A New Era of Education
11 June 2021
The education system is broken. There is no other way to put it. We see the signs all around us, and as time goes on, we tend to notice those signs more and more. Whether it is the alarming rate of debt caused by college loans or the teacher's unions' stranglehold on schools, we see plenty of signs that indicate the prior models for education are falling apart. This dissolving of the old models means it is time to insert new models of operating our education system. The question is, what will these new models look like, and how will we implement them?
To determine what a reinvigorated education system looks like, we must understand the two pillars that dictate the educational experience that the system creates. These two pillars are the two threads that we must discuss if we want to see improvements in the education system. First, we must look at what we learn (generally referred to as the curriculum), and then we must look at how we learn that curriculum. Through exploring these two threads, we can begin to highlight areas of the education system that need improvement. Before going about this exploration, we must be conscientious of the end goal of the education system: to educate the citizens of a society with the knowledge necessary to operate in and contribute towards the betterment of civilization. This end goal should be kept in mind consistently throughout any process of reimagining our education system.
With this end goal in mind, we will first examine the curriculum taught in school. I don't intend to provide a comprehensive overview of all items within the curriculum (which is bound to vary based on the type of school and the school's location). I intend to discuss the things that are lacking in most (if not all) school curriculum. Many people feel like they missed out on knowledge that would have been beneficial to have acquired in their youth. The knowledge that they could have used as an adult. Many of us don't get these lessons until we hit obstacles in life that show us those skills. Things such as understanding how to complete and file your federal and state income taxes. Other lessons like how to balance your budget and manage your bills. Even what constitutes healthy food and how to pick it in a grocery store all come to mind when I contemplate the life skills I feel I have used as an adult yet did not learn while in the education system. These are just a few that I think of myself, and I'm sure if you take a moment, you can begin to think of things you wished you would have learned in school that has become relevant in your adult life. Overall, it shouldn't take much mental power to understand that there are vital lessons that a human should know that they are not getting in the one system that is supposedly dedicated to educating humans.
Now that we have reviewed how we can reimagine what we are learning in the education system, we can shift our focus towards the acquisition of knowledge. What we learn is a focus on the curriculum, while how we learn is a focus on how that curriculum is delivered. Traditionally in school, you get a mixture of facilitated lectures that incorporate hands-on activities from time to time. Of course, this style of teaching was done in person up until Covid-19 rattled the education system. After that shock wave of the pandemic, we saw a mass transition to online learning, proving that education can occur in more than just the classroom. Since society did the shift in haste to accommodate for a global emergency, the same style of facilitated lectures with occasional hands-on activities continued just in the presence of a Zoom room rather than a physical one
This sudden transition meant that the change was not as effective as many would hope it could have been, yet it still proves the premise that we could disrupt in-person learning that takes place in a classroom of twenty-plus kids with one adult guiding the conversation. We must disrupt the Status Quo of how we learn with the end goal in mind, delivering knowledge to our learners effectively in which they retain the lessons. Maybe this means we give learners more hands-on experience through apprenticeship programs. There are plenty of people learning vast amounts of knowledge through services such as YouTube, Skillshare, Udemy, and others, not to mention audiobooks and podcasts.
There are other ways of gaining knowledge, learning skills, and being able to implement them. We must keep our end goals of education in mind when reimagining how we learn in the education system. If we can maintain the end goals of education in mind, and if we implement changes in the education system that improve our ability to achieve those end goals, the results will be a wiser class of educated citizens on how to operate in and contribute to society. Until we can let go of the status quo and embrace a new era of education, we are bound to say the system has failed.