The New School

You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

I think one of the things that annoys me about education as I see it now (having been out of it for over a decade) is the “fashionable” courses. “In my day” you could name the subjects that were available as English, maths, sciences, foreign languages, history, geography, art, music, information studies and physical education. I think this has somewhat tainted my view of hearing that one can do degrees in subjects such as Star Trek.

I realise that this sounds snobby. It is, especially when part of my annoyance is because I don’t like the idea of a first class Make-up Design graduate being able to rank above a 2:1 Medic, for example. I realise most people would split those up, and I realise also that a fantastic make-up artist has earning potential on a par with a doctor and could do work that would mean as much to a client as a doctor would. But people place their lives in the hands of a doctor and I think that should be recognised.

I think I would like to see a greater emphasis placed on apprenticeships. I honestly believe I may have gone down a different career path if they were more readily visible to me.

The one thing that I would change about the education system, especially when I was at school rather than college or university (apologies to American readers who might not understand that!) is to question “why” things happen. In history, for example, you learn what. In maths, you learn how. Not enough questions why in the early years of education and I wonder whether this can curtail creativity. It’s something that I try to do a lot of now (and not just in work) – why am I doing this? Why does that happen? I honestly believe it gives better results.

Hardly education,
It was somewhere in between.
Oh, I hit the roof but I had
Aimed for the ceiling.

Hardly education,
All them books I didn’t read.
They just sat there on my shelf
Looking much smarter than me.

Education by Modest Mouse

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