AN EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY
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Schooling, from kindergarten through graduate school, is seen by the student largely as a process of ‘getting through’ on the way to some meaningful learning on the job. And then less than one in ten adults buys a book in any given year. 84 million grownups are unaware that the earth revolves around the sun. Meanwhile, almost every child has taught themselves to speak a very complicated language at home without formal teaching whatsoever. Schools, therefore, to be useful, need to do things very differently.
Schooling has achieved a central role in Western culture. It’s custodial, indoctrinational, political, intellectual, training certification, and credentializing functions need to be examined as well as how these interface with other elements of the society. The factory model of schooling combined with a widespread Prussian paradigm emphasizing obedience, subordination, and deference to the state needs to be revised combined with an understanding of the role schooling plays in the evolution of power, control, authority, social stratification, knowledge distribution, wealth and culture.
Learning, perhaps best defined as a change of thinking and/or behavior as the result of experience, must be incorporated in a curriculum model. Institutional procedures which inhibit curiosity, creativity, self-esteem, the asking of questions, and integrated learning must be analyzed for learning to take place. In view of the negative impact that most schools have on these areas as well as drive, sociability, and physique, we need to look at ways to help students achieve physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual competence despite the constraints of the system. Or better, what can be done to change the system so as to enhance rather than inhibit?
The role of holographic thinking and its possible impact on schooling and/or education must be incorporated. This way of thinking includes the integration of body, mind, spirit, and emotions combining into a “whole” thinking person living in the present moment. Children are not isolated within the school day. Interaction with their environment plays a crucial role in learning and acquiring behavior patterns. The impact on, and the interaction between, various institutions interfacing with educational endeavors must be addressed in order to form a more comprehensive model for instruction. These include the family, religion, government, legal, media, community, science, medicine, and business. Additional areas for possible assessment include self-awareness and self-knowledge; capacity for continuing to learn efficiently, enjoyably and effectively; overall awareness of various aspects of the world; and the ability to manage time and technology.
While becoming educated, i.e., the growth of awareness, knowledge, skills, curiosity, creativity, and the ability to ask relevant, insightful, and/or challenging questions is, despite possible threats to the established order, assumed to be an ultimate good, it seems clear that most schools unwittingly inhibit this process. Therefore, if we want to have educated citizenry, it would appear that most schools are obsolete and/or counterproductive except that they give people the feeling that they are investing in their future despite the fact that fewer and fewer good jobs are becoming available. What needs to be done in order to change the schools needs to be studied and evaluated or, as many suspect, they cannot be changed to any significant degree and therefore alternative models need to be encouraged. Perhaps Purkey’s Invitational Educational Model, i.e., ‘show me what you CAN do’ will give a good idea as to what is happening and where we need to go.
I intent to promote a model that will help the vast majority become educated to the point that they can achieve, enjoy, and contribute. I am, at this moment, assuming that this will involve high intensity, brain based, self-directed learning experiences capitalizing on a child’s curiosity, creativity, strengths, capacities, interests and experiences while a more curriculum oriented/formal assessment model may be considered necessary after age 14 or so.