We all shine differently!

The madness of uniformity in education & competing to advance.

Floris Koot
Dec 31, 2017 · 4 min read
“Don’t upset me with questions that question the mad system I’m part of.”

“First we must all learn to meet exactly the same expectations and then compete? wtf? What’s the gain in that for anyone?” ~student on education paradox

Teacher and student discussion

So teacher, I understand we all need to learn the same language so we can understand each other. But why do you all treat and train us the same, as if we are all the same. Haven’t you noticed we’re all gifted differently?

Good question, student. Because school prepares you best you can for the world out there. Because you’ll need to compete to get the best jobs.

What is the use that; of giving us all, more or less, the same education? Why should we even compete? Then only the best in that style will advance, and everyone gifted differently will feel underdeveloped. They may even feel losers and give up. But if we’d all develop differently, each according to our personal gifts and desires, we wouldn’t even have to compete, like you say. We actually could add to each other’s gift and start building something beyond the limitations set by the uniform standards of traditional education.

Well because, eh, the government says so..?

Sir, when each of us goes to the doctor with each our own special disease, we’d never all get the same medicine. We’d call that doctor mad. Same here. Some in this class have art flu, others math boils, other cough up all history you give them, and me, I’m allergic to chemistry. I desire more art and social sciences. And your treatment says, wait until you’re old enough, do all the same stuff, and then compete with this same same knowledge, most of which I never liked, to get into an institution that finally may develop my true gifts. An institution by the way, that once again offers an uniform approach within that given subject, once again blind to our differences. Only towards the end, when we’ve become so much more of all the same, I’m allowed to propose my own final thesis. Will I remember my unique gifts and motivations then, while I’ve never learned to live them?

Dear student, you may have point, but this is how it works. I would get fired if I’d treat you in a way that would best fit your unique style. In fact you’re argumentation skills are bothersome far advanced, so I’ll have to repress them for a while, as if they were aggressive in nature and harmful for the order of this class. After class I might sneak in some personal attention, that fits you, but only after I finished my administration to satisfy management.

Here’s a real student saying it in a different equally clear way.

Help people to shine their gifts.

The uniform approach to education, combined with the pressure to compete to stand out in how much better you are at being the same, is madness. So much talent wasted. Same with lowering education. Or even lack of help for homeless people. When you ask them to compete according to rigid norms of being the same they’ll fail. I you each help them with their own gift, from warmly packaging articles, to becoming a painter to discovering a science genius all enriches society as a whole. To repress differences, even at an early age, to not help any talent to shine, by the government could be regarded as theft of society as a whole. It diminishes people. It impoverishes the amount of new ideas and possible solutions. It goes straight against what every doctor will do, find the cure that best fits each patients unique situation.

It’s time we consider this, when developing education for a world urgently in need of people helping make an difference.

We don’t need same same students competing for jobs that continues culture and lifestyles that are harming the planet. We need them to shine with their own contributions solving those.

And just to press the point, I once with a friend invented a sport, Switchball, you can’t win through competing at the cost of the others. Do people run less, stop playing, putting an effort? Hell no! So the myth that competition is our main driver is a lie. In fact it only works for a small minority, those who race to the top at the cost of others and the world. Here’s the sport to unlearn that. :)

Help each shine in their own best way.

The Gentle Revolution

Floris Koot

Written by

Play Engineer. Social Inventor. Gentle Revolutionary. I always seek new possibilities and increase of love, wisdom and play in the world.

The Gentle Revolution

Towards a revolution we all want to dance in, for a flourishing planet.

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