13th August 2015
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
What skills, qualities and information do we need to live an honourable, healthy and happy life? And of those skills and qualities, which are provided and nurtured through the school system? The answer is almost none of them.
It’s clear that we need to redesign our education model.
It is up to the parents, mentors, peers and other societal influences to fill these gaps, but we all know this doesn’t regularly occur. If the guides and teachers in a child’s life don’t have the knowledge and skills to properly inform and take care of themselves, then how can they be expected to share it with others? They literally can’t. To break this cycle, we need an effective safety net to provide the skills and information that our children need to develop into awakened, functional and well-rounded adults, not just well-behaved employees of “The System”.
The education system in western society is not geared towards providing what’s best for each child. Primarily it is designed to produce citizens who contribute to, and consume from, the interdependent global economy. It’s like a factory assembly line; it helps us find which mundane 9-5 job we are best “suited” to, as we grow into stressed out and discontented adults.
It is in this sense that we are indoctrinated through our schooling to uncritically accept the socio-economic system that we are born into, regardless if it means ill-health and discontentment for the individual, and even our society as a whole. The model is simply attempting to shape new generations of children into conforming to the old ways, without recognizing the uniqueness of each child — or that we are undertaking a huge paradigm shift into a new era of human consciousness.
However, it’s not just the systemic box that we’re squashing out children into; our kids are being lied to in many ways. There is also little focus on real education, such as equipping them with the creative, personal, emotional, social and other life skills to properly survive and thrive in today’s challenging society. For example, emotional and social skills are a “different way of being smart” and are extremely important for kids to learn at a young age, so why aren’t they a primary focus? It just doesn’t make sense. Instead, our kids are being medicated with antipsychotics at alarming rates, mostly because their behaviours don’t fit the mould we’re forcing them into. Adding to this problem, up to 40 percent of U.S. schools are now cutting back on recess — the time when children get to go outside and be children!
It all seems too crazy to be true, yet there are some regions and countries doing something about this mess. For example, meditation has been introduced into some schools, having a remarkable impact on the learning and social development of students. In addition, countries like Finland have taken an entirely different approach to educating their kids, proving that less is more.
Ultimately, there are positive changes happening and even though they might not yet be perfected, they’re still not being taken seriously by political and community change agents. Given that our society is evolving on so many levels, we need an education system to reflect those changes; particularly as technological automation is also expected to eliminate many manual jobs from the workforce in the near future.
The Way Forward? A New Six Dimension Model of Education
An interview with Will Stanton
Will is a young Australian writer, researcher, activist and teacher who has worked in a number of primary schools, including a government school in Kathmandu, Nepal. His book, Education Revolution, exposes the challenges and shortfalls of the current system from an insider perspective, and proposes an entirely new model of education; one that frees children from indoctrination and nurtures their innate potential as unique, loving and creative human beings.
In the following interview, Will explores the Six Dimension model he created for a new educational paradigm of our future. He believes teachers are the current system’s best asset, but are underpaid and overworked and are generally faced with a restrictive system that inhibits the highest potential being realised by each child, and each teacher. He also discusses the decreasing investment in education by our governments, as well as ways this funding barrier can be transcended — by moving to new ways of organising our society, economically, socially and politically.
Education is much, much more than conventional subjects and the occasional personal education class. Clearly there are valuable skills and information to be taken from the current system we educate our children in, so a proportion of it should be incorporated into the way we move forward. Yet we have to accept the reality; both culturally and politically, our education model is not only failing our kids’ health and wellbeing, it’s also perpetuating a system of social order that is lethal for our collective and planetary future. We cannot continue to train children in the “old ways”, which clearly are not working for our society or our environment.
Many parents are dissatisfied with the current system, which has translated into an increase in home schooling, and even unschooling practices. This is one way in which an individual family can break the grip of an out-of-date and unsophisticated education system and equip their kids with the kind of education they truly need.
Our children are our future; they need to be educated on the toxic realities of our society, to learn not to repeat or conform to the status quo, and to engage in creating the kind of conscious society they deserve. In addition, the philosophical and societal shifts that we are awakening to need to be deeply embedded into the educational structure, so that we can collectively begin to transcend the dysfunction of our world and create a bright future for both our global society and our natural environment.
Please note: This article is part of the ‘Redesigning Society’ interview series, which you can view in full on The Conscious Society YouTube Channel. This series presents a range of expert perspectives on the current state of societal affairs, as well as the collective changes we desperately need both philosophically and practically. Details of upcoming and past guests and topics can be viewed here.