I keep thinking about questions I used ask my parents when I was a child. The questions like:
Why should I go to school?
Why should I study?
Why should I go to college?
The typical answers that I get are :
To get a good job.
To settle down in Life.
To earn money.
I took these answers and moved on. I didn't really question and argue much on these answers.
But now I am a father and these questions have come back in my conscious. What will I answer when my son ask me the same questions? Will I bark on the same answers handed down by generations or should I take re look at the questions and find the actual answers?
So, Why should I send my son to school?
I don't think it is to get admission in a better college and in turn get a better job and eventually earn good money. In the ideal situation it should be to learn, experience and gain knowledge.
It should be to expose my son to various situations so that he experience and learn from the. It should be expose him to various new aspects and concepts of life and world (like animals, birds, trees, geometry, physics , so that he can absorb them in him and use them as and when required.
With this the next question rises.
Are children learning at school or are they being stuffed?
In current scenario the schools are under pressure and competition to show results and the results are measured in the percentage of students who pass the exams. So now the focus of the teachers is to make the children pass the exams and they do every thing they can to achieve. In this era of competition and expectations from parents the schools (and even parents) have misunderstood the meaning of education.
We think that more our children remember the words and information in their textbooks the more knowledgeable they are. The race is now to make sure our kids remember all the stuff that is out in the textbooks. If a child can reproduce what ever is mentioned in the text books or other books more accurately he/she is considered to be more knowledgeable. The more accurately he reproduces the nearer he gets to being labelled a genius.
So now every kid tries his/her level best to reproduce the books that they read or are told to read.
So, does textbooks determine what our children become?
We all know what we think is what we become.
If our children keep reading and reproducing the books, what they will eventually become are copying machines. The ones who are good at it are heroes of the school and ones who are not, well they are ignored.
Now these copying machines are our future. They determine the path that humanity will take and the future humans will follow.
I am really scared and then how come we have survived this culture so far. How come the situation has not become miserable so far. I believe it is because a lot of great people have chosen not to go to schools. If we just look closely most of the people who have changed history (for good or bad) are the ones who have escaped the photo copying culture of our schools and colleges. They have been dropouts or just uneducated.
These brave-hearts have done great amount of work for the betterment of humanity in-spite of our schools.
So shall we drop our children from schools?
That would not be practical thing to do. I think we should let our children learn, experience and gain knowledge in-spite of their schools. I think we should not give too much importance to some aspects of the education system like exams, results, rankings and let our children enjoy education in a stress free environment.
We should expose our children to more real life experiences than simulated ones.Let them face the world as it is and learn from it, rather than theorizing about it in their minds. It's better if we just let them deal with various real life situations the way they want to deal with them. Let them formulate their one methods and ways of handling different situations.
I think the only thing we should do is to stop teaching and let our children learn.
Please read other children related articles at How To Make Children Listen and Children and Competition