I write this entry, having in mind the importance of the problem. Many people in all epochs and times were sure in the power of education in world. It can change entire civilizations and peoples mind. If there were more schools in some people in Africa wouldn’t be this level of poverty and economical instability, there would be more free people and open-minded souls, who would grow up with the principles of peace, love and tolerance between all. Above all things, that need changes and reforms in one society is education system. We should realize that and take all measures so our children to have proper education, relevant to the age they live in.
First of all we have to ask the basic question, do we have proper, working and effective education system now? And this question I relate to the so called “developed” countries and societies. I ll answer this question now, by developing my statements, and giving proves. For me the short answer is sure “no”. No matter how much we are ahead in many fields, how advanced technology we possess, how much humanity increases its resources (on the account of nature demolishment), we don’t have until know understanding of what real education system is. The things we need in our education system, in order to grow open-minded, loving, good individuals, are very different from the real situation now. I can say, no matter of the progress of all “humanity” , we still fall inside a pit of one clumsy, not effective, old dated education paradigm, specially in the schools, but also in high-schools, universities, institutions. What are the main characteristics of this system?
- closeness, not developing, does not change, doesn’t improve the individual thinking, doesn’t unfold individual imagination, falls in stagnation, doesn’t support differences and new approach, or ideas, follows old educational methodology, doesn’t use the new resources of nature/ and technology. (..and many more)
What should a completely new system include?
Characteristics of a new educational system need: new paradigm and totally new educational approach, new ways of creative thinking, changing, flexible, open from inside, using visual memory, supporting imagination and different thinking, using spaces of nature. This new system needs to put a stress not on “what” and “quality”, but on “how” and “quality”. In our progressive” society, we tend (until now) to think too much exactly about quality, the more the better in all aspects of life –from personal possessions, relationships, carrier, food. In this way, we lost sense of what is true and real, what has good characteristics and “quality”. So we apply well our failed rules on the future generations, and our own children, thinking we even make a big good for them. Finally they take the same virus, and spread it again and again. Endless cycle. In order to change and brake from this cycle, we need to think of, develop and apply completely new system. This system should take care of the changing time, individual psychology and basic mind effectiveness.
How to make that? Here I` ll expose some very concrete examples and situations for the old (existing system) and the one of the future. How and what are the basic questions I want to answer.
1. First thing that comes to mind to children, when they listen the word “school” is “boredom”, and a “heavy obligation”, “lessons” “Exams”, “bad teachers” “marks”. The child since little accepts and understands the school as a penalty institution! Have in mind that, the child can not feel or appreciate the importance of given knowledge, but he simply feels the effects of “not having high or proper marks” in some subject. So he says to himself some of these thoughts “I want my father to be satisfied with me, so I should have good marks” (this is a motivation for him), or “ I want to be the best in class, so I should have good marks” , or “I love my teacher in literature, so I want to impress her by good marks”. (and so on) All what we observe here, is not related to individual motivation, nor personal growth of the children. So some people may say, what? Personal growth in a little child (little supposed any age from 7 to 20) Is that possible? Even for people after 40 is mirage these words! Yes, sadly is so, exactly because of the failed foundation of education, plus more factors. We tend to think (and very wrongly), that a child, between 7 and 20 or above is helpless. That we only know the best for him/ her, and that he can not be responsible for himself. From here comes the great misunderstanding of the education paradigm. A child is a growing individual, who can develop sense of responsibility, motivation, receive knowledge and feel satisfied from it, (as much as everyone else in any age). The child knows and has inner feeling for what is right and wrong. Even more than you, as his mind is more clean and not polluted from social norms.
By creating ineffective, clumsy, old system of education, we cant expect children to be found of school, nor of studying lessons. They do develop opposite indeed – dislike education , school and lessons ,and feel they are burden. To continue with my point : first thing we need is to make the system “not boring”, or at least “less boring” for the little mind. (I`ll point out the possible ways how we can make that happen).
Second is to give to the child (growing individual) space to be himself, without to interfere in it. To discover, feel, observe the world and its diversity. Do not close the child in your mind fictions and social paradigm, as he wont understand them! He will take them naturally (and with the strong hammer of society) after he grows little more.
Third is to remove the “mark” system and substitute it with another kind.
The first question –how to make the education not boring” , interesting, flexible and attractive to the children, has multiple answers.
(a) change the time of school hours
(b) change the teaching way
(c) make flexible program/ schedule
(d) concentrate on some subjects for the day
(e) remove obligatory homework and change its style
(f) remove the existing grades/ marks at least for school until 12 class
(g) make more out-of class education experiment (nature, museum)
(h) give the children freedom to express about their ideas.
These are some of the main things, we need to change. To unwind the issue (a) The time of school hours is really critical. A child (the same as bored office clerk at work) waits impatiently to finish the hour and what he wants is? Not to understand material now, not to feel happy, but to hide from teacher, to not be examined, and to go to next subject, lesson, then to go home and leave all this behind. So how do you expect this system will develop nice and satisfied and effective people in the future? The school lesson time now is 40 -45 min. This time wouldn’t be so long for individual, who puts all his efforts and motivation in some subject. But for the case of school children, specially now is too much. Cut this time to 20-25 min. (of course here most teachers would object that this is very little and impossible to teach even new lesson, but if you have the right methods, and the right manner , plus discipline, it`s immensely more effective). In this time (so short as you may think) try to make the brain of children awaken, unfold his imagination, creativity, memory and understanding. How you can make this magic? Here comes the
(b) solution – change the teaching way.
What do you see, and imagine when someone say to you “school-girl, school boy” ? I see, and imagine little child, with a very big and heavy bad on his shoulders, which is 3 times the size of the child, who is hardly moving on the way, accompanied by a mother, aunt, grandmother…Why this child should carry “stones” in his school bag? So many subjects he study just for one day? Then.. he should be at least genius! In the future, why we don’t finally grow up many genius like this? But he is not, nor he will become. Exactly because of the principle “quantity versus quality”. So by having 101 books don’t expect the child to have knowledge for 101 things. He is empty shell, filled by force with information, which he doesn’t have place to store! And throw it away. Then what we should do? Now come inside the class and look. What do you see? The teacher is sitting, with an open book, say to the child “read the first sentence on page 3, make the first task on that page…come to the bored ,write solution”. Going inside this book, teacher gives orders, like from another world. He has not real connection with the child, don’t support his growing process, he support only education system, and what should be done. This lesson should be finished, this pages …and so on. Teacher is a “master” even not nice one. He is not guru, even not “sacred” anymore as it used to be. He is a bad master with gun, with a lash, giving orders, expecting obedience, and punishing. So what he should do? First of all, teacher needs to be close to children, to feel he is part of them, then he can be seen as higher, because of his experience and age. Teacher needs to be most respected, and to deserve this reward. He is master, magician, but kind and loving. He is not punishing, but he is showing the way. So make him to be with a screen, rather than a book, and take children to a visual travel of the subject (if it`s geography, biology, chemistry) give children visual experiences, because this is the true and most memorizing way to their brain.
I ll give an example. If the teacher is in literature, don’t explain the long and boring sometimes biography of the writer, count his novels (which no one remember with dates altogether), instead project a short movie with very basic things about the writer – showing the place he was born, the memorial of the place, his home (museum), his family photo, photo of him, what were his likes and preferences, and slowly develop the story in history of his life, then of his work. (people are not separated from their achievements of works, so don’t make them to be) By making this visual trip, you`ll awaken interest in childs mind, and even if you don’t (as all children are different individuals) at least surely he ll have this movie about the writer in his mind, his monument, or some little detail, so this he will have stable in his mind. * for biology and geography subject also you could make miracles just by showing one simple movie and how is one animal looks like, or how bird migration looks like.
Of course the child wont remember all from first time. Don’t expect that, so here comes the ( c ) and (d) make flexible program, and concentrate on some subjects for the day. You cant think that childs mind will be well and developing, if you put in one program 5-6 subjects. Dear reader, I want you now to go and read one magazine in geography for 40 min. then please go and listen one only program in Tv for 40 min, then go and read one high classic book “Victor Hugo” for 40 min, then read one blog about biological diversity of pelicans for 40 min, and after all please write a review of what you remember. If you remember 50% then will be good, maybe your brain is well developed and trained. So now imagine a little child, who should remember all that 5 subject for a day! What do you feel?
The approach should be clear –shorten and change. When you show the writers background and home and photos on a movie, this is just one lesson. Next lesson continue with some reading passage from his work (don’t say what others wrote about him like critiques), and ask the student what are his own thoughts about that, what he imagine, how he can relate this passage to the movie before (u`ll be surprised how well children can think). Then take the next or same lesson (and one subject) and make little quiz exercise on what child remember, feel and think about this writer, allowing him to be expressive, no matter of likes or dislikes, while not tolerate of course bad and offensive vocabulary. This short quiz may include game element, making a score and reaching to high result, and little reward for the winner (if its about less than 10 year child). This will make the atmosphere more vivid, interesting and nice for children. So after this 3 lessons (by 20 min each) we have total time of 1 hour (in which children will know more and feel better ,compared to now 40 min lesson empty of all). Then have 3 more lessons (by 20 min) in another subject (also made them to be well fitting together, if you had literature , have a linguistic, a language or cultural studies)
For example you can have day 1 (literature 3 hours (20 min) + cultural studies 3 hours (20 min) with all brakes by 5 min will be 150 min, which is 2 h 30 min. This is the usual time for a lessons. But in the new program we can include a morning routine sport class – by dividing groups of children in many different activities, with music ,which will be 20 + 20 min each day. Some children can like to attend ballet class, some gymnastics, some aerobic, dance, some yoga, swimming, aikido, and so on. This morning routine will make fresh start of the day and will make the mind of child more positive about next brain-lessons. Be sure, your school will become attractive place. If we calculate the time now the total time of study will be 3 hours and 10 min. what do you think? Will child be bored and tired to go to school?
I want to add more – not only the education system is old and out of function, but some subjects should be changed immensely, and others to be added. Sport and recreation activities should be added as well as : basic philosophy, ancient civilizations study, history of religion study (all religions), ethics and psychology.
So for people ,who are interested in exact science, or for people with humanitarian attitude, we cant force them to study all kind of subjects, they don’t feel found of until 12 class. That is really waste of time and energy. Instead make obligatory subjects until the first 3 years of school education. Then separate groups with similar interests, as some groups by the time can be changed, as individual interests may change too. So be flexible. I want to speak also from my own experience in education and my memories. (I`ll include this section here ,as I think all experiences are important to show us the weak points of a system).
II. When I was little, there was in my school obligatory sport which we called “physical culture”. This was one of the most hated lessons from girls specially, because it was applied in more or less brutal way. The teacher in this discipline was very overbearing, looked to students as they are slaves or soldiers, She wore a dark-blue sport suit and had always one crazy whistle hanged on her neck. So she was whistling all the time for any reason and made stress in the students. She never laughed, nor smiled at all. She put students in front on size –from taller to smaller, all were obliged to have special clothes –white t shirt and blue pants (which really for girls looked more like bikini than pants and was very embarrassing for me in this time), we should have blue sport shoes, and white short shocks. So all this requirements, didn’t make me to love to “play sport”. What we did? Just exercises if weather was not so good, and on some strange devices…or we just made competition and ran outside (which also I disliked much). I want to determined, that if I would have in this time chance to choose, to study for example some kind of dance, ballet, or swimming, I would be 100 times happier. But there was no chance and we always had to face the bitter face with much make up of the teacher. So that’s it. (imagine we even had marks in this!)
Second thing I disliked was mathematics. My brain is simply not going in mathematics and formulas ,they seem pointless to me. So I would be much more effective in my later (education, study, and life too) if I had instead math until 12 class, and countless lessons, which I dislike, some more classes in language and literature, or history, which I love.
This is the point. The change is never painless, but it`s something we cant avoid, specially concerning future generations, which we succeed to make in our way and black color.
About the school schedule, I think despite this 20 + 20 min port, dance, activity in the morning, should be also 20 min meditation included. So now it becomes 1 hour before other subjects. Other subjects will be much better accepted ,if the brain is calm and quiet before that. Some subjects we need to add are “principles of healthy eating and food” (this we strangely ignore well ,despite the fact the generations suffer more and more from weight related illnesses and obesity, due to lack of information about foods), “basic medical health” which will inform you about what medicines are rather not god for your body, and what natural remedies can substitute them in case of illness, “social relations” which will give you perspective of social psychology, as well as how to achieve what you want with simple steps, how to follow your personal call, how to be successful, and build a positive thinking in you, how to communicate well with others. “Culture and festivals around the world” will make you familiar with other customs, traditions and interesting facts, and open your mind.
When the school day starts at 8 am, with sport, dance recreations, and meditation class, until 9 am. Then subject class will be from (9.10 – 9.30), 1. from 9.35 – 9.55; 3. 10.00 – 10.20 (subject 1)
2. from 10.30 – 10.50, 10.55 – 11.15; 11.20 – 11.40 (subject 2)
3. from 11.45 – 12.05 (one of additional subjects (healthy eating” medical health”, “festivals …” so the school day is completed.
The principles of the new educational system are: simplicity, synthesis, individual approach, focus on visual memory. Repeating is important for each lesson, but should be in natural way, slowly and unfolding every day. Don’t let children to be like parrots and repeat information in crazy way memorizing from one day to another. This is meaningless. Give homework “games or quizzes” only to children who are interested and have willing to make them, and give them also about that more prizes (or points). Don’t make system to be based on punishment for something not done, but rather on progressive competition for something well done from them! Also based on personal development and motivation. Make grades in form of points and bonuses, which are added ,but don’t exclude students, if they don’t have enough points, but encourage them to be more active. Notice what is child attitude ,likes and personal tastes, and make emphasize on that.
III. Synthesis and minimization of all learning materials (student books) to the very basic level. Imagine we are all children and need to see pictures in books. So should be the education system. Make it colorful, attractive, full of images, expressive, nice, smiling. Make the education to be not painful process more and be directed to practical activities and preparation for future life experiences, not empty shell of “ thrown in garbage papers” and materials. Make the brain developed its ways, not put stamp from the social status, norms and teachings above it from young age. In this path we should go.