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Education: For the journey

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We are all on a journey through life and education can set us on the right road and help us to reach our planned destination. It can also make us prejudiced and either give us high expectations of a lack of confidence that stops us achieving. Having the confidence to be adventurous is important to success.

Education in schools is about basic knowledge, it’s the groundwork, not the detail. It can give us a glimpse of the world, we might learn the names of all the capital cities, but not little about the villages. Our imaginations can be fired with stories from history, of kings and princesses and great battles. That in itself might make us biased. They say the Roman conquest of Britain made it better and the Norman conquest even more so. We tend to take sides, some people favour the Normans and some think it was a tragedy that the Anglo Saxons lost at the Battle of Hastings. Should we concentrate our knowledge of history by learning about conflicts, rather than other more positive aspects of our people’s history?

We tend to learn many subjects in school and the sciences and mathematics are considered to be the most important. They are often seen as the most difficult to learn too. Maybe children need to spend more time on those subjects and perhaps they could be taught in a more practical way? Children often like quite practical problems to solve using mathematics rather than more theoretical problems that are difficult to relate to. Many people are advocating that finances be taught in school. It would be desirable for children to enter the adult world understanding interest rates, compound interest and how to calculate returns on investment. In Victorian  times, children were taught financial calculations and in many countries overseas, children learn to handle money and deal with it by working in the family business. Maybe, we need some education that is of a more practical nature. Do 16 year old children understand interest rates, credit cards. Do they understand the difference between a 16% APR on a credit cards and a 3000% APR on a pay-day loan? Do they understand compound interest? There could be a case for teaching them.

Wandering around an art gallery will give you more of an appreciation of art than drawing pictures in an art lesson. Both are important. Is it just as important to understand art markets and auctions, so that we can understand which art is popular and which isn’t? There is a culture in the art world that tends to be academic on the one hand and quite elitist on the other hand. Is it important to understand the cultural aspects of art?

Children are made to sit exams as a test of their commitment to education. Are examinations fair? It could be a student will do badly in an examination because they didn’t have a teacher who was experienced enough. They could do badly because they found the examination room intimidating. They could do badly, because they didn’t feel well on the day. There can be many reasons for failure. Should failure be punished or should it be a sign that more encouragement and help is needed.

We do tend to punish mistakes in our society in general rather than helping people learn from mistakes. You can even go to prison for your mistakes. Make a mistake when you are driving and you can be accused of careless driving or dangerous driving. Children are often blamed for their ‘mistakes’ when it’s not their fault. They are perhaps just not grounded in the subject. If they didn’t learn arithmetic in junior school, because they had a lot of time of sick. How will they do well in mathematics in High School? Blaming children also perpetuates the ‘blame culture’ into adult life.

Can we change education so every child learns better and learns the value of education and how important it is? Please share your views and ideas in the comments box. You can also follow me on twitter.

One Response

  1. Pingback: The Review: The end of winter | Mike10613's Blog

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