Education is going to change.
As all things evolve, so must this massive system left to us by a wayward Empire that we see only small traces of elsewhere. There will be a shift in education that eventually will affect each young person, though I, and we, can’t quite be sure of this path of change. It could be something like:
- An evolution of the early education system that permeates through the later years
- A bubble bursting and radical changes take place quickly
- A bankrupt-ed, graduating class rebels, demands change in the University system and that change trickles down
……or a variety of other ways.
When it changes, what will it look like? Well, I think we first have to ask ourself what do we want it to look like. I have an idea — almost too small in its scope but one that might serve as a framework on which to build a larger, more operative system.
It’s basic, not entirely copacetic (or possibly even believable), but it’s something may fuel the conversation of change.
It comes down to three words:
Love. Learn. Sell.
That’s it. Three steps. Chronologically. Easy.
Let’s break those down a bit.
Children are the world’s greatest lovers. No, I don’t mind that in a sexual manner. I mean in the context of curiosity, of innocence, of unadulterated (notice the components of that word) passions and enthusiasm.
Children, for the most part, see the world around them and want a part of all of it. There is no limit to their adventuring, no bridle on which they have to conform to the shoulds of the world (unless we make them, and we do).
So, let’s them love.
In the context of education, this means finding something they like. Something that speaks to them. That makes their hearts pitter-patter, skip a beat. Stop in the presence of that first thing that clicks with them.
This will be their first professional path. It may come at age 10. It may come at 24 or 63 and it certainly does not have to happen only once — but finding something you love starts the educational process I’m proposing.
What’s an education without some learning, right?
This is the crux of the process — of course. How could it not be? But we’ve taken learning into a new realm. We’ve made it forced observation. We’ve made it deductive reasoning. We’ve taken the specific out of learning — in favor of liberal arts attitudes, applications, and aesthetics. We think we give kids the toolbox they’ll need to succeed in life. But that toolbox is older than the pre-Lindbergh. It’s out-of-date and, as such, ceases to be a toolbox and instead just becomes a box.
In this, it is the love that dictates the learning. First step & second step.
The second step is composed of a very specific educational experience — directly related to what that student has found that he/she “loves” from the first step. It harkens back to the apprenticeship model, though it doesn’t have to be so one-side as that.
A University system can still exist here — with classroom curriculum being focused on some of the more non-specific material about that “love” (let’s say the love was architecture, the classroom portion could be geometry, for instance). From there, the student works with an expert in that particular field. A sort of job training before the job exists. An internship program at the heart of education — or apprenticeship systemized as part of the education system, not divorced from it.
Learning, however, is more of a means than an end and instead of sending a student into the world with an degree notifying some kind of educational aptitude, there’s one last step.
Sell, in this case, isn’t as simple as the push to exchange some kinds of goods or services.
Instead, sell in this education schematic refers more to fitting oneself into the world’s ecosystem.
Students, after their “learn” step, need to confer their own place in the wider atmosphere or marketplace. If they want to be entrepreneur, so be it. But sell the world on your abilities and make it happen.
If a student wants to join a big firm, that’s great. We’ll need that to happen. In this case, the “sell” might be something akin to the standard job interview we have now.
But, that job interview-ish selling will have come after the first two steps, which confirms (1) a genuine interest in that job/field and (2) a specific education pertaining to that work.
In the “sell” step, through some kind of internship or apprenticeship previously, students learn where to sell themselves and how. It’s no secret that getting a career going in different fields can be specific to that field. An entrepreneur may not have to wait three years to “move up”. And businessmen are judged on their punctuality; which artists, for instance, might not be.
The “sell” is the last part of the three-step education process and the bridge to the next part: a life based around a passion and career.
And so the education system closes itself. It can be reopened at anytime, in one’s seventies if need be. Older students, too, will want to learn how to sell themselves back into the market.
Three-steps. Basic. But it can start a larger conversation on both the macro and micro level.
It’s time for education to change and adapt to what we need. The first adaptation can be simple: a push for online learning, for instance. But it can also be a mindset shift. We want education to be whole — to provide all that is needed before the next step. As it stands, it provides too much, holds too many back because of it, and that information is vague and opaque.
Let’s change that.