Remember the story of the Emperor’s new clothes? It’s about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that are so fine that they are invisible, and anyone who doesn’t see them is a fool. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”
It resonates with me, just because someone thinks that something should be done in a certain way does not mean that it is right. Sometimes it needs someone to say ‘hey, this is wrong – why can’t you see this too”.
I happen to think that the one size fits all solution to education whereby we herd kids into classrooms and tell them stuff, which we then set homework on, and then test them on is wrong. My belief is that kids should learn how to create things and become independent thinkers – teachers as coaches. Might cost more, but hey what a fantastic next generation this would be.
Seth Godwin expands on this theme in his TED talk entitled ‘Stop Stealing Dreams’.
What I loved about Seth was his insistence that education should be not be an exercise in mass production – it should be focused around the learner. He eloquently makes the point that there is no point in learning facts, when you can just look them up on the internet, and that learning should be about ‘connecting dots not collecting them’.
Instead of measuring test scores we should be measuring experiences, according to Seth. He also says that learning should be about collaboration – working with your peers, not isolation – where you are in competition with them. I totally agree.
The problem is that our school system is not set up this way. In fact, much of the educational change coming out of the UK Government is about getting back to basics – more structure and more tests.
I think that this video is great, and I would recommend that you spent 17 minutes to watch it.
Do you agree with Seth that education is being delivered in the wrong way? I would love to hear what you think.