What is the purpose of going to school?

Excerpt from Sayling Wen’s 2000 book, the Future of Education. The same can be said of education throughout Asia.

Education’s greatest limitation today lies in its curriculum. Whether you like it or not you have got to study all the given subjects. Some students are forced to do what is clearly not their forte, and so they refuse to learn. Or perhaps we need not really delve so deeply into some subjects. If we can adopt the self-motivation method and give the curriculum more flexibility, we can both develop the students’ potential as well as enable him to learn what may be of practical use. We may reconcile the 2 theories (Knowledge-oriented Education & Multidirectional Balanced Development) even without the help of computer technology. But with the help of computer technology the results would be even better. For instance, a student with a great interest in vehicles could virtually handle cars on the computer, going through all the vehicle maintenance procedures.

Continue reading “What is the purpose of going to school?”


Laptops in class?

A teaching assistant that just started with me told me she was so glad to know that there are parents who were open to the idea of their children using the laptop as a part of their learning and life. Why was she glad? Because in her own experience there were more parents who were trying to keep their children away from technology and the internet than there are those who embraced it.

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Towards Finding a New Order in Education – John Abbott Part 1

The 21st Century Learning Initiative

excerpted from http://www.21learn.org
Times have always been a-changing yet too often the old ways hang on long after their usefulness has passed. In frustration after years, even centuries, of inertia, energetic innovators can unthinkingly let the baby out with the bath water. Because change is remorseless, because man’s creativity throws up ever new ways of doing things, so the task of educating children for the future is inevitably fraught with uncertainty.
Styles of parenting, as well as kinds of schooling, have to be based inevitably on perceptions of how children grow and learn. From today’s modern parents’ inclination to rationalise
“I somehow survived school and it did me no harm, so just get on and do as you’re told without complaining”,
to the belief of the ancient Greeks that only those youngsters who had been born with gold in their constitutions (as opposed to silver or iron) were worth educating, formal systems of schooling reflect the dominant perception of how people learn. Schools are expected to model what we think will be the world of the future, yet they are forever burdened with nostalgic memories of an imagined past; ancient ivy-covered cloisters too often suggest that antiquity and eternity are synonymous.
Schools are expected to model what we think will be the world of the future, yet they are forever burdened with nostalgic memories of an imagined past; ancient ivy-covered cloisters too often suggest that antiquity and eternity are synonymous.
Yet it is not only schools that are remarkably resistant to change. Parents too often assume that what was good for them will be good enough for their own children. Their concerns only increase as the adolescent years approach. We are uncertain as to whether teenagers should be protected from the world, or free to discover it for themselves. We are not sure if they are mature enough to make their own decisions, yet fear that they are growing up irresponsible. Are they frail and vulnerable? Or are they the essence of humanity’s endless drive to recreate itself?
Finding the right balance of challenge and support — giving children wings to fly and roots to understand why they are as they are — perplexed our ancestors every bit as much as it does us today. “At present there are differences of opinions”, wrote Aristotle in Greece some 2,500 years ago, “for all people do not agree as to the things the young ought to learn, either with a view to virtue or with a view to the best life, nor is it clear whether their studies should be regulated more with regard to intellect, or with regard to “character”.
That same question of balance faces us now in the early twenty-first century. Education, so politicians stridently proclaim, is at the top of their political agenda, their number one item. Business leaders happily concur, so do community leaders. Parents do as well, though an increasing minority is starting to question just what kind of education these politicians anticipate.
Do we agree with the standards they tell us should be established, and how these may be achieved?
For that matter, just what exactly are we educating children for?
Is it to know how to live well and be able to make wise judgements, or is to make children efficient producers and insatiable consumers?
There are many paradoxes here for, apart from cheering the banner headlines (voting for the idyllic motherhood and apple pie) most people see education as a strangely boring topic. There are no best sellers in the book stores about education for, like religion, while many people see education as fundamental, the majority are quite happy to leave it to others to think about.
Towards Finding a New Order in Education – John Abbott  Part 2

What’s your story?

Here’s mine :

Like everyone else, I went through a schooling experience that left me wanting and damaged in many ways. But unlike everyone else, I was idealistic about being able to find a way to make schools how I intended for it to be for me: a place which inculcated a transcendental narrative to make this world a better place. A better place how?

– opportunities

– discovery

– creation

Opportunities to go anywhere and be anything you want to be. Continue reading “What’s your story?”