The Challenge of Education

Of necessity, we despatch our children into education. I wonder how many of us, remembering our own days at school and university, share Kafka’s reproach:

[…] I can prove at any time that my education tried to make another person out of me than the one I became. It is for harm, therefore, that my educators could have done me in accordance with their intentions that I reproach them; I demand from their hands the person I now am, and since they cannot give him to me, I make of my reproach and laughter a drumbeat sounding into the world beyond. But this only serves a different purpose. The reproach for having spoiled a part of me – for having spoiled a good, beautiful part (in my dreams sometimes it appears to me the way a dead bride appears to others) […]

I am engaged in a long running debate with my daughter’s teachers for refusing to find fault with their accusation that she is a ‘dreamer.’

7 thoughts on “The Challenge of Education

  1. >I've often felt, especially in cheeky moments, that education is a lot like parenthood, in the admittedly narrow sense that both unintentionally, although with the best of intentions, will do good while achieving their measure of harm. Cheers, Kevin

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  2. >Good for you! As parent to a dreamer myself, I always find it odd that schools often value compliance over originality. Since I work in education, I can tell you there are plenty that know that rule-breaker in front of them will offer the most in the long run. Just need guidance, not spirit breaking.

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  3. >Thank you, Frances, for your comments. My daughter's current school, though its results (as measured on league tables) are excellent, definitely fits the compliance over originality model. All being well she will move to a school next year better suited to her personality.

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  4. >I am a teacher in California and let me tell you there is no time for dreaming! It's politically expedient to get results as fast as possible. That means TEACH THE TEST! Children are being drilled and killed to the point that they don't have time or even the skill to dream and imagine. It's so sad. Yet some of us are subversive enough to read aloud to kids, show kids other ways of solving problems than the district script. I always tell the kids that it's the thinkers and dreamers that change the world, the automatons just keep it going. So what do we want kids to do, keep the system going as it is or move the system forward? When you kill dreams and only worry about numbers and spreadsheets it debases the human spirit. This whole argument was born out of political posturing to do the right thing for kids. The right thing is to teach them the basic skills they need to function and then facilitate the expansion of their minds to the point where they no longer need us.

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