Education is not an App

School open on a Saturday; that’s the intention of one of the new Free schools in our area as per the news this morning.

Is that a good thing, I wonder? Libraries are open on a Saturday and it would be nice to think that schools were a bit like that; a free and supportive service that people could dip into as they needed to be inspired.

In my dreams!

The head came on the programme and spouted off about focussing on GCSEs, thus fuelling the misguided thinking that grades are what constitute an education and are the only useful part of it.

Dreams now shattered! Heart sinks.

I find it increasingly hard to think of schooling as doing kids any favours, even though that’s how it started. It’s become too irrelevant and separate from them, designed by adults stuck in an age when no one had access to literacy, numeracy and knowledge. Kids now treated like new empty mobiles and education an App to be downloaded into them, the two otherwise being totally separate. For, if you think about it, life inside a school is separate from real society, separate from real living, separate from real humane traits in some cases.

We need to stop seeing educating as some separate and bizarre phase of stuffing kids full of useless Apps that might look flash, can be displayed when needed, useful to schools and politicians for league tables and looking good, but hardly ever used again out in the real business of living.

We need to start seeing education as home educators tend to do, as an intrinsic, experiential and connected part of living, learning and developing on a day to day basis, never separate from life and constantly relevant to it in both content and personal achievement.

People ask about motivating home educated children to learn. Why would we need to do that when you consider that life is interesting and young people want to learn about it? The skills they need to live it are attractive and enhance their existence: communication skills, research and learning skills, personal development and growth. They don’t need motivating because they do stuff that actually matters to them. Not merely stuff which only matters to adults.

Our schooling is outdated. It was developed in answer to the industrial age. We now need to educate for the creative and innovative age of connectivity and world-wide compassion, stop treating education like an App and our kids an empty piece of technology we can download onto, and move forward into a provision so relevant and inspiring our kids will be queuing to engage!

Think I’m mad? I’m not alone;

12 thoughts on “Education is not an App

  1. Well said Ross. I can see my eldest son reclaiming his love of learning now he is at home. He lost his verve for life at school which was awful
    The focus on STEM is archaic and needs change. Creativity is just as important. My son is flourishing now that he can paint, play music and write when he wants . Isn’t it a shame that so many children will never be given the opportunity to explore their creative side? Instead they have to cram for exams.
    Thanks again.

  2. I think that this is really pertinent… the minute we value kids as commodities (and adults for that matter), we undermine their fundamental dignity as human beings, and we miss all the discovery for them and in getting to know them. I think it is so sad that we have culturally bought the lie that we are what we are graded as, and that if we haven’t justified ourselves to everyone with evidential proof of value, then we are less than! It’s to totally miss the point and joy of our being created in the first place. Keep them coming Ross, you talk eloquent sense. x

  3. I am always flummoxed by people who say that kids have to go to school in order to learn how to function in the real world. School isn’t the real world! And ok, you could keep your children locked up at home and prevent them from ever interacting with anyone else if you home educated, but most people don’t do that. It seems odd that so few people realise that there’s a third, ideal option: the one you are talking about!

  4. Great post Ross. The further along our own home educating journey we go the harder I am finding it to separate education from life. Honestly speaking I think I always felt that way which is why I found senior school a place I wanted to rebel against. It was too prescribed with little choice and personal direction. Life is learning is life I feel.

  5. I totally agree Ross! We are starting our first year of ‘proper’ home education; eldest had 18 months at school, but I could see the curiosity that he was so full of being drained away…so we decided to act before it disappeared completely!

    It is so lovely to read views that I hold dear to my heart expressed openly. People do look at me like I’m a nutter if I mention anything like the above in public. Guess I should get used to it 😉

    Carly x

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