Surviving the Death Valley of Education


It is no secret that education systems across the globe are failing to fulfill the needs of their students and staff, nor are they meeting the needs and expectations of local communities and the larger social fabric.

In some areas of the U.S. high school dropout rates are as high as 60%, in some Native American communities it is up to 80%. In the next ten years it is estimated the U.S economy’s net gain would be over 1 trillion dollars if the rates were cut in half.[i]

Creativity expert Ken Robinson proposes three principles in the culture of education:

1) Naturally Diverse and Different

The current system has been designed for achieving high test scores in particular subjects. The talent pool and success of students is severely restricted by focusing on only a few subjects, such as math and science. Kids who are interested in humanities or arts struggle to find a way to succeed and can be curriculum led to believe they are dumb.

2) Curiosity

Learning cannot take place without teaching but it is possible to have teaching without the students learning. In many schools the main focus is memorizing materials to achieve high test scores, doing little to advance the students’ knowledge. The quality of education depends on the facilitation of learning and environment. Students are curious and wanting to learn when they are actively engaged in a variety of subjects which can be then applied to the real world.

3) Help and Support

Many students do not have access to the help or support they need in their learning careers. This is a particular challenge in larger, understaffed or underdeveloped school systems. The countries which are struggling need to look at the smaller and more successful systems, finding ways to adapt and apply some of those same principle actions.

”Personal dimensions of teacher-student relationships are part of the story. I can easily identify the professors whose passion and engagement let me to learn and develop lifelong interests. At the same time, I can remember those whose class I was a total waste, no matter how important the subject. For these I studied just to pass tests.”

– George Simons

Designing for a better future

Education holds power through influence. The people in academia need to use their influence to develop the world. Millions of people are not reaching their full potential because they were not equipped with quality education and taught the skills they really needed to succeed. The foundation which is built in education continues to affect our lives after leaving academia. Learning, growing and developiong is shaped by what we were taught.

Education needs to support and aim for a success which comes from recognizing the diverse talent pool of students, stimulating natural curiosity to learn, and investing in the future of education and the planet.

Is it all sounding a bit too good to be true?

That educational reformation is possible despite the global crises, poor economic conditions and the current state of education. All of these can be seen as obstacles to overcome. There are already places in the world where students are curious to learn, embrace diversity and get the help and support they need. In these cases, more responsibility is given to the teachers and staff which know the specific needs of their students and the current situation.

An Example:

Business degrees are ranked in the top ten common study paths in most countries. Programs tend to have similar approaches to the basic and expected curriculum.

You would be shocked to learn…

Over half of my degree studies have been completed, with my thesis in its finishing stages after only one year in a Finnish University as an undergraduate International Business student.

This was made possible by the support of the staff at my university, tutors, counselors and all of the others helped create my customized learning path. It was challenging, it took a lot of time, dedication and hard work but it was worth it!

“The real role of leadership in education is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility. And if you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you completely did not anticipate and couldn't have expected.”

– Ken Robinson

Never did I feel that the quality of learning was sacrificed nor that I was limited from my personal learning style. I was treated with respect and given both challenges and great opportunities.

The Future of Education:

  • Multi-cultural and diverse environments
  • Theory + real and practical experience
  • Study abroad opportunities

Changing the education system means getting everyone actively involved, in both the local and global communities in providing opportunities for growth and development for students and the companies they work with.

Where I am today would not have been possible without the support of my university and the opportunity given by participation in the migrant diversophy® project. It has been a wonderful experience to be a part of a team in a company which has impacted other students, migrants and citizens from all over the globe. Combining our resources, connecting across boundaries and learning from each other is a start to a better future.

If you are interested in partnering with diversophy® for an academic project contact us through our webpage and see what opportunities diversophy® is developing that address your interests.

 

 Inspired by Ken Robinson's speech

[i] https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley?language=en#t-147962

 

 


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