Where, What, and How? Contemplations of the Education System
7 August 2020
As members of the human species in 2020, we exist in a time that the foundational institutions of society are open to reformation. The year 2020 has had several catalytic moments that essentially anyone conscious at the time can agree either inspired or forced us, as humanity, to examine the reality that we have built for ourselves as a collective species. Now, of course, the ways in which we must change is a subject of much debate, and this blog is an attempt at wading through the discourse to find the best solutions towards the problems that face humanity, with a strict requirement that those solutions do not infringe on any other human being’s privilege to life or liberty. One area of society that is facing tremendous reform, which we will focus in on, is the education system.
Before implementing reform in any of society’s foundational institutions that are required to maintain a civilization, we must comprehensively understand what role the specific institution we wish to reform fulfills in society. Understanding the role that an institution is due to fulfill within a society helps establish appropriate goals for how those specific types of institutions should conduct themselves and what they should be contributing to society. Which leads us to the question of what are the goals of the education system and what role does it fulfill in positively progressing humanity?
In the case of the education system and the institutions within, we would hope that the goal is to produce educated and skilled human beings who can execute and accomplish other roles required in the larger system of society. Some may say this in itself has never necessarily been the goal of all education programs throughout human history. Regardless if there have been some underlying agendas that a hidden group of intellectual elites has concocted, we must accept the fact that the current standards and practices of the education system have holistically failed society.
What should we do about the education system? This is the question that many human beings are contemplating as we draw nearer to the 2020 fall school semester. It is apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic alters our ability to reform the entirety of the education system into what those at the forefront of education reform policy would consider a perfect option, yet it is the very pandemic that should allow us to question what is an appropriate education for the modern age and what are the options for streamlining education to the learner. As a society, we dashed to the digital world when the COVID-19 pandemic flooded the physical world. Now the subject of the pandemic in itself is a controversial one, regardless of your exact beliefs on the virus though, no one should be able to disagree that COVID-19 has changed the rules in which we conduct ourselves in public by. What does this mean for education reform though?
As the Human Civilization Reformation Coalition, we believe that the best way to understand the process in which education reform could occur at this time is to think of it taking place in two phases. The first of these phases can be deemed as the during COVID-19 period. We can understand this as a set of reformations to education that can be done while we are mitigating the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second of these phases can be deemed as the post-COVID-19 period. It is pertinent for us to note that we do not necessarily believe in a reality where COVID-19 just magically disappears, yet we use this label to indicate the time and space that exists somewhere in the future where we conduct ourselves in society safely along-side the virus, just as we have done throughout human history regarding other contagious viruses and diseases. This is not quite the platform for discussing how we may reach this point though. What this is the platform for is a discussion on the types of changes we should consider making to the education system.
If we think of the different elements that make up the educational process, we can begin to compartmentalize the different types of changes that we may implement. We will illustrate three areas of the educational process that we believe deserve the most attention when it comes to the conversation of education reform, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first and most critical element that is on top of mind in the during COVID-19 period is the question of where someone can learn. Ensuring that our learners are in an environment that is conducive to their learning is the goal when we think of where the educational process should occur. Apparent options like online schooling have become obvious winners during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the 2020 fall school semester, many school districts are utilizing a hybrid model of online and in-person schooling. This is the perfect time to question though where in-person learning has to occur. Is the traditional classroom setting the most effective environment for all learning experiences? Perhaps utilizing an outdoor model for lectures and conceptual conversations between teachers and students can allow us to learn in new capacities. The nature of the lesson being learned of course may dictate which type of environment is necessary to facilitate the educational process. Asking and determining where our learner’s education takes place though is the first crucial contemplation that we must ask ourselves concerning education reform.
The second element of the education system that we must consider reform within is how to effectively teach a human being. When it comes to the question of how we teach, we once again urge people to keep the initial goals of the education system in mind. If we want to ensure that learners are absorbing the information and more importantly the lessons of the curriculum then we should be open-minded to the different possibilities that may empower our learners to achieve this goal overall. Are there different ways in which we can deliver information and perform competency checks for understanding?
To answer this set of questions on reforming how we learn in the education system, we are led to another element that in the end, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, dictates how the education system should reform. The biggest element of the education system that we must reform is the information and skills that we enter the system to learn in the first place. For most of us that have had an opportunity to learn from within the United States public school system, we can statically prove that our country has failed us in terms of education. Growing up personally in a state that is traditionally listed as one of the worst states for education in the country, I have personally witnessed and experienced the failings of the public school system. A system that has systemically created human beings who are not prepared or educated for conducting themselves in the real world afterward.
One reason we find the defects within the education system is our one size fits all approach to general education. If we are to rise above the deficits built by the previous structures of the education system then we must come to an understanding that each learner and each subject deserve to operate on their terms within the dynamic space of where, how, and what we learn in the education system.
Though I know my experience with the education system is not isolated, it is important to recognize that not all institutions within the education system are subjecting their learners to the same stigmatized traditions of the current education system. This combined with the recent inflection moment created by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am optimistic about the future of our education system.
Until next time, I am Jeff McCarty and I just want to thank you for your time in reading. If you enjoyed this post, please share this with someone you think would enjoy it. Find the Human Civilization Reformation Coalition on Facebook for more content as well. Looking forward to seeing you next post. Thanks again.