The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.
― J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
I’ve written on this topic before.
But the thoughts don’t go away: is what’s being taught appropriate/relevant for the world up ahead?
I’ve my doubts.
Of course, I’m not in the trenches and if you’re having to home-school your child/children, that in itself is no mean feat — stressful beyond measure, I’m sure.
If you take away the money component — surely that’s the name of the education game or at least a big part: to find the best job possible — then how does that square with a world of diminishing resources, extreme climate change, an over-reliance on technology but most of all, an absence of connection with a person’s higher calling? No, that last point is not a typo. In fact, I couldn’t be more serious. Even if you think the language a bit ethereal, how about the idea of capturing and allowing to flourish all the gifts and talents of young people and not corralling them into a one size fits all style of schooling?
And then there are the practical skills. If my historical memory serves me correct but I’m sure others will instantly correct me, wasn’t the Secondary Modern raison dêtre supposed to provide us with people who had practical skills as well as the ability to read and write? If I think about my three children — all girls — none of them were or have been taught any practical skills. My eldest did study product design but in fairness to her, I think she’d be the first to admit that her teacher did most of the sawing, glueing and fixing or her final A-level piece.
Of course, with all these sweeping generalisations there are always (thank god) exceptions but if I think about the world up ahead (I’ll be long gone) when you’ve no natural resources left or very little to supply our insatiable desire for stuff, surely it’s the case that those people who can repurpose, recycle and fix stuff will be in huge demand as well those people who see the world as animate and not something to exploit as my generation has done with such alacrity?
How and when we begin this conversation escapes me, particularly right now where there’s a heavy accent on loss and well-being, but if all we’re ‘training’ our children for is to imitate our patterns of later-life behaviour, then the world really does have a much bigger problem than anyone, right now, can conceive. Or at least that’s what I think.
Is our current education system and all that it offers equipping our children for the world up ahead?
Much love, Ju