We are first students in school before we are humans in this world. Secularization, while it would ideally encompass and teach all perspectives and worldviews, ends up eliminating diverse teachings altogether. My high school had notoriously cut courses that involved world religion studies as well as many other courses, like philosophy, that did not line up with the common track for students pursuing university entry, a.k.a. the Advanced Placement (AP) track. At the expense of
- prioritizing college admissions rather than genuinely learning for learning’s sake
- primarily treating school attendants as students rather than human beings
- and fueling the system instead of styling educational tracks to the personal and, at times, progressive ambitions of the individual
are the absence of certainty in who we are and what our place is in relation to the world.
Boxed in, we first learn much-diluted material about a world we have not yet observed, explored nor truly lived in yet. When you finish your education, only then are you thrown into the ecosystem with no previous context.
Is it not in reverse? Is it not more intuitive to be of this world and learn from it, complemented by an education that helps us gain the power of perspective?
I do not suggest eliminating education nor pushing back the timespan of its public implementation (the school system) for later in life. I propose changing its later-staged composition.
From a young age, we are taught how to read, write and perform basic math. However, at some point, the system shifts its focus to that of an urgency for memorization of material that is content-based. This same period is not as attentive to gaining strength in the aforementioned fundamentals we learn in the first years of schooling. Here, in the later stages of public education, is where we should be presented with the diversity of thoughts, beliefs, values, and ideas that inhabit the world.
My concern stems in my genuine belief that this lack of exposure to the real world makes people vulnerable to issues that can unfold to anxiety amongst other things.
At least from my experience, anxiety has manifested from feeling overwhelmed by what the real world is all about. As a kid, I put my head down and got to work, thinking academics was the holy grail to success in life. This may be a common theme for those of us that come from immigrant families. Regardless, I wake up years later rather confused, at times frustrated, almost always questioning why I was handcuffed to the studies that demanded of me only to memorize information that would be out of my mind within seconds after my last exam. Results driven, aiming for straight A’s, with no context or real reason as to why. Or at the very least, a weak reason was given that it was the only way out.
Like with most things, there is always room for improvement. Education, being as fundamental and substantial as it is, should be on the top of our priorities to advance.
I urge you to promote and to instill diversity and awareness in yourself and those around you, from family to friends to the social media strangers you never meet. It can make all the difference.
Originally published at https://www.robertocventura.com on May 2, 2019.