Rethinking education

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What we learn at school is not preparing us for today’s reality.

We need different skills compared to what is being taught.

We need to unscrew the education system.

Rethinking education.

 

The need for transformation is greater now than ever before.
No matter where we look, we see problems that only can be solved by acting different.

Education is where it all starts:
what we learn at school is what we apply in businesses and society.

Changing the way we educate is key to changing the system.

Our current ways in higher education just aren’t enough; especially when we’re dealing with rapidly changing and complex situations. What is being taught is too limited, too narrow. We focus only on a small part and we miss important other aspects.

The current system makes that we aren’t using the full potential of who we are. Or could be.

Time to unscrew the system: not only how we learn, but also what we learn.

Rethinking how we learn

By rethinking the system of how we learn, we mean moving beyond formal, mass schooling, pre-packaged structure, one sided (boring) broadcasting lessons. Using more effective learning styles. Informal and social learning, with play, fun and joy (our blog “The value of fun, play and happiness at work” is also applicable in education).

We mean using the power of visualization (go beyond words), discussing…we can go on…many things…anything to stop giving boring lectures.

Rethinking what we learn

By rethinking the system of what we learn, we mean – for example – going beyond rational and logical thinking, learn creative thinking. And learning (how to) fail, figuring things out, make mistakes – to grow and really learn.

And, we believe real learning goes beyond thinking – it requires doing. It’s not enough to know. You can see things, hear and know things. But you have to do it, to become it. We barely learn how to act. This is about being operational: the ability to get things done. This is hardly taught at school, while it is almost as important as reading, writing and all other stuff we learn.

And there is more, a lot more to learn the skills we need for today’s world (here’s our list).

But, if we go back to the basics – that what we learn at school is not preparing us for today’s reality – we believe an important thing is: We learn WHAT to think, not HOW to think. This is not about knowledge. Knowledge is not enough to deal with the rapidly changing and complex situations of our society. It’s about learning how to think. Changing the game.

Education is where it all starts: what we learn at school is what we apply in businesses and society.
Changing the way we educate is key to changing the system.

Rethinking education.
Rethinking how we learn and what we learn.
Or, better said: re-doing education.
Because thinking about it is not enough.

For the curious

We’ve made a Flipboard Magazine for you, all about rethinking education.
View my Flipboard Magazine.

We’ve selected three TED Talks of Sir Ken Robinson for you (we <3 him)

And here’s a great RSA Animation on one of his talks: Changing Education Paradigms

Enjoy!

2 comments on “Rethinking education

  1. Amrish Shah on said:

    Hi Daphne,

    Interesting article – as always! A few thoughts from my side.

    1. The first premise is about what we learn and how fit for purpose it is. Intuitively we all understand that what we learn TODAY is likely to not help us today but TOMORROW. So I am wondering whether this first point says that what we all learnt 20 years ago is, apparently, not helping us one bit TODAY, where we find ourselves?

    2. Because, of course, if this is the case – then what we teach our students today needs to imagine the kind of challenges they will need to face in a few years time. Is this then not getting into the realm of futurology and would you bet on this to build an education system around?

    3. Is rally what we learn ONLY at school what we apply to business and to society and to our family life and to our friendships? I don’t think so. The one thing that is not in doubt is the influence of your family life to YOUR life. So I wonder, whether it is so wise to outsource the entirely of our children’s future health and wealth to a number of “teachers” between the ages of 5 and whenever. I would not do this and rather ask to what extent are parents being more selfish now then in previous generation and using a lack of time and an increase in stress as reasons to more easily disengage from their children’s “education”. One cannot outsource the moral upbringing of children to someone else and, arguably, it is your moral compass and your ethics and your attitude that defines what positive impact you bring to society in future than what you learn at school.

    4. If I understand correctly, it would appear that we say that the way our education systems are currently set up – they actually cause damage – mainly by limiting our “potential” as human beings to achieve what we can. But how would we know this? Do we really feel that the current crop of young adults that we experience are all sociopaths or psychopaths etc? I don’t think so. Can we really “prove” that more of the current generation are less fit for purpose to face life’s challenges than the generations before? I would be interested if such a study existed….

    5. What I know is that whilst I also learnt not just that the square root of 9 is 3 but also (at a later stage) why, here I am some 20 years after finishing “formal” education and I do not believe I have been totally unsuccessful in life. Do I ever look back to my school days and blame that for anything? Nope. Have I used everything I learned at school to do something useful with? Also no (why should I?). Do I think I can always do better / more? Absolutely? But do I link that back to anything I learnt at school – again, negative. So can I say that where I am today is BECAUSE of school or DESPITE of school? Or somewhere in the middle? The vast majority of people will be somewhere in the middle – those at either end (like classic entrepreneurs who dropped out like Richard Branson or who were not great at school like Albert Einstein) are the exceptions, not the norm.

    6. What I absolutely agree with is that it is important for everyone to balance sciences with humanities, logic with creativity. Imagination is more important than knowledge in the long run. And therefore in one sense what is important is our ability to be able to think critically and properly. The amount of sloppy, not well thought through thinking that surrounds us every minute is astonishing. And in critical thinking the aspects of questioning and connecting / synthesising are key. And is that not what our school systems (try to) teach us? So understand why Maths allows us a language in which connections can be made, for example and how that can help your ability to problem solve in the future for a problem that is not here yet?

    7. The point about action is well made. After all there is the classic plan – do – review – change pattern. Still the subject of thinking seems rather unfairly targeted these days from those who have a bias to action. From my own personal experience at work, I have seen that things are so biased to reactive action that any critical thinking that may (god forbid) actually prevent a problem from happening is totally rejected. And you know why? Because societies incentives are geared towards reqarding action and not prevention. So I am wondering why the feeling would be that there is too much thinking and not enough action? For sure there is too much TALK and too many WORDS (guilty!) and perhaps too little PURPOSEFUL action. But I am sure I have a million thoughts every day and I am sure I will only act on one or two. Is that good or is that bad? Who knows. It is the QUALITY of the thinking that counts and the IMPACT of the action that counts. Too often sloppy thinking leading to damaging action. I think we would want to make sure our children understand that this is to be avoided whereas well thought through thinking and thoughtful action should be encouraged.

    In the end, irrespective of the education system we have, maybe it is enough to treat young adults like adults and to place more emphasis on respect, thoughtfulness, understanding, learning and being kind to each other – in business and in society. So how to really HEAR rather than just listen, how to really SEE rather than just look and how to really MEAN it rather than just say it.

    Some food for thought I hope.

    Amrish

  2. Daphne on said:

    Too many WORDS (guilty!) > yes! :-)
    For all readers, the discussion on this “Great article, very thought provoking!” continued, incl here:
    https://www.linkedin.com/nhome/updates?activity=5914639268000595968&goback=&trk=hb_ntf_COMMENTED_ON_UPDATE_YOU_CREATED

    BTW. Love the end quote: “So how to really HEAR rather than just listen, how to really SEE rather than just look and how to really MEAN it rather than just say it.”

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