This evening I went to an open evening of a secondary school I'm considering sending my 10 year old daughter to next year. The main hall was packed full of parents and children. There was an impressive Power Point presentation with smiling children on excursions abroad, conducting science experiments with glee and running on sports day. Two very confident year eight children got up and waxed lyrical about the school with projected voices and intelligent speeches. Everyone clapped when they finished. We walked around the school and met the teachers, tried to understand the maths syllabus and marvelled at the media studies. It truly was an impressive open evening... but there was something niggling me. I took a step back and watched all the hopeful parents and excited kids and then it hit me! It was nearly identical to when I went to school more than 30 years ago. The curriculum was near identical. Maths, English, history, geography, science, religious studies, PE, art, music, languages. Yep pretty much the same as I remember. I asked myself how could that be? How could nothing much have changed in 30 years. Was that possible? Oh sure they use computers and online maths games now but the subjects are all still the same.
I don't know about you but I feel our children need other skills in order to survive in this new world we live in. They have so much 'stuff' now, so much technology, so much choice, so much indulgence (even if we really try to keep it to a minimum). I'm not knocking the teachers, they have a challenge ahead of them. Keeping these over stimulated kids focused enough to teach them things that they may never use in adult life. My question is WHY?
Don't our children need to know how to 'give', how to assess risk, how to support each other, how to solve environmental concerns, how to work in teams, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses?
Creative thinking, divergent thinking, integrity, how to be trustworthy, meditation, non judgmental and above all considerate and kind? Are these not skills our children need today?
The main focus is on doing well at school in order to secure employment.
Shouldn't the main focus be on nurturing happy, inspired and motivated children? If I sound judgmental I apologise, it wasn't my intention. My aim was to communicate my observation that not much has changed and it struck panic in me.
Elon Musk (entrepreneur billionaire who started with £20.000) has the right idea. He is building a creative school that will teach children how to expand their minds, rather than conform to the usual structure of education. Oh please Mr Musk come to the UK and work your magic here!
Help our teachers to create rather than pigeon hole. Take away our fear of 'will our children be ok after we're gone'. If we keep doing the same thing as we've always done, we'll keep getting the same results. Isn't it time to do something different?