learn to learn.
Learning "what" involves remembering what happened yesterday. We don't have to create a new writing system every year, we can use the one developed years ago. In the same manner, we learn how to become engineers, doctors, and attorneys. This is one level of necessary learning; by memorizing the past.
There is another level of learning, however, a level that in many ways is far more important than any other - a level of insight. Insight is another way of saying spontaneous discovery without books or lectures; a discovery about ourselves and about life.
At this level of insight, a student might be studying about world wars, which would be about yesterday. Then, suddenly, the student might spontaneously question the whole concept of war itself. He or she might even come to a conclusion that war is caused by individuals, the microcosms of countries that fight with each other. This might in turn challenge the student to discover a solution, within each individual, to mankind's Achilles Heal; the wars that tear humanity apart.
This type of insight and inquiry is quite removed from dreary memorization, so mundane, yet admittedly necessary in education. This insight is the life that is missing in education, and why students are dropping out in droves. The spontaneity of life, the adventure, and discovery of life is missing, and we search for ways to instill this passion that students so need and deserve.
So, how do we promote this spontaneity among our students? How do we encourage them to think for themselves instead of conform to a failed system that turns its back on life's realities and continues to promote illusions through dry concepts and dated ideology? It all begins with each teacher letting go of his or her past.
The past is tradition, security, and beliefs, and completely ignores this very moment and what is actually happening in it. The teacher that teaches current events from a standpoint of teaching how the past influences current human behavior does a service to her students, but if that teacher has not gone deeply inside of herself, and discovered her own thoughts and feelings, and how her thoughts and feelings create the hypocrisy of tradition and the illusion of security in beliefs and ideals, then she can never teach passionately, and passion is the difference.
When she sees clearly that conformity in education is safe, that it is risk free, but that it is also killing all hope of positive change in a world that is becoming more aggressive and violent each year by spitting out little automatons that recite the dogma of economics that so separate us, only then will she teach differently.
Street smart, intelligent kids aren't buying it anymore, even though they can't communicate what they are feeling. It is an isolation from life that they feel in our educational institutions, an estrangement, a disconnect, and they are simply dropping out. This is what is actually happening, and the drop outs aren't unintelligent; in many ways they are heads and shoulders above our outdated systems.
The kids want to know why we are struggling to make so much money, why things have become more important than people. Is it because we are fearful that we don't have enough? The dress codes of our kids, the old, ragged, baggy clothes, are a dead give away of their feelings. They are mocking our values.
Our kids want to know, for themselves, what life is really about. But since their educators have never taken the time to find out for themselves what life is all about, and are themselves simply products of the establishment, we are in a gigantic "Catch 22" with no way out. But our kids are taking a way out; they are dropping out.
As with many things, such as health care and a basic, respectable standard of living, this article will be ignored by policy makers, the ones in power, the ones perpetuating an educational system that is a dinosaur. Nothing changes until change is forced upon us, because we become comfortable. "Let them drop out, who cares? Let them live on the street and starve, who cares; I am taken care of."
It's only when the tide becomes overwhelming that the ones in power are replaced, but if the students still have not learned to go deep within themselves and actually question power, and question the hatred and greed that separates us, then the new ones in power will only succumb to the same pressures as their predecessors, and humanity will continue down the same road of violence since the beginning of time.
Who will instill in our kids the passion of discovery, the challenge of the inward journey so that things can change? What religious institution is teaching this instead of indoctrinating their youth with stale ideals and rote dogma? Who has the courage to forge a new, brave world?
Who will teach our kids to awaken themselves and discover their real potential, not the potential to be a successful businessman, but to be a human being, a potential that lies dormant? How do we teach our kids to be visionaries, fearless and unencumbered to change a world that is on the verge of self-destruction? We need visionaries, not robots.
Teaching our kids begins with teaching ourselves anew, in radical ways that we have never before considered. It takes warriors.

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