Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Current Schooling System, part 3

If schools would treat kids like special individuals and would use the knowledge and technology of today, what would schools look like? What if school would not only focus on the children’s minds and grades but also on creativity? This way of thinking did not go unnoticed, contrary more schools give consideration to it than ever. An example of one school of those schools is ‘De Kampanje’in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, which is a so-called sudbury school. This is a type of education where children are fully responsible for their own lives, learning and future. These sort of schools do not have imposed classes, but they believe that one big space for the all children (ranging in age, grade level, area of interest, skills and talents) will improve the collaboration and the communication between the different groups. In addition there are no imposed curricula and no imposed quizzes. So the children themselves decide what, how, when and with whom they want to do something. I would not say ‘De Kampanje’ is the perfect way and that all schools should be like that, because I do believe that children benefit from a certain degree of structure and regularity, but I do really appreciate the values of the sudbury way of schooling because it is entirely focused on the qualities and skills of children and discovering them independently. 

I am glad lots of schools are trying to find a way to create new education formats and to reinvent education for modern times. I hope these initiatives increase with time, for example by local school authorities who will inspire each other to modernize their schooling system and to focus on the individual child and it’s personal skills. Because let’s be honest: schools are no rivals, but educaters with all the same goal: giving children the opportunity to develop themselves as an independent individual with his or her own qualities and to prepare them for the ‘real world’.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Current Schooling System, part 2

At the same time schools offer only one way of learning and they try to fit in all these different children into one way of educating them. Students all follow the same lessons which are taught in the same way for everyone. They have become listeners and are barely doers anymore.  If we have to follow one guideline to success, how should we ever be able to develop ourselves, our talents, our confidence and our unique aspects?  Schools need to take responsibility for the colorless education they are giving the children because children have the right to discover and to develop themselves as an individual. This should be made possible by the schools.
It was after high school, when I first heard about ‘the new way of educating’ to improve the current schooling system. Different initiatives are trying to make schools a much more diverse and creative place and are trying to focus on the individual child and its unique qualities. So there was the answer on the questions I had in high school. It was possible! Education can be different, but I just was not in the right place.
More and more initiatives pop up that are in favor of change. For example, the schooling system should be more fixated on the individual child, its talents and its value to society. One of the change makers is Claire Boonstra.  Claire recently decided to switch careers. She worked in the technological app world but she wants to focus fully on the education world now. Her goal in education is to focus on children its value to society instead of pushing them in the way of the outlined path of working your way up in different levels of school and higher positions in businesses, or how Claire calls it: the status ladder. She wants to change education together with interested parties and influential people in education who think the same way. Furthermore, Sir Ken Robinson is an amazingly good international example of an expert who thinks schools should apply more creativity into their schooling programs. Sir Ken Robinson mentions the fact that children learn to accomplish things with their minds and learn to think logical, but not to make mistakes and come up with creative solutions themselves, simply because they are not trained this way.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Current Schooling System, part 1

As I had not had the best time in high school I often thought to myself: can it not be different around here? People have been studying in the same way for a century right now, in almost the exact same way. Why do teachers teach the way they do? Why do we have to learn geography and not creative writing, yoga or design? And are students really more motivated to learn by forcing them to study in a certain separated level of education? Time has changed, but the schooling system has not which influences the quality of education and the happiness of the children to a great extent.
At schools cliques exist because pupils are all insecure individuals who are all trying to fit into a comfortable group of people that they can relate to. Everyone is different, so lots of different cliques arise. These cliques originate from out the way a school is built up, because schools also divide children into different levels of education . Children are used to being divided in different groups that distinguish them from each other, so it is a natural habit to prosecute in class.
On too many schools children are still pigeonholed by each other because of the current normal schooling system. A lot of children cannot cope with the current system because they feel like they do not fit in.  But the fact is that all people are different and unique, so it is actually really illogical that we have such a one-sided system. Luckily more and more people realize this and there are more and more schools who are trying to find the right way to pay attention to all the children individually and make them respect each other and themselves. All children are different and that is how they should be treated.  School could mean so much more than just education only.  Or even better, education and school would get a way broader meaning. Can you imagine?

I was found

I have always loved this picture. Maybe it’s the softness or just the fact that it’s Kate Moss laying there all vulnerable and sweet, but it reminds me of me. I used to be that girl that hided behind the plants. I was vulnerable and insecure and I was always doubting if I were good enough for this world. Did people really like me or did they just feel bad for me? Who am I? Why am I here? What do I really want to do? Am I pretty enough? Do people think I’m nice? Am I a good person? Am I doing well? When is this over (referring to high school)? Eventually I would rather ‘hide behind the plants’ than showing everyone who I really was.

When I graduated high school I felt relieved. It was time to be found. And it happened. Slowly I turned from the girl behind the plants into the plant itself. A small ivy plant who can surround itself with its environment, leaving the rough surface. 

I was lost but I am found. The same as in this picture, I can’t tell who or what found me. But I guess the most important thing is that I found myself. I’m no longer a wallflower, I am a growing existence of pleasure, joy, love, happiness and inspiration. I am me.