“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate in the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise to the occasion. Our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”
These are the words of Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Although more than a century has past, these words ring true more than ever before. In this age of information and technological advancement, we are witnessing a mass movement of globalization. As we integrate into a global society, the world acts more as a singular unit rather than a collection of separate parts. However, despite the massive changes happening worldwide, our education system has encountered little innovation and remains shockingly stagnant. Despite this unfortunate reality, schooling continues to significantly shape our lives. Most children spend a majority of their waking hours in the school system. Outside of the home, schools are the most prevalent form of socialization acting as “social gatekeepers.” Thus, we must consciously shape our education system to train our youth to live and thrive in this changing society.
“It has been the environments, not the human beings that have run up against limitations.” –George Leonard
We are essentially using the same school model put in place more than 200 years ago and it is not the human mind that is failing but the school system. We must create a new paradigm in education and create a new way of thinking. When engaging in the education debate, we tend to blame the students and the parents for failing in these institutions. Many accuse today’s youth of simply having no respect. However, it is rare that we consider the current education system has no respect for the minds of the students it “teaches.” Educators cannot afford for students to think critically when they must teach to a test. Instead, time is wasted with mind-numbing activities such as worksheets and scantrons. As a result, many children grow up and leave school thinking learning is not for them when in fact, they were never truly learning in the first place! The most important change that can be made in our education system is a respect for the mind. If students do not feel respected, they will rebel, and they will not learn.
“To be practical, an education should prepare a (wo)man for work that doesn’t yet exist, and whose nature cannot even be imagined.” –Charles Silberman
The investment our country makes today will be indicative of our true values and desires. Since school is one of the primary socializers of our country’s children, the healing must begin within this institution. Our youth must be educated in a way that values their interests and promotes self worth. For one moment, let us dare to imagine a school as a place of discovery that celebrates the human mind and spirit. We must be daring; we must imagine. Let us dare to consider education reform in a way that has never been conceived. Let us dare our youth to reclaim their power. When we dare, curiosity will be sparked, and purpose will be realized. When we dare, schools will become places of healing.
Changing Education Paradigms Video