Reimagining the Classroom to Reflect the Point of Education
What would that look like?
Having been flattened by Covid last week, I had a lot of time to sit, read, watch the news, and think. One of the books which I read was No-Problem Parenting by Jaci Finneman. Compiling insights from a collection of experiences voices and backgrounds, the one that stood out the most for me was that of Stephen R. Covey, “Begin with the end in mind.”
It’s a philosophy I’ve lived by when raising my children, accomplishing a goal or achieving a dream. I don’t know how you can actually succeed any other way. Without the vision fully formed in your head of what you want to “see at the end” of all your hard work, how could you ever expect to get there? I’m sure Finneman visualized this book in print and on-sale before she even wrote the first paragraph.
Using this same thinking and applying it to our children’s education, if you take a look at how the system is set up, Iask you…Are today’s classrooms designed to reward “putting in” or “bringing out” in your opinion? In other words, as it stands today, does our U.S. education system (public and private) groom students to follow directions or forge their own directions? Let me help you…it’s the former. If it was the latter, you would see very different classrooms being had, where imagination and questioning were celebrated (not be considered interruptions), grades would be eliminated, and everything that was “put in” would have the sole purpose of supporting the primary purpse of “bringing out” not the other way around.
In my opinion, there is no good reason why kids have to hate school lest the spin our nation continues to put on it, which includes overlooking school’s true reason for being — to encourage the unique individual inside each of us to reveal him or herself and in that, his or her special gifts he or she has been designed to bring into this world. And children innately know this and want this too. For lack of it, however, kids either disdainfully aquiesce to demands, buck-up against the system entirely or use it as a means to an end in some other way usually not so great in nature. And then we turn them loose and wonder why so many are lost in themselves and the world around them suddenly. None of it was sudden, I assure you.
What a shame when there is so much promise sitting at our disposal given we wanted to tap into it when at it’s peak as opposed to lie dormant for the duration of twelve-plus years. Could you envision the kind of classroom that could harness the energy and ideas just waiting to bust loose with the proper motivation, inspiration and support? How excited would these kids be to go to school everyday and share who they are and what they are thinking and planning?
As the political races are ripe with cries for change underscored by many perspectives and renderings for a better way, the best way of all would be to begin to recognize that the failure of our system isn’t in the carry-thru or lack of resources, but rather its current “intentions.” We are failing our kids “not because they don’t have enough.” Quite the opposite, in fact. We are failing them because we aren’t using “school” well enough.
Until we change this, we will continue to obtain in the end what we chose to work back from at the beginning…uninspired, stressed-out, disillusioned, lost minds…filled with everything and nothing at all. And in no way contributing what they could have to our society and world given we gave them a fighting chance from the get-go. Our working backward isn’t moving us effectively forward by any means. So why are we doing it?