Where Is The Revolution In Education?
By Bill Ferguson
In Ontario, where I live, we have seen the spelling revolution (toss all the spelling books out because they are irrelevant), the common sense revolution (where they ripped apart the very fabric of education) the computer/technology revolution, the child centred revolution, the themed revolution, the testing is right revolution, the taxpayers revolution and many more revolutions in education. We have all seen them. They were all meant to cure a problem that was perceived to put education at a disadvantage endangering the education of our students and children. The problem with them all is that they were all conceived by adults who did not look at learning through the eyes of children. They all have underestimated the capability of children to learn using the tool they have been given to do it with, the brain.
The brain is the oldest tool that humans have to use. It has been the most constant thing in every year humans have walked the earth. Given free reign it has developed some of the most miraculous things man has ever seen. Children have the same minds as adults. Yes they don’t have the knowledge in detail that experience brings but that doesn’t mean they can’t draw conclusions and see cause and effect and deliver results based on what their mind thinks. Yet adults have for centuries seen children as being inferior objects when it comes to the using of their brain. Adults have dominated and imposed their will on children forcing children to see themselves as being substandard people who will get it when they get older. This is where the revolution in education really is. Adults must change how they view children.
Without this change in the way adults view children education cannot change. Adults have to see children as equals in learning and encourage their development through asking questions and then discovering answers. This environment, phrased in positive words and sentiments, allows the children to grow in ways that an educational system and curriculum could not provide for them. The problem is that the adults have to change from a “me first” and value of objects way of looking at things to a children first, positive atmosphere, in a supportive environment. When a child is running in the house or playing and breaks an object, adults often focus on “Look what you have done!” meaning they value the object over their child. By putting the child first either the adult would not have bought the object or reinforce the fact that some activities should be taking place in other environments. We have so infused negativity into our language that we do not see the damage that is being done. Everything we do impacts a child’s growth.
In essence we need to build a positive culture that encourages students to become lifelong learners. It is the job of both parents and teachers to do this. This positive environment will reach children far more meaningfully than todays present system does. When we tap into the self-interests of children they have a greater desire to learn and become lifelong learners. They develop a desire to ask questions and pursue answers when they know they are supported and valued when doing this.
The Revolution in Education is in the hands of adults in how they look at and treat children. Are the adults up to the task?