I’ve been home about three weeks and my mind has recently switched from travelling thoughts to thoughts about education.
My sister is currently completing her primary school teaching qualification and since being home I’ve noticed how busy she is in the evenings preparing lessons for the kids. Being a little bored at times myself, I’ve glanced over some of her coursework and I’ve noticed how everything seems to relate back to a strict teaching curriculum. I was also astonished to find out that schools are actually testing kids from the age of six; putting them in an exam environment and pressuring them about their knowledge.
This worries me. I am no psychologist, but I am aware of certain functions within the brain, and keeping it extremely simple it is proven that the left and right side of the brain have separate jobs. The left hemisphere of the brain can be referred to as ‘linear thinking mode’ meaning it is responsible for logic, scientific skills, mathematics and analytic thought. The right side of the brain, ‘holistic thinking mode’, responsible for creativity, emotional expression, imagination and holistic thought patterns.
Surely, an exam based environment favours the left side of the brain? Should kids at this age really be put under pressure to perform? Will this not provide them with a negative feeling towards education? A teaching curriculum for kids at six years of age, should have one clear objective, to make learning fun and encourage kids to gain enthusiasm for learning. I’m pretty sure that there are many teachers making this a reality and I applaud them. But does the governments rigid education curriculum and need to test kids so young, counteract what the teachers are actually trying to do?
From my own experience within the education system, I can recall being in college and having to attend ‘career classes’, on one occasion the task was to write a brief essay about where you see your life going over the next ten years. The logical response was to write about university, finding a job with prospects, climbing the career ladder, earning a hefty income and fitting into the institutionalised economic system. However, I decided to write something a bit more creative, I wrote that I see life as an ‘open, meandering road’ and I see myself ‘as riding a Chopper along it, enjoying the ride!’ My lecturer laughed at me, he ridiculed my writing and said I would have to rewrite it. I didn’t. He was so engulfed in a teaching system that focuses on the development of the left side of the brain, that he didn’t even realise that it was an expression from the right. He didn’t even applaud its creativity or open-mindedness, he simply dismissed it, I didn’t blame him, he had become a total product of an education (and society) system that is constructed around conformity as opposed to expression.
The people who are responsible for these strict curriculums that over pressure kids at a young age need to remember that they, themselves, have been indoctrinated by a society that channels their energy to think with the left side of their brains. They need to tap into their under worked right side and remember that a teachers sole purpose is to inspire. Inspire creativity, inspire ambition, inspire learning, inspire life; inspiration is vacant in an unbalanced education system.
Teachers seem to get enough unfair publicity (which I totally disagree with) and I salute all those who are working hard to inspire kids in education. I just wish those left side brained policy makers would realise that it’s not all about testing, systematic placing or following rigid guidelines; it’s about creating the next generation of dreamers and believers that can express new ways of thinking that can hopefully fix an unbalanced world.
The blog is peppered with quotes from one of the biggest brains of all, Albert Einstein; he explains the point I’m trying to make within a few sentences, he must have had a good education!