The first week of my first year in college, we read a book in our Humanities class about paradigms. Don’t ask me what the title was, I don’t remember. All I do remember is that it became a kind of running “joke” in our class that anytime we didn’t like the way something was structured, we’d talk about needing a new paradigm. (Oh college Freshmen! Aren’t they just hilarious?)
So it is with no small amount of – let’s call it sardonic chagrin – that I say to you now; We need a new paradigm.
Every day, and I do mean every day, I see articles about the need for better tests in schools, no tests in schools, the common core and how awful it is, bullying in schools, sex in schools, cheating in schools and on and on. Ad nauseum.
The experts weigh in: What will “make” kids learn to the best of their abilities? What kind of school is best? How can we change the schools, teachers, curriculum, teaching methods, tests to make our educational system “the envy of the world”?
The cold hard fact is that in over 50 years of such talk around our compulsory school system, nothing has changed except to get worse.
That school paradigm we all seem so attached to? (Much like Stockholm Syndrome patients who show affection towards their tormentor) It needs to go. Not just sort of. Not just for the rich. Not just for the “perfect” upper middle class family with two parents.
It needs to be wiped out altogether. We need a new paradigm.
Wouldn’t it be great if all those teachers out there were available to children who wanted to learn about a given subject and sought them out for assistance in doing so? Wouldn’t it be great if our libraries became massive centers of open learning, catering not just to academic subjects but to things like music production, building cars, repurposing used goods and anything else that the kids who came there wanted to know?
If our government would allot even half as much money toward such ventures – to set up, maintain and expand such centers and pay the teachers who work there – and do away with the compulsory schooling in the process, we would get somewhere faster than anyone might believe. We’d make real progress in all areas. We’d probably be astonished at the things kids would learn and create if given the encouragement and wherewithal to do so.
If we could stop worrying about mastering the times tables or memorizing the state capitols and instead focus on encouraging kids to follow their interests and giving ALL of them the resources to do so, we would experience an innovative explosion in everything from technology to the arts the likes of which none of us could imagine.
I found a quote which states it quite nicely, on a website titled taketheleap.com: “Think of a paradigm shift as a change from one way of thinking to another. It’s a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change.”
What are the agents of change? In today’s world we could point to many factors, but I think the most important of all is us. More than ever, we need to be the [agents] of change we want to see in our world.