EDUCATING FOR THE REAL WORLD
In my opinion, one of the most fundamental reasons for educating persons is to have them become functional adults who can think creatively, objectively and problem solve and also being able to complete essential but regular tasks.
Persons who are educated for the real world understand how to learn and consequently, ask the right questions to find the information they need, solve problems and are more likely to abide by the rules and laws as they understand and appreciate the consequences of doing such. Their learning is flexible in nature and ongoing; with a sense of adventure, learners assume responsibility for both the quality and quantity of knowledge to which they are exposed. In other words, they ‘set the pace’ for learning. As functional adults, they are cognizant of deadlines and obstacles that must be overcome.
Educating persons for the real world means that they become independent learners and that being said, they would more likely take responsibility for their learning. People are naturally curious and passionate and these characteristics must be developed, making it easier for them to overcome obstacles. Persons who are educated for the real world are able to examine phenomena from various perspectives, thus they are independent thinkers and can make objective judgements. To achieve this goal, the focus of education should not be on the product but the process, therefore the learner is not expected to simply regurgitate for the purpose of simply passing an examination.
Your success in life is not based only on your success in an examination but is much broader. Success comes through failure as the desire for success is borne out of the individual’s sense of satisfaction and pleasure, and self -determination, and an abundance of innate curiosity.
If this is fully understood, persons should not fear failure. Learning should not be viewed as ‘walking the straight and narrow path’. Persons learn via various means, so although learning needs to be methodical in its intent, learners can make detours at times however, keeping their eyes on the goal. The process through which persons learn may appear to be messy but as the saying goes, “there is a method to the madness”.
Focusing too much on grades and examinations, be it overtly or covertly, adds to this fear of failure.
HOW DO WE FIX THIS?
Focusing less on standardized testing is a start. Very often teachers focus on the product rather than the process simply because the system is examination oriented. We have to recognize that success is not only one dimensional but multidimensional. In other words, persons can succeed in areas other than the traditional subject areas and as such, consideration must be given to other forms of assessment so that education can truly reflect the real world..
Are we considering the face of success in other areas such as Art, Sports or even Woodwork? Success via other media is also just as important.
In the current system, neither teachers nor students can fail since they are in a ‘do or die’ situation where teachers, students and parents are propelled in the direction of creating ‘geniuses’ that are successful at examinations via whatever means necessary.
Our Education system needs to be streamlined so that persons can fit into a highly, effectively functioning society and still enjoy a high quality of life where there is a sense of fulfilment.
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