I have absolutely no idea why I never posted this on my own blog after all this while….it’s been, after all, 2 years! It has
been left sitting in LBS’ website isolated from the rest of its family here on this blog!
So here goes :
written in December, 2008
Part 1 : Deschooling in order to Educate for a better world.
On Dec. 8th FamilyPlace organized a talk by Professor Emeritus Gary Confessore, (Ed.D) of the Higher Education Administration of George Washington University who was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to lead a discussion on “Self-Directed Learning”. The talk was held at a venue in Kota Kemuning which was attended by about 40 parents of homeschoolers and homeschoolers-to-be.
Local plastic bag producers are worried that the new statewide ban on plastic bags may ruin their business and cause their revenue to drop from $150,000 per month to almost nothing eventually.
It’s ironic that they didn’t stop to think about who was expected to pay for the environmental damage their monthly handsome revenue caused in the first place. Isn’t it unfair that a few parties concerned with only their own profits harm the future of thousands and thousands of people who have bought into the convenience, ignorantly or otherwise?
There are a few parallels between Plastic Bag producers and tuition teacher. Both rely on the ignorance of the public to churn out useless, wasteful, unsustainable goods or service with the sole aim of increasing their own revenue without thought to social and environmental impact. Tuition teachers, like plastic bag producers, rationalize it as offering something for the consumer’s convenience but a true examination of their motives will lead to a discovery that they are pandering to a market that wants what is convenient without regard to whether their goods and services truly deliver the benefits without creating long-term liabilities and consequences.
Learning Beyond Schooling asked : Wouldn’t it be interesting if report cards were on teachers and the students evaluate their teachers’ performances? and it elicited a thread of comments.
My comment would have been a little too long to include and I dare not impose upon others, unless of course, they clicked the link and arrived at this page.
In the end it is not a matter of to school or not to school; it is a question of whether we educate for Freedom or we miseducate them into the trappings of life. ~ Sloane
I think though, that if we simply removed the thinking that Teachers are authority figures and that we need “learning institutions” to learn we would stand in the eye of the storm and see that the only problem with education is the fact that we all bought into the idea of systemized learning – that we need higher authorities, institutions and systems in order for learning to be valid.
It’s too late to reform and it’s too late to convince other people how they’re thinking about education is wrong. To quote Alvin Toffler, “We’re going to see battles in country after country until this system is broken and replaced.”
I know a lot of people are angry at school for a lot of different reasons. But we don’t have to focus on the fact that it punishes us for mistakes, make us wake up early, force us to conform, kills our creativity, stifle our natural learning styles and aptitudes, makes us so bored that we no longer have a purpose in life, takes away all our precious time in our youth making us do boring, meaningless repetitive drill-work, pressure us to do useless exams which measure nothing, wastes our time and money and energy and our potential to be better.
One of the most naive assumptions I have made in life is that it is through education that a person has the best chance to shape his own destiny. Actually, education drives further apart the initial small divide. People with certain professions get to live in certain areas which gives them access to certain schools. People who are misinformed or less informed send their children unwittingly to “the wrong school”. This has serious repercussions; if you go to the wrong school, you’re going to miss experiencing certain things or learning from certain great mentors and these differences greatly affect how you shape your world beyond your education experience.
We are on the verge of radical shifts in our education systems, and not everyone will be happy to see them develop.
The pace of change mandates that we produce a faster, smarter, better grade of human being. Current systems are preventing that from happening. Future education systems will be unleashed with the advent of a standardized rapid courseware-builder and a single-point global distribution system. In the future, we predict students entering the workforce will be ten times smarter than they are today.
I’ve now crossed the threshold from the Innovator’s Dilemma to being able to confidently be like the flight attendant that gestures and says, “This way please to the exit……stay calm but hurry up.”
Hey, nothing to worry about. It’s just the Plane of Education System crashing. No need to hurry. Take your time. They’ve still got fuel (government spending) even though both engines are out. There aren’t going to be enough parachutes for everyone but that’s OK….stay buckled in your seat, like how schools have taught you to just sit down and be a good little boy or girl.
I’m filing this under Thomas Frey’s Future of Education because I plan to bring everything I am coming across which supports the ideas outlined in his paper under one theme.
I hope I have convinced you to get your copy and make at least 5 other people get it too! (I have 2 at least count.) And if you do, please tell me about it so we can share the experience together.
TRUST – 2 (Following my blog Trust.)
Reading the Speed of Trust made me reflect deeply into everyday aspects of trust in our daily life. For instance, in a family with low trust, conflicts arise because one person accuses another of something; one blames another for their grievances. They feel like strangers living in the same house. In a high trust family, one person will not accuse another even if something goes wrong. Instead they will empathize and forgive the mistake or work together to find a solution. What kind of environment did you grow up in? What type of environment are you re-creating now as an adult?
If you were to ask me what is the one single “method” when it comes to Teaching, whether homeschooling our own children or teaching others, that method is “Trust”. This is a blog about my reflections as a parent and a teacher when it comes to trusting children and young people.
It’s been the easiest hardest thing to do. Trust doesn’t require tools or expenses or effort or research. Trust doesn’t require us to make sacrifices or improvements. It’s a simple choice. Trust. And yet it is so hard to accomplish.
Just 2 months ago, I made myself purchase a book I said I didn’t need – Speed of Trust by Stephen R. Covey. I was very confident that I am a trustworthy person and I only work with Trustworthy causes. Sure we can be trusted. But can we trust others? A paragraph from Speed of Trust
Simply put, trust means confidence. The opposite of trust – distrust – is suspicion. When you trust people, you have confidence in them – in their integrity and in their abilities. When you distrust people, you are suspicious of them – of their integrity, their agenda, their capabilities, or their track record. It’s that simple. We have all had experiences that validate the difference between relationships that are built on trust and those that are not. These experiences clearly tell us the difference is not small; it is dramatic.
The following paragraphs asks us to reflect on the sort of relationship we have with someone we trust and someone we don’t trust.
Describe this relationship. What’s it like?
A relationship that is based on trust feels easy and joyful. We feel relaxed and happy to be around that person. On the other hand, when we don’t trust someone, we feel like we are walking on eggshells, that we have to be careful what we say and how we say around that person.
When reflecting on relationships you have with people you have high trust or low trust with don’t you think things can get done a lot faster and the relationship becomes more enjoyable? I think we can judge the level of trust in any organization, be it a school or a company by the speed in which they can things done. In an environment of Trust, things get done and people don’t feel unnecessarily stressed out.
I think many adults, parents and teachers, need to realize that the way we behave at home and in school become the models of Trust for young people. In a school where teachers don’t trust each other but instead gossip about students and other teachers to one another in the staffrom, acting as “spies” on both sides, how is it possible to get any teaching and learning done?
Is it fair to young people when adults and teachers don’t trust their choices when they tell us how they feel about something? Are we thwarting their chances at happiness if we deny them the same way others have denied us when we were younger? Will we be the ones who will be responsible for them if they grow up stressed and unhappy and unfulfilled?
I don’t care what schools do as much as I care about the young people who are affected. – At home, it’s a different story. We may not realize it but all we have to do is ask our children how we made them feel. See, if we don’t trust them, they will not know how to trust themselves and learn to trust others. I am reminded of Kelly Clarkson’s song, – “Because of you I find it hard to trust not only me but everyone around me.”
What does it mean to trust our young people? It means to listen to them. It means to stop thinking we have to be right because we don’t want them to be wrong. It means to trust that, like us, they want a better world for themselves and all those they love.
Each time we warn them about failing, about making mistakes – each time we scare them about being lazy, being useless, being unemployed, being unsuccessful – we are only destroying the trust that should exist.
If I had my own school, every child will be free to bloom in their own time without interference, without the agenda of any adult, authority, getting in the way. We simply need to prepare optimum soil conditions and allow them to bring to bear the DNA that’s in their seed, for them to bring to bear their purpose in coming to this world, in designing the world.
I would not press upon children traditions and regulations and adult beliefs, which, I believe, is the cause of the brokeness in our world today. It is because of our faulty reasoning and beliefs and our insistance of passing them down generation upon generation, and disallowing examination, that is the root of our degeneration. I will allow each child the time and space to access the voice of God in them to ascertain for themselves and separete between incomplete thought, false ideas or Truth. If God made children, who are we to interfere with God’s work?
I, as well as all the teachers, will let learning happen the way Nature intended it to be : Organic. Organic learning means to provide optimum conditions based on how each organism is supposed to grow and develop. We will not mechanise things by setting ‘curriculum’. We will not try to speed growth up or employ artificial means as short-cuts to yield ‘results’. In other words, we will not assume to tamper with Nature’s Hand.
As a farmer, I must learn how each type of plant grows and observe how it interacts with nature to pollinate, grow or thrive. My job is not to force it to grow but to listen to the needs of the Land they are planted in (the environment or society a child is in) and to be sensitive enough to tend to the plant in ways that is helpful to its growth. The things I would need to cultivate in myself is simply a sensitivity to Life and an ability to examine and observe intelligently. From intelligent examination and reflections, I will develop more experience which I can then share with other farmers, about the organic process of Nature’s Work.
I will not try and cram children in small spaces like dairy-cows in their pens. I will not drill and exhaust them the way machines milk cows to their deaths. I will not push them to produce more eggs or milk the way schools push children to produce results. I will not burn their beaks with a solder in order to reduce the aggression and violence I have bred in them by conditioning them to the inhumane conditions which is a transit for the slaugterhouse. I will not treat children like ‘meat’ and ‘milk’ to serve the needs of Mass Economy Corporations.
Not that I’m equating children to vegetables and animals but biologically, Humans bear more resemblance to organic forms than the mineral/mechanical existence Industrialists and Feudal Lords tend to equate us to.
I’d let what the Earth can Grow to decide what the Market can demand as a need, instead of allowing Consumption to demand from Mother Earth, Her resources to produce for our greed. I will not subject children to experiments and be modified or turned into fighting beasts and working zombies. I will not let children become pawns to a world controlled by 1% of people who see everyone else in no other role except of Consumers and Human Resources.
So instead of forcing children to adapt to a marketplace, I’d let these Children grow up to design and create a world market that is just, fair and able to solve all human needs.