It gets harder and harder, doesn’t it; coping with the restrictions in life during this Lockdown, without the simple community and social pleasures we’re used to, never mind the distancing from loved ones.
There’s a whole range of challenges right from those who’re suffering total isolation, to the irritations of being clustered continually with those you could do with some space from! All that’s hard enough to deal with never mind the worry and anxiety about becoming ill. Add onto that the children’s progress and it’s enough to tip anyone managing to keep sane over the edge.
I hate to see these awful sensationalist headlines about youngster’s lives being ruined because of this ‘gap’ in their education. It’s so unhelpful and is basically about using our currently delicate emotions to sell news, regardless of the truth of the situation. It’s totally immoral.
This time now is not necessarily a ‘gap’ in education, it’s just a change; potentially an opportunity.
It is, however, a ‘gap’ in the meaningless measurement and box ticking process that the system has made of learning. And media coverage, like suggestions of kids’ lives being ruined, contributes to this sensationalist ignorance about learning.
The children will be learning, even though it’s different. They’ll be learning different skills, educational and practical, developing personally – you cannot stop that process despite what academics you do or don’t do. They’ll also be learning how to learn for themselves perhaps. Learning about life and living with kindness and compassion, and appreciation for those in tougher places than themselves.
This makes them grow into good, caring people and responsible, productive citizens, as much as anything academic will. Ironically, that was one of the reasons behind the setting up of this schooling system all those decades ago; to create literate, productive citizens in the industrial sense of the word. And that’s what the government agenda is right now; citizens who’ll contribute to the economy – that’s their main focus.
Contributing to the economy is desirable, rather than being a burden on it, obviously.
But there is a more important aspect of education that also needs to be contributed to, but which the government doesn’t bother with as it can’t be measured;
the wealth of kindness, empathy and compassion that is necessary in order for us to live happily and without harm alongside each other and upon this planet.
This starts at home and it should be perpetuated through any educational approach.
We’re seeing prompts for kindness all over the place currently. As if we need reminders. Perhaps we do.
In this business of building an industrial and consumerist life, which is what the system educates for, we have side-lined the essential fact that in order to survive, both as a species and in harmonious wellbeing, we need kindness and compassion as well as academic learning.
Do we educate for that?
Would it not be better currently to set exercises in living together with kindness, rather than leaving it as a by product of maths, English and science? Surely that’s what’s needed right now? To help children learn how to put themselves in other people’s shoes, both those in the house and out of it. Learn how to consider everyone’s hardships not just their own. Help youngsters see beyond their own difficulties to a wider picture. Build resilience. Practise everything and anything to do with kindness. Do anything we can just to get through these hard times.
These would be better targets for the day: How can we make this day better? This hard time easier? How can we accommodate all the different temperaments and needs in this household? How can we turn today’s procedures into kindly ones, rather than gruelling ones?
We’ve got to get through these hard times. A curriculum for kindness will make them easier to bear.
And I reckon the general educational progress will be the better for it!