Who Said Learning Would Be Comfortable?
We often find ourselves in the midst of a whirling conundrum when it comes to learning. We have been taught that knowledge is power, but few still fall victim to common misconceptions surrounding knowledge acquisition. Most of us go through our lives striving to accomplish the academic expectations our parents and teachers set for us, yet it isn’t until we are much older that we begin to realize that conventional education hasn’t really taught us anything at all. It is only as we transgress through the boundaries we thought were set to protect us that we begin to see that learning is something else entirely. It is the ability to acquire an understanding of one’s self, nature, and beliefs; problem solving, brainstorming, and listening; perseverance, optimism, and curiosity. Learning is indefinite and far from Comfortable. Public education was a breeze, but learning is a lifelong pursuit.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
— Alvin Toffler
The American education system has undoubtedly nose-dived while other countries bring about change and innovative ideas to facilitate academic progress. As other nations advance, we remain stagnant. If we don’t adjust our teaching strategies to reflect a deeper understanding (e.g. real world applications), we may decline falling behind as the rest of the world makes strides toward advancement. Misconceptions frequently plague schools with uncertainty because they confuse learning with information overload. Memorizing useless information occupies a majority of time only to be regurgitated and forgotten when it’s time to test. When students aren’t studying, they are either hoping to rank higher than their classmates or land a prestigious position for the sole purpose of securing a hefty salary later on. Our education system doesn’t facilitate the true essence of learning, rather high-stakes competition and social hierarchy pervade it entirely.
A Flawed System — Can Betsy Fix it?
Before embarking on the long journey of DeVos— the outright flawed American education system; children follow the creative and curious path that encompasses a holistic learning environment. Upon entering the first year(s) of school, the creative outlet previously exercised begins to diminish. This is caused by conventional learning methods that follow well-established traditions.
“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a creative mind to spot a wrong question.”
— Anthony Jay
The spark ignited by curiosity vanishes in an instant as children begin to learn the ropes of the American education system. In its place, the cookie-cutter mentality ensues defining their future as citizens of a corporate world; moreover, one of angst and animosity. Although new to conventional education, a common misconception held is that learning involves a systematic method that is explicitly defined. The act of learning is more abstract and adaptive — moldable; forever changing. It’s unfortunate that American education has become increasingly nihilistic; focusing more on social hierarchy, rather than building strong individuals equipped with the necessary skills to address both global and national issues. We need to breed citizens who think creatively, strive for a more renowned understanding, and demonstrate the willingness to compromise.
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. ”
— Albert Einstein
Mandatory Education Reform.
Although education is vital to modern society, the current system is far too dated and broken. Radical changes are necessary if we plan on preparing the following generations to think uniquely and adapt accordingly. Positive change is highly contagious, and would ricochet impacting other aspects of society causing a chain reaction. Instead of embodying a bully whose only goal is to fill children with doubt and useless information, schools should offer a unique environment that stimulates new ideas and encourages students to challenge traditional rules. Teaching children about diversity and their environment would make students more aware and understanding of others. It’s also important to have schools show young students how to think as an individual and form conclusions about their ideas and themselves. This would result in cultivating intuitive learning experiences while fostering creativity.
Getting involved is simple:
- Spread your ideas any way you can (social media, blogging, word of mouth, etc.).
- Take action whenever possible (attend meetings, have your voice heard, vote).
- Participate in community outreach (host events, volunteer, write to legislators).
- Inspire those around you (get others to help accomplish collective goal).
- Promote collaborative group efforts as much as possible (spread the work around, so you can cover more ground).
Adjusting our current educational model for all public schools would require persistence and effort, but in the end it’s definitely worth it. Not only would students have the ability to explore the unknown, but they would pursue new knowledge as it pertains to their individual interests. They will be able to comprehend cultural differences better, expand critical thinking skills, and offer their insights with confidence when facing challenges. In order for a system like this to take effect and prove successful, abandoning the superficial power status roles that define our current social hierarchy would prove beneficial. We may have a long and arduous road ahead, but patience and virtue will lead the way. America could use a confidence boost, and what better way than implementing a more sustainable education system.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Follow the Leader
When it comes to defining a model for public education, America is the epitome of failure. It’s clear that we need to revamp our teaching strategies or else we could find ourselves at the bottom of the totem pole. It has already been noted that American education is faulty. Our neighbors across the Atlantic have proven their contributions to education have been a success. The Finish instilled geography as a core subject because it helps students read maps while developing an understanding of different cultures and social systems around the world. It’s also common for students throughout Europe to speak multiple languages fluently. This fosters a positive view of different cultures by educating students about cultural differences while promoting an interconnected global community.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
Public education may go years without ratification, but advocacy is the first step to enacting change. Although there are blurred misconceptions surrounding the American education system, that doesn’t mean you should fork over barrels of cash and enroll your kids in private institutions. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of time to do that when college tuition comes around.
Graduating from public school is a unique experience that you will always look to and appreciate with a sense of nostalgia. The values perpetuated through public education may embody the social hierarchy that has been prevalent for some time, but there are wonderful aspects that comprise public education. You may have to look far and wide, but few do exist. Lastly, learning is a process that is never ending. As you grow and experience life, you learn and acquire skills along the way. Never turn away from an opportunity because just around the corner is another learning experience that will change you thereon. Learning may not be fun at times, but just push through and think of the goals your trying to achieve. After all, who said learning would be comfortable?