The End Product

A recent e-mail from Bob Clary at Webucator got me pondering what our somewhat conveyor-belt-exam-oriented education factories churn out, and how that interfaces with what further learning institutions or businesses need.

  • What do we want the next generation to be able to do?
  • What nuggets can we give them to ensure they have a happy, productive life?
  • Really what’s the balance between what they should know, what they need to be able to do, and the type of person (we think) they should be?

I’ve sat and listened to people who say the world’s changing so fast that our subjects are almost obsolete already, and thought: the basic tenants of every subject will remain the same. We do have much to offer.

I’ve heard them say there’s all the information out there already, probably produced more slickly than we can – just be a facilitator, and thought: no it’s never tailored to the needs of those in my charge.

I’ve taught the spectrum of young people, from the most privileged right down to well, the most humble experiencing all sorts of horrors, and seen them all at their best: well turned out, well mannered and thoughtful – despite everything!

So what’s a real education? Slaking curiosity and developing an appetite for more? Encouraging interests? Enabling talents to flourish? Modelling behaviours? All of that!

And what of the product? Well if they’re capable, yet still open to learn. If they’re trustworthy, kind and generous. And if they’ve got a vision for a better world than the one they’ve inherited, then maybe, we’ll have done all right!

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