Why – as a species – are we so obsessed with the protection of the status quo? I’ve been too busy to blog recently as a return to work after the holidays has proven hectic. However, it has given me ample time to reflect on my role as an (somewhat reluctant) enforcer of the status quo – a teacher. Through school, we ensure that children are kept occupied spending – at least – two-thirds of their waking childhoods consuming skills and facts integral to becoming a ‘productive’ part of society.
Of this, I would postulate that around 90% is purely educational in a traditional sense.
We spend so little time developing the skills of reflection, social behaviour and inner happiness. I say this with the exception of when we ‘punish’ deviant behaviour. That is behaviour that deviates from the development of a productive citizen. We take their time or berate them if they dare to not complete assigned work or question an authority figure. Is this really where our aim should be? In punishing those who go against what we have decided is best?
Can a society really move forward if all the knowledge is based on what has come before it? Surely we can see clearer on the shoulders of giants. However, is there really any benefit to see better when our feet are shackled to those same giants?
Sure we ask acknowledge creativity where we can. We try to help students where we can. We work towards improving the social behaviours of students where we can.
However, at the end of this all we know for sure is that they’ll complete some pre-determined, timed examinations that define what they will do with their adult lives and have the sole intention of testing knowledge deemed ‘valuable’.
Is this really all we should be hoping for in the education of the youth? Are they merely vessels for a prescribed set of ideals that we value and therefore perpetuate?
I for one think that this view is far too conservative and short-sighted.