Looking back at my education there are very specific topics that I wish I would have learned when I was a child. These topics were instead taught to me by the wisdom of others, particularly my parents, and the harshness of life lessons.
Those that know me, I am well educated academically having done BioChemistry, Multimedia and many other academic study. However, even at my age, I cannot help but realize how many things I did not learn from my formal education that life was able to teach me. It is easy to name off topics, I think everyone should have learned how to manage their money, how technology works, how to pick your battles and understand peoples emotions, and how kindness gets us farther than self-interest.
Perhaps these are the wrong topics, which is why I do not ask that we educate students better by throwing in classes to account for this, expecting a better output. The courses I took throughout my career were an interesting mix of stimulating my desire to explore and methodically brainwashing me into remembering an array of characters that was nonsensical. Do some research on the approaches that students take to be successful in studying. They are all methodically creative in leveraging the mental models of our brain to access and recall information. In a way, classes are teaching students to learn about the functioning of their brain by forcing them to be creative about how they represent dry information that lacks any genuine context or value.
I am left to ponder what it is that schools really need to teach. I do not think that it is very complex when we speak of what the goals of an education should be. In fact, I think that left to their own means students would fair surprisingly well with their own tools. Most of the brilliant concepts that they now teach in schools were once discovered by creative thinkers, many of whom had mentors, that were in search of discovering something novel. That feeling of discovery is insatiable, it spreads like wildfire and makes our heart desire more. It took generations of mathematicians to finally come up a proof for Pythagoras theorem. Most people conclude that he had no such proof and was merely posing a problem for others to ponder (and go crazy over trying to solve). I think schools should constantly be exploring these types of problems for which we do not know the answer.
Very often, children are not told about the sheer magnitude of what they have accomplished. To me, it is these things that build perseverance and a desire to tackle life’s challenges’ creatively. I have never and will never desire getting 100 on an exam more than I desire to score a piece of gum as I perform a crazy body maneuver. If I score, i’ll feel somewhat happy and quickly forget about it. If I miss, I’ll have to pick up a dirty piece from the floor and admit to my defeat, but also quickly forget about it. However, that crazy maneuver could be the first sign of a passion for dancing. Enough of my rambling. Better get back to work.