Future of Education

The Future of Education in Japan and abroad

I was inspired by Sir Ken Robinson`s first talk on TED.com, as well as reading about schools like Summerhill in England, and sharing my ideas with like-minded teachers.

I was a very creative, but bored student throughout school. My IQ tested high, my teachers liked to tell me, but I found what we were forced to learn, was often unpalatable. I wanted to do my own projects.

Other than Mr. Leach in grade 7, few teachers allowed me much freedom to pursue these studies. Mr. Leach was one of the best teachers I had. Dr. Peter Loeffler of UBC was another great teacher, I was privileged to learn from.

The Future of Education & Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson talks of the need to change our education system. He points out that the current education model our system is based on was invented by people now long dead, who designed it to educate people living in the Feudal Age. It is hardly a model suitable for our age; an age that now has radio, television, the photocopier, mass public transit, cures for many diseases, the calculator and high speed global travel, the computer and of course the internet. Moreover our societies are now often multicultural.

Boy have things changed!

The Future of Education our Educational Model

This educational model was designed to educate the vast majority to a level where they could fit into society and perform the tasks deemed necessary. Isn`t it time for a new educational model to base our 21st century education systems upon?

George Carlin goes into American Education and why it will Never Change

The Future of Education - In Present Day Japan

In Japan we have rigid rules in junior high school, the students are required to wear school uniforms based on German naval uniforms of the last century. They look smart, but is this where we want to be leading students? Forcing them to all look and march the same. Stifling their creativity even in the clothes they wear.

Japanese students sit at desks in rows facing the teacher who is the centre of attention. Just as the teacher was the center of attention 400 years ago. Even their hair must be of a certain length and color or they risk ridicule and possible expulsion by school authorities. In some cases they must dye it, and not too long ago, less than 50 years, they would have been forced to dye it black, even if brown was their natural color!

The Future of Education - North America

In North America too, education should be improved. This old model is used worldwide. Can we not offer more freedom and chances to be creative for our students? Can we not make our classes more student centered? Is this not the time to do so?

If we stopped spending money on the military or other inane government programs, could we not afford to revolutionize education? In Japan if we stopped wasting money on concrete, cementing yet another river, sea coast or wasting more money on an ill-needed highway to nowhere, or a road that doesn`t need repaving now. Japan too is consistently in the top 10 in military spending, and often in the top five.

The Future of Education - Do we have the Resolve?

The problem with improving education isn`t a lack of funds. The funds can be found. It is one of resolve. Are we willing to pursue change. I hesitate to use the word fight (for change), as it has almost become a cliche.

We need to move for change and I quote Newton`s First Law:

"An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force."

We must act upon this to change anything, or the status quo will continue as it has done for hundreds of years.

Who are the people who might oppose this?

(and do they represent your or your child`s best interests?)

The religious right?

Conservative politicians?

The military industrial complex?

The people in general who benefit the most from the present system?

On the Summerhill School in England

I have long been an admirer of the Summerhill School in England after reading a book about this prestigious school and watching a documentary on it. At Summerhill they have dedicated teachers, and enthusiastic students; who tend to go onto be successful, productive, interesting, creative and happy adults. Many become leaders in their various enterprises.

The only rule at Summerhill:

"Do not bother anyone else."

Summerhill students are free to take part in the classes they wish to study in, when they want to.

On Changing Education

We need to have the willingness, or inspiration to change things. It is easier to keep them the same. It will take many individuals to push for change, and move the object at rest (our present educational system).

Even if individuals like Sir Ken Robinson, grow in numbers, speak up as he has done, and push for change, what changes should be made?

Do we allow total freedom for students?

Are there core subjects and educational aspects that everyone on the planet should master ie) being able to balance your check book, how to count your change, be able to read and write the mother tongue of your nation, how to get along in the society you happen to live in, or what?

These are questions we all need to address. But if we sit on our hands, nothing will change.

I assert that while there are certain skills many of us ought to learn, there are many options for learning that we should have the freedom to choose or not, based upon advice from parents and educators. Shouldn`t children have the final say? Or are they too young? If you explain things to them, wouldn`t most of them choose wisely?

Frankly, don`t children study what they want to anyway? They study harder the subjects and topics they are most interested in. In spite of our rigid educational model, some creativity manages to come through.

Future of Education - The Tragedy of our Present System

Could we be missing out on some Michelangelos and Leonardo da Vincis because of the present system? I argue that we are. This is a very sad thing.

It is time to challenge Newton`s First Law and unbalance the status quo. The future of our world rests in the balance, and improving education will help us to solve many problems, the least of which is job satisfaction and happiness.

I hope we will live in a world of more freedom and not less.

Maybe Newton would too?

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