mayo 25, 2011

Education: Proposing a Change in the Paradigm

Education may be regarded as the utmost essential basis of modern society. From my own point of view, only through its comprehensive developing can we achieve general welfare, even though this is a necessary but not sufficient condition to do so. Therefore, logically, general welfare is also implied by at least one more idea: the most significant one that can be found may be the concept of an empathic civilisation (in short, one in which everybody can put themselves in others shoes). Yet, most importantly, we should critically analyse the current models of education throughout different cultures in the world whilst pinpointing their fundamental malfunctions.

At present, modern technology and instantaneous communications have become impressively influential, not only in western but also in eastern cultures. These items are part of the globalisation process, which, according to Sir Ken Robinson, is complicating the passing on of cultural identity within every culture. The economy plays a main role within these difficulties as well, since we cannot exactly predict its behaviour in the near future. Moreover, among other problems, there are those concerning the organisation of schools. The most severe of them might be the choice of variables according to which the students are grouped and the classes are both scheduled and standardised.

In summary, Robinson states that there are many issues, related to the essentials of the manner we teach, which will turn our own education models against our primary objectives. All these issues may find their respective basis on the fact that such models were designed and conceived for pursuing the aims of a past age. Indeed, driven by an economic imperative set forth by the Industrial Revolution, these systems have followed an intellectual model of the mind that restricts the concept of intelligence in too close-minded a way, defining people as either academic or non academic.

But in what manners can we tackle these seemingly unattainable challenges? Sir Ken Robinson has proposed a transformation of the current paradigm; a completely opposite direction to advance through. It is based on the concept of divergent thinking: a problem or question has many interpretations as well as many possible solutions. In fact, as many as it can be imagined. Such idea is inherent to everybody and it has been proved that its use decays with the passing of time if not exercised properly. Nevertheless, further discussion is needed here, for how do we tell objective interpretations apart from subjective ones? Are them equally valid?

Either way, what is important is the application of the concept to systems of education: it imposes an idea of freedom, or, to be more precise, openness, i.e. contrary to standardisation. In order to exercise divergent thinking, we should allow more possibilities of choice regarding education (a task difficult to accomplish given the overall situation nowadays). What this actually means is that we need to pursue common interests while organising education, and most importantly, we have to think differently about human capacity.

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