Education - What do we want our educational efforts to achieve? No Doubt there would be as many answers as people we asked.
The IG has considered this question from time to time and has come to a major conclusion - and this is very different from the current general view.
The IG started at the end and worked backwards:-
What makes for a happy, fit, useful citizen throughout their lives?
The IG has defined this as a person whom:-
IG - Comment:
s lives are governed not by themselves - choosing a path that they desire - but by extraneous circumstances or near spur of the moment decisions.
The wider scope for education (including that given by parents and family) must be enabling – and this means providing the basic tools of life.
This will allow each individual, (child and adult), to consider for themselves a path that they wish to follow and not one foisted on them by society or by predicament.
The IG has considered how to achieve this and while there seems to be no exact or proscribed answer, what did emerge was a consensus that current education processes were no-where-near achieving these basics for our children in their quest to be 'fit for life'
Turning introspective the IG and RT considered their personal life skills & abilities - without exemption they considered their formal education as almost irrelevant, while general experience, input from their family and on-the-job experience was key.
Some of the IG & RT have degrees and educational qualifications - but even then, most considered these useful only as' career door-openers' and had never used the detailed information gained. The most useful aspect of further education was felt to be the social skills and ability to look after oneself & attain a certain self reliability.
So the IG, in its inimitable style, has thrown away the rule book & school curriculum and sets out a radical new methodology for early and middle education.
Up to the age of 16 years:-
After 16 years, the foundations have been laid and cemented in place, now we are dealing with competent rounded people who already have a good range of life skills. The further educational choices are determined by the each student, possibilities are similar in many cases to current systems:-
Tertiary education providers and employers of all kinds will gain huge benefit from young people who have good life skills.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of young people coming out of their formal school days with comprehensive life skills - it will transform Britain along with the lives of ALL our young people.
We shall look back from the future and scratch our heads and say - why on earth did it take so long to to see the value of 'Fit for Life'?
Historically all children have learnt by example. Survival to maturity of many higher animal species depend on them having this desire to learn. Our children today are no different. They also have a unique gift of creativity & openness that requires nurturing.
Current teaching methods stifle all of these natural traits and in doings so produce a very poor environment in which to learn.
This current teaching methodology has not been put in place by rational thought, but has simply followed on from the first first schools where pupils were highly subservient and drilled with knowledge.
Our current education aims far too low. As a society, we seem happy that the majority of our children reach a reasonable standard in formal subjects. But the reality is about achieving really useful life skills - and not just for the majority but for all of our children.
'Fit For Life' - A Modern Educational Process for the 21st Century
Why in the Twenty First Century do we accept an education process that does not achieve the basic aims of providing 'life skills' for all our children? Conspiracy or Stupidity
Considering that our societies future is pre-determined by the success (or not) of our education processes, it is amazing that we have continued with such outdated, moribund teaching processes.
Life today, and for the foreseeable future, is about dealing with increasing technological change, at a pace and scale never before seen. Our children's ability to harness these changes and the opportunities they present, is a minimum requirement. Rote learning is now almost pointless, technology provides us already with the ability to find the facts almost instantaneously. We must empower our children, many of whom will see-in the twenty second century.
We take the child of just four years and ‘school’ them for about 200 days every year. At four, every (normal) child is totally malleable, irrespective of their home environment. These early years are fundamentally formative and irreplaceable.
We don’t need sociologists or educational scientists to tell us what we all instinctively know – with the right ‘educational’ processes by the time these children reach eleven years of age all of them should be capable of immense understanding and have significant abilities to face the rest of their years on this earth. We as a society have already invested in an extensive education system, but it simply does not work anywhere near optimum.
Lets undertake a thought experiment. Imagine that you took care of three children for 200 days every year from four years until their eleventh birthday. And let assume that you had a good understanding of human development with an extensive choice of development tools and teaching aids to help you with this development task. (And an apposite temperament!) What is the likely outcome? The children would of course be highly developed – along the lines that you had chosen to take. If this direction had been enlightened, the children would be highly literate, numerate, creative, well adjusted and communicative and have a profound understanding of the world, its people and the choices that they have for their future. They would, in all likelihood be in the top few percent of children of their age anywhere in the world.So, given that we have already the main processes and commitment in place to accomplish exactly this, why are we failing – not just by a limited amount - but almost completely in many cases. Even in the best schools we achieve very much less than we could. Is this just a complete failure to understand the required development processes? Is it the just the lack of investment in the required teacher / pupil ratio (at least one teacher to six children in the earliest years)?
What factors could possibly prevent us from providing this life changing development for our children? It seems almost like a conspiracy. Perhaps instinctively ‘governments’ are frightened by the possibility of 99% of all children being able to think and understand the rubbish they are fed with? How would their ‘spin’ and unenlightened views be considered by this progressive, free-thinking and very capable generation? It would be excellent for democracy, but very bad for poor governance.
If it is not a conspiracy, then there is simply no choice but to invest in both the teacher / pupil ratio and the development tools and processes outlined in ‘skills for life’.
Lets consider the knock-on effects of a highly effective four to eleven years ‘skills for life’ education. This generation would enter the next phase of their education knowing its importance and be fundamentally better at communicating have higher cognitive abilities, much better literacy, numeracy and have the ability to concentrate. These formative years would lay the foundation for a ‘super’ generation. The rate of juvenile (and ongoing) crime would fall dramatically. The disruptive behaviour in upper schools would be significantly reduced, aiding education progress still further. The misuse of drugs would fall, under age pregnancies would fall dramatically. The savings, (welfare, health, police), due to these factors would be huge, and the abilities of these young people would create a ‘super’ workforce for developing world class businesses and institutions leading to higher exports and much improved service economy.
The cost of the investment in these educational processes must not be an excuse for not doing it. It must be the highest priority for our future prosperity and wellbeing – for all of us.
(The cost of the bank bailout would have paid for this for about 20 years!!!)