Readying the Young Mind

The subject of a better education system is close to my heart given my own educational experience and the fledgling one of my children. Reading about and having experienced the marginalisation of creative subjects over ‘core’ areas does not a holistic and well rounded education make in my opinion.

Reading an article on Design Week about how the government wants to focus on these core subjects kicked off a Tweet that quickly grew to this wordy beginning of a conversation.

Reference article:

The broad brush and deliberate short sightedness of the old men creating central government education policy has, decade on decade, proved not to work. It appears to be further moving in the wrong direction with the push for more focus on what the current government consider ‘core’ subjects.

I can’t stress enough my feeling that education isn’t about exams (those are for the government to label both students and schools for it’s essentially pointless records). It’s surely about crafting and readying young peoples’ minds for society and adulthood by allowing them to explore concepts and ideas through the framework of lessons and course work (personal exploration into subjects). That process is far more bespoke to the relationship between the school and the student than it is currently, which appears to be the relationship between the tester and testee (lol) with the school being the middle man facilitating the ability to remember facts to regurgitate. That form of education didn’t work for me and, no doubt, thousands of others across the country who are then forced to find their own route at a time when young people need the most guidance in life.

Essentially, what I advocate is treating education as a period of a young person’s life that focusses around the exploration of different subjects allowing them to create a future for themselves. That should manifest itself not in the learning and testing (which not only puts kids under immense and unnecessary stress but creates row upon row of very similar people ready to work in offices around the capital) but in the building of thinking minds forged from the exploration and inquisitive question asking that reflects the role of designer and the creative director. That relationship simile is one I’m very familiar with in both my personal life as a son and a father as well as my professional career. One that is about guiding decisions about the available roads not telling you which road to take.

For me, marginalising creative thought (read practical cultural exploration) subjects now is to knowingly and deliberately damage one of the strongest industries this country exports both now and for future generations. That marginalisation was apparent in my days at school with design and art being the marked as the fluffy subjects. A fluffy set of subjects I’ve since managed to make a career out of.

Understanding how I think and the way I can see my children think, I want to see change in the way the system is created and controlled so that we can create the best humans we can rather than the minimum viable human under the guise of central government thinking beyond their own four year tenure.


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