Education is the opportunity to learn and utilize that knowledge for shaping the future in a secure way and to bring positive and necessary changes in the society. The approaches and techniques of teaching in education have evolved through the years. Over the years, the way teachers impart knowledge to the students has been changing significantly. Now the teachers are a lot more lenient on students than they were some 40 years ago. With the passage of time the education system has changed drastically with the advancement of the society and every individual. Proper education helps a person in polishing his skills, potentials and abilities. These tools are used for attaining bigger things in life in the fields of exploration, advancement and innovation. Formal education should raise healthy and happy children so that they can become contributing members of the society. It is not just about the development of academic accomplishments. The educational expedition from pre-school through college is that time for the young people when they can develop many interrelated potentialities. Education should facilitate overall development of an individual to become a better human being of the society and to contribute to its upliftment.
But with the technological advancement, even though education system is taking an innovative approach, it is creating a lot of pressure on the students. The education system is maximizing the student’s academic aptitude, blatantly ignoring their personal development, well being and health. The institutions give more emphasis on academic students, treating them as budding products. The non-academic students are looked down at and treated as residuals.
Education policy in USA and England is emphasizing more on academic subjects. They hardly focus on pointing out social, personal and health education. This is mainly because of two reasons –
• If more time is spent on wellbeing and personal development then it will result in less time for academic learning and therefore lower attainment.
• Improving attainment is the only crucial instrument for increasing economic competitiveness.
How is today’s education system adversely affecting a student’s health?
Have you ever thought why parents send their children to school? They send their wards to school out of a belief that formal education will help their kids to become more productive and mature adults. Parents have a conventional wisdom that issues in school can be resolved by paying more money, by highly qualified teachers, by more challenging prospectus and by more rigorous tests. But have you ever thought if the real problem lies in the education system and the school itself?
Today’s education system is focusing on creating a generation of test-takers and resume-builders, instead of creating a generation of problem-solvers and life-long learners. School itself has become a place for students where their freedom is greatly restricted. In fact, parents are compelling their kids to spend more time in this kind of a setting. The schools and the parents fail to realize that this setting is psychologically damaging the students.
Researches reveal that children have the natural ability to learn and they do so with utmost enthusiasm in conditions which are exactly opposite to those of school. The current education system fails to motivate kids. They don’t understand the purpose of going to school except for following obligations. The current unpredictability of economic circumstances raises an even bigger question.
Today’s education system is nothing short of extreme stress. The kids are compelled to forget distractions such as games, television and iphone, which often act as great stress busters. Instead, they are forced to focus on boring mundane stuff at school. As a result of this pressure, students start losing interest and lose their attention gradually. The teachers ask the students to memorize the theory given in class, without explaining the relevance of that context in reality.
Quantitative standardized testing makes the situation even more critical. Students are obliged to study and pass the tests. Education is imagined as a model based on industrialization, schools are the factories and the students are merely manufactured products. The only victims of this mentality are the arts. The arts refer to the idea of aesthetic experience, one which is experienced keeping all your senses fully operational. But anaesthetic experience is one that shuts all your senses and mutes you from what is happening. The current generation is being educated by anaesthetizing them. What are its implications? Kids give answer to only what they are asked by their teachers. They don’t use their own perspective; they lose their skill of critical analysis.
What is the conventional model of a school?
Schools are not a product of research, but of history. The first outline was developed during the Protestant Reformation for the purpose making the kids read Bible and value it, to firmly believe in the Scripture with unquestionable integrity and to blindly obey authoritative figures. The methods of teaching remained unaffected even when the schools were made compulsory and channelized towards secular ends.
Due to the unaltered basic blueprint, all endeavors at reform have failed. The traditional method of teach-and-test, where learning is only motivated by a set of regulations and punishment, is merely obedience training. No wonder why the greatest innovators of the world like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison couldn’t fit themselves in this conventional setting.
By the time students reach high school or middle school they appear to lack any zest. According to a research study, students feel the unhappiest when they are in school, where they are completely bored. Students tend to develop a negative attitude towards the subjects with each successive grade.
The society prefers to shrug off such findings. Some people tend to believe that the unpleasantness of school will help the children to become tolerant as preparation for the real world.
What should the new model of school be like?
A new model of school cannot be designed in a day. It requires the collaboration of government, teachers, students and schools. Schools have to emerge as places where students can come with self-directed knowledge, passion and interest about what they want to learn and do with it. Students will only learn something when they find a meaningful reason for it. The curriculum and quantitative-standardized test will have to give way to contradictory thinking. It is only through contradictory thinking that the creativity in students will make its way and flourish. Creativity will lead to the ability to arrive at possible answers to questions, to interpret them and to think out-of-the-cube.
Students should not be taught how to answer a question in the exam but how a problem faced in the real world can be associated and answered by a theory they learned in class. The education system should not compel them to forget their favorite games or television series. Sometimes they may come up with questions that are unanswerable; teachers should encourage them for their critical thinking.
Reformation can be brought only with the collaboration of teachers. Teachers should make the students come to school voluntarily and not out of compulsion. The classrooms should have enough space for imagination and discovery. Education is not knowledge transfer that will create students as photocopy of their teachers. A better education system can only be effective when better human resources deliver it. As Malcolm Forbes had said that the main purpose of education is to liberate the soul, to reinstate an empty mind with an expansive one.
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