Monday, February 7, 2011

Have we been robbed of an education?

I decided to do my Masters when I thought that I wanted to spend the rest of my working life in academia. Fact was, I really didn't have the imagination or the courage (and I do think there's a strong correlation between the two) to fashion a different career path for myself.  I'd been teaching and so naturally assumed that teaching was all I could do or even wanted to do.  Sheesh!

Don't get me wrong.  I love the process of taking information and repackaging it so it becomes easy and fun for others to handle.  That is creative work.  But I felt incredibly stifled in an education system that force fed students (I taught both teenagers and adults) a curriculum that I personally could not justify (as one kid who was taking acting classes out of school made me realize and not for the first time either: 'Miss, how is trigonometry going to help me?)

But this was only one part of a multi-faceted fiasco.  How do you teach a class of twenty odd adolescents who turn up everyday bearing the bruises of domestic mismanagement, parental apathy or compensatory overindulgence  and a frightening variety of other parental/domestic inaptitudes, not to mention of course, their hormonally driven obsession with identity, independence, impressions and shag-meistering?

If I had my way, the core curriculum I'd have for children for the 12 years of schooling that they do would be The Art and Science of Happiness, Health and Prosperity.  Nothing would equip them better for life.  After all, don't we spend most of our adulthood struggling to get just the basics of these right while suffering the consequences of our recurring failures?

Maths, Science, History, Geography, Literature, Music, Art, Economics and Languages would be offered as electives to those who showed good progress in the core curriculum.  Needless to say, teachers would learn a heck of a lot about Happiness, Health and Prosperity themselves by having to teach (hopefully by modeling) them.  And wouldn't that be a boon for all of society?

Oh dear, you'll never believe this but I was actually going to write on a topic in my list of topics I'd said I'd write about (which was in this post).  And  what was that?  It was about the crush that we didn't know we had.  Who?  My Masters/PhD supervisor and I.  You see, it was all related but obviously, I got side-tracked somewhat.  I will write about it in due course, though :)

Anyway, the subject of this post is important too.  I mean, as far as I'm concerned, the core skills that a person needs to have are the skills to be happy, healthy and prosperous.  And if they can't learn this in the 12 years that they spend at school, I reckon they're being robbed of an education.  What do you think?

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