t e a c h

"The wisest words can be the most softly spoken."

 

Contrary to beliefs propagated by schooling institutions and their supporters, education is something that comes to children naturally.

Enforcing codes of practice for children does not teach them anything but helplessness, and can leave them filled with resent, not knowledge.

Making young schoolchildren sit in orderly tables is of no benefit to anyone except the teacher - it makes their job easier.

By setting common standards and goals it is vainly hoped that children will cooperate and inspire each other to succeed. Such a notion is held dearly by those who choose the goals, for their own ends.

Those who respect the individuality of children will cultivate each's own needs and interests. Listening to them and understanding them is crucial to a harmonious relationship.

School exists to rehearse those too young to object in those traditions and ceremonies that are deemed necessary for society to cohere. Right and wrong are heavily weighed distinctions, with serious punishments for those who stray from the acceptable norm.

Exclusion and separation are synonymous with the ethics of many schools, separating male from female, young from old, obedient from independent. Special circumstances have recently been made for 'dyslexic' and 'dyspraxic' children - those who respond adversely to insensitive teaching techniques. Even this recognition of the individual variation within people is shadowed by stigma, it is yet anther form of exclusion to young minds.

After leaving institutional education most people are riddled with hang ups about their potential, their skills and abilities. Having been told since childhood what they were are were not good at, their personal identity has been molded into shapes that betray the flexibility and creativity that resides in every person. How many times have you heard someone say "I am not artistic" or "Science is too hard for me"? Art is a simple expression of thoughts and emotions, something we all are capable of. Science is no more than finding simple underlying explanations for common events learnt by repeated observation, which is exactly what young children are doing when they pick up and drop a toy again and again. Yet along the school career children and adolescents receive diverse forms of discouragement and denigration, leading them to avoid activities or even whole subjects that they could in fact enjoy and learn from, if only they were able to.

The paternalistic role of the school establishment is abused - where disciplining for violent behavior is commendable, many teachers are not aware of how far they should go, or even how far they actually are putting off their students. It is not coincidence that the progress of a student over an academic year is usually consistent with that of the first two weeks - as in this short time the attitude of teacher and student to each other is formed, and without intervention a negative feeling toward the subject or the person presenting it will stick.

"Education is what happens when you leave school." - Albert Einstein

So called 'high achieving' schools have a darker side that is hurriedly swept under the carpet by administrators. Adolescents, and even children, are subjected to intimidation in order to push them to work for the dubious standards of such establishments. These mental labour camps have massively disproportionate rates of depression, eating disorders, social isolation and suicide attempts. When these desperate students try to take their own lives it is the most compelling cry for help imaginable, an SOS for escape from the hell that they are forced to endure. In some cases students turn their aggression away from themselves, and towards their fellow academics. Some rare but highly publicised cases of such deep hatred were seen in America at the firearm equipped massacres in 2002.

A desire for qualifications and honors is motivated by insecurity and uncertainty. A teachers most precious gift is self belief and direction. School would ideally be a center for young minds to explore the vast expanses of stimulating knowledge and ideas that the world has to offer. In reality most schools are falling far short of this mark - teachers are not even given the chance to do their best, being suffocated in beurocracy and external exam ratings.

Children are highly sensitive and receptive creatures. They absorb everything around them, whether intended or not. Immersing a child in richly stimulating environments will make them thrive. Conversely sitting them in a stagnant atmosphere, fenced in by fear of punishment, will create troubled minds.

 

Truly teaching is a delicate collaboration of knowledge and expression. Extolling facts and figures to a class is totally ineffective without a willing mind to receive them. The most selfless and generous form of teaching is like gently spreading seeds into carefully prepared soil. By establishing respect and trust in your students, and then giving them ideas and thoughts to play with, education can really begin.

Learning occurs within the student and is achieved best when they seek knowledge for themselves. Laying seeds like this is more valuable than any form of route learning or repetition, even if only one in a thousand germinates.
The effect is profound. By letting the individual nurture the idea themselves, they will root it in personal meaning, and from there they can truly use the insight within.

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled."

 

Do you know this man? he is wanted for thinking against the grain....

 

 

 

 

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