Friday, June 8, 2012

New World - New Work - New Education

This was the title of one of my very recent speech at a local business school, where I literally went mad, shouting and screaming at professors and teachers to help them realize what we all are doing to the future of our students!
I am a corporate trainer and have nothing to do with the educational systems and models. However, my pain is obvious and apparent, and so thought of sharing it with you people... I can only wish that I am taken positively, and even if this is not the case, I personally won't mind much.
This article has to do nothing with any of my deliberate research - it is very spontaneous, blunt and "as I thought" kind of stuff.
To make things look more professional, I have included several quotes to help you realize my pain.
We are living in the world that was never so unpredictable, materialistic, fast-paced and crazily growing. Everything is changing, and changing with immense pace. What is true today will be an obsolete literature tomorrow.
The bad news is that Education system in Pakistan is as good as the democratic or the religious state of this very country - Confused, Haphazard and typically ad-hoc. The good news is that this system is not that good in any other part of world, so as we can consider them the bench mark. US, UK, Germany, France, India, Singapore and all others... we all are sailing in one direction.
The first and the greatest flow in educational models is the judgmental approach... the approach which tells student how good or bad they are. The misery is that most students take it very seriously. Shame on us as teacher and facilitators to do such a crime. If the creator never did it for humans, how dare can we do it to our fellow-beings.
Another concern, that has been disturbing my mind is the amazing "irrelevance". What is taught at schools - Primary, Secondary, Higher Secondary, Colleges, Universities... what so ever - it has to do little or mostly nothing with the real world. Educational syllabus is structured, predictable and provides an outline - Real world is insanely unpredictable, least structured and has no boundaries. How, by any means, can we prepare the youth of today for the challenges of tomorrow with such a syllabus. Food for thought: How many schools include Reader's Digest as the part of their syllabus... A teacher asked me why to do so - I screamed, "Why Not!"... At least it has a connection to what the child sees outside your "Prison look-alike" schools. Think about it as well... University students having laptops with a Wi-Fi connection, where they search the taught topic, come up with the most recent literature available, and discuss it further. It may sound odd to many, but you know what - it will be a hell to many of us around [so called teachers], because than we know - they [our students] will beat the living hell out of us!
I have been reading and listening about ever increasing tuition fees of schools at all levels. Honestly, I don't mind it, as I know, it's just the beginning. Educational and Healthcare cost will further rise by many folds in near future... my complain is only that by charging such a hefty amount, what's the use if these schools are producing nothing but clones... In my opinion, if a school system can't ignite the spark in the kid to be him / her self - the school system should be immediately adjourned. Today, when I recall my best teachers, it is true for them that "They made me fall in love. They helped me figure out who I was."
Our toughest "learning achievement"-mastering our native language-does not require schools, or even competent parents. It does require a desperate need-to-know. Great teachers are great learners, not imparters-of-knowledge. Great teachers ask great questions-that launch kid's lifelong quest of discovering more. The world is not about "right" & "wrong" answers; it is about the pursuit of increasingly sophisticated questions-but the misery is that we increasingly reward answers, and penalty is the very fate of questioning individual. Shame Shame! Please note... The Three Most Important Letters ... WHY?
Richard Paul, Director, Center for Critical Thinking says, "We need to shift the focus of learning from simply teaching students to have the 'right answer,' to teaching them the process by which educated people pursue right answers."
Now consider what Jordan Ayan had to say in his book, AHA!... "My wife and I went to a [kindergarten] parent-teacher conference and were informed that our budding refrigerator artist, Christopher, would be receiving a grade of Unsatisfactory in art. We were shocked. How could any child-let alone our child-receive a poor grade in art at such a young age? His teacher informed us that he had refused to color within the lines, which was a state requirement for demonstrating 'grade-level motor skills.' "
Schools are busy participating in the massive suppression of creative genius... If you are reading this article, and belong to any senior level position with your school - try this, and you'll testify my words (not 99 but 100%)... Go and ask, "How many artists are there in the room? Would you please raise your hands. FIRST GRADE: In mass the children jump from their seats, arms waving. Every child is an artist. SECOND GRADE: About half the kids raised their hands, shoulder high, no higher. The hands are still. THIRD GRADE: At best, 10 kids out of 30 would raise a hand, tentatively, self-consciously. By the time you'll reached SIXTH GRADE, no more than one or two kids will raise their hands, and then ever so slightly, betraying a fear of being identified by the group as a 'closet artist.'
Now if this happens to you, come and meet me - as I will personally congratulate you for participating in this mass 'creativity destruction campaign'.
For what I had to say, and what I have to say about the school system, a substantial amount of testimony exists from highly regarded scientists like [Nobel laureate] Richard Feynman, Albert Einstein, and many others, that scientific discovery is negatively related to the procedures of school science classes.
One last word - "Learning is never divorced from feelings." Children learn what makes sense to them; they learn through the sense of things they want to understand.

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