‘”The biggest atrocity of all is to indoctrinate our children into a system that does not value their creative expression,
nor encourage their unique abilities.”‘
– Benjamin Green –
Most would agree that the purpose of education is to prepare and equip the next generation with all that they need to live fruitful, motivated, prosperous, responsible, happy and successful lives as adults, contributing as members of a society that will in turn welcome their young, providing them with the same start in their lives.
But is it really feasible to expect that outcome without the appropriate planning and active participation of each student as they walk down the path from education to employment?
It isn’t happening now, so how can we expect that to change?
The Problem of Mass-Production Education
In a society that devotes so much time and expenditure to the education of our children in the hope of stimulating individuality, creativity and innovation, it is ironic that we do so little to identify and develop the natural skills and talents that every child is born with. Instead we continue to attempt to mass-produce education where every child is considered the same, and is expected to learn at the same speed.
In the process, the child that either fails to fit the classroom definition of “normal”, or is considered to have special education needs, is marginalized, and regardless of their natural skills and talents or intellectual ability, are often excluded.
Worse still is the fact that we dictate to them what we believe they need to learn without taking into consideration who they are as individuals, or those careers to which they are best suited. And we expect self-motivation from the students without ensuring that the student can understand the relevance of that academic knowledge to a future career.
Career guidance – in those schools where it is actually available, is often regarded as a support service or supplemental activity. Yet at the same time we explain to the student that the purpose of academic qualifications is to help then “get a good job”.
Too often in our school system academic knowledge is given a priority over life skills, yet it is those life skills that will determine how successfully that student will be able to interact, coexist and operate in the work place.
Maybe it is no coincidence therefore that each generation often identifies ways in which to rebel against those principles and values held by their parents, and the society in which they have been brought up in, as a way to assert their individuality and demonstrate their desire to have some degree of control over their own lives.
So many of the problems that we encounter in attempting to educate our young – and the questionable results we achieve, could be attributed to the fact that we continue to use a 250 year old system of education that treats them as widgets on a production line.
It is a system of education that makes no allowance for their individuality as young human beings, or the individual natural talents and abilities they were each born with. It certainly makes no effort to identify and develop those unique skills. It is hardly surprising that so many of them complete their educational years with little self-motivation and minimal sense of responsibility.
We could argue that this is a system where we push them forward from behind, rather leading from the front, which begs the question ‘how many successful generals in history have used this strategy to win the important battles?’
Every seasoned traveler understands the importance of a map in successfully traveling any pathway. Yet, we fail to provide to students with that map as they travel their pathway from education to career.
Possibly our greatest failures include those that see our young people complete their path through education ready to start their lives as young adults, unsure what they want to do, encumbered by hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, unable to get a job in a career that they not ideally suited to, after making inappropriate choices of college courses, and too often lacking those life skills needed to guide their adult lives at home or in the workplace.
The Solution: Effective Education-To-Employment Planning
Enabling students to plan their own individual education-to-employment pathways and track their progress through their educational years, encourages self-motivation, helps bridge the gap between education and career, and helps ensure students are better prepared for future careers and life as responsible adults.
Here at Zane we embrace the concept that the pathway from education to employment – and adult life, can only be negotiated successfuly with the effective planning. That planning should provide a roadmap for each student. It should be a roadmap that the students actively participates in designing, and can use to regularly monitor their progress.
It should provide a pathway that eliminates the chasm between the end of education and the commencement of a career to which they are ideally suited. It should be a pathway that starts with understanding each student’s natural skills and abilities and the ways in which to recognize and to develop them.
Importantly it should be a pathway that is planned with each students active and informed participation to ensure that their involvement stimulates their self-motivation, and the desire to achieve the goals they have set themselves.
The information and knowledge that they learn as they proceed down that pathway, should be information relevant to their daily lives, rather than information that they will forget within a matter of years because it lacks that relevancy. And if further education comes at a financial cost – as it usually will, then we should encourage that investment to come from those that will eventually share the benefit with hose students the most.
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