Out of the box thinking – education

This talk by Ken Robinson has been influencing my thinking for a while…. in fact, that’s not quite true, I was thinking along these lines anyway and he kinda validates my thoughts:

There is so much in our current education system which seems to be broke that I don’t know quite where to begin.  Here are some examples of the teaching in our local schools:

  • Primary school children are not allowed to run in the playground except running along one yellow line – (they have to queue up to run)
  • We are teaching comparative religion by teaching them about different religions and not teaching them anything about religious tolerance.
  • They do two 1/2 hour sessions of PE per week…… there is absolutely no after school sport in my children’s school.
  • They are taught to pass exams and not to think outside the box.
  • We are teaching them to write and not to touch type (until secondary school at least).
  • We are teaching kids in age arranged batches – how many people do you know who are exactly the same age as you?
  • They work in groups doing separate tasks (e.g. 5 kids together each working on a page of writing)  - rarely do they work in groups collaborating.

So, why is this featuring in my “Out of the box Thinking” series?….. well, I truly believe that to “invent” a system of education which works for our modern age we need to get out of our current 19th/20th century paradigm and look at revolutionary ways of educating our children.  We have to look at the needs that our current education system serves (and childminding is an important part of this for many families) and take another look at how we arrange the whole of our society in order to find a new system, a new paradigm which works, which engages our kids and which equips them for a future world very different from the current one…… and this may involve looking very carefully at how the family supports children and how our current work practices might be undermining this.

For me, this is not just about schools, it’s about involving the whole of society in education – the elderly have much to teach us too and this may form part of a new social strategy, it’s about involving the workplace and the family, involving expert thinkers from around the world in using technology to teach.  There are so many parts to the puzzle that it is very difficult to untangle, and perhaps this is why I see so many “experts” talking about the problems of our education system and why it isn’t working, and so few coming up with possible models for the future.

I’ve written in previous posts about thinking out of the box and helping our children to retain their creative thinking.  The whole sphere of education is one which I believe needs a deep rethink.  I’d be fascinated to hear your thoughts on this.  What “subject areas” do you think our children should be learning?  Are there schools out there which are excellent models for certain areas?

If you like this post you might also like the others in my Outside the box series:

Keep on heading down for the comments box…….


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