Bring on the learning revolution

Bring on the learning revolution

How many people do you know that are truly passionate about what they do?

Probably not many.

I know I hadn’t met anyone truly passionate about their work until I was an adult, and when I did I remember being completely blown away by the very concept of being passionate about your work.

So what’s wrong?  What accounts for the prevalence of dispassionate, disconnected people in the workforce?

An irrelevant mechanical approach to education

The answer lies in an education system that was designed for the industrial revolution, an educational system that is designed for a manufacturing or factory workplace, and teaches based on linearity , conformity and batching people.

Our current system teaches millions of people to follow orders and get a job; not unlike the fast food industry which produces trillions of calories that fill our stomachs but weakens our bodies.

And in the same way that fast food damages our long-term health, our educational system is now damaging our long-term prospects for economic prosperity and social cohesion by producing individuals that don’t know how to create, invent and develop their unique talents.

What’s needed is ..

an organic customized approach to education

What’s needed according to Sir Ken Robinson (video below) is an educational system based on the principles of agriculture, one that is based on customizing the conditions for crops to grow based on the local conditions and the crop being grown.

He uses the metaphor of agriculture and farming because we cannot control the outcome of a child’s development anymore than we can for crops.  Like the farmer all we can do is create the conditions under which they will flourish; and those conditions will vary on location and the crop being grown.

So what’s required is a capacity to customize and personalize education to the particular needs of the local societal conditions and the particular student being educated.

How do we go about providing a customized approach?

There is no easy answer to this question given that we have precious few people capable of creating effective customized approaches, and that those with vested interests in our current infrastructure are unlikely to willingly participate in its demise.

A start will be to gain acknowledgment that our current system is an unfolding train wreck that is at best leaving untapped vast amounts of human potential, and at worst producing citizens who are susceptible to irrelevant, extremist and destructive ideas.

Only by acknowledging the problem can we begin learning from pioneering efforts like the Studio School in the UK, and can try new approaches where they are most desperately needed.

Let’s hope that indeed we don’t need a revolution to undertake a transformation of our outdated concept of education.

Please listen to Sir Ken Robinson expound on these points and more in the seventeen minute talk on this subject.  He entertains as he enlightens.  I promise.

Any thoughts? Contributions/acknowledgments welcome.