Creating Inspired Adults, Not Worker Bees
I’m currently taking the class Frameworks in American Education with Mike Taber (who is incredible, by the way). Today we brought up the idea of the new paradigm. That is, we discussed in class possible paper ideas where we propose a shift or change in the American educational system. One of the ideas that came up is inspiring adulthood and responsibility at an earlier age. Having done research already on a variety of domestic and international educational models in combination with being a public school student K-12, I feel this to be a pressing issue.
Education in America is compulsory, which means that children are required to begin school at a certain age and continue that schooling until their graduation from high school. As we progress through this experience, we’re told to do this and that. You should get good grades. You should ace all your tests. You should place well on the ACT or SAT. You should go to college. You should graduate. You should get a high-paying job. But is all this for the sake of what? Our educational system here in America manufactures students. It produces mass quantities of students who have no idea what they truly want to do with there life. Where along the line did our system forget that education is for the individual? Is my education for the sake of the boss who will be hiring me upon graduation, or is it for me as a responsible, adult human being?
My high school was a magnet school. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this idea, students choose a track within their high school either upon entering or within the end of the first year. For example, my high school was an Arts/Science Magnet. We offered tracks such as instrumental music, vocal music, graphic art, traditional art and science. Once you have chosen a track, you are assigned an adviser and you work with that adviser in order to construct a four-year project within your magnet that will eventually be presented or completed just before graduation. Sound familiar? This process definitely prepared me for my experience here at CC. Declaring a major? Well, done that before. Worked with an adviser? Check. Worked towards completion of an intensive major or project? Mmhm.
The magnet experience provided for me. I know how to manage time. I know how to undertake a massive responsibility with intimidation. I know how to be a leader and how to also work in cooperation with others. High school experiences vary greatly from place to place and school to school, as I have observed in meeting many different people in my three years here. But what if an adult level of maturity, of preparation, of responsibility, became the face of American education? What if the emphasis in education shifted from getting a job to something more derivative of a capable worker–being a good, functioning adult? This is not to say that we should eliminate World History classes, Algebra classes or Chemistry. But in a fast-paced world where you’re expected to hit the ground sprinting and expected to survive on your own, shouldn’t we be given the tools to do so?
The future in education is in building human beings. The future lies in building capable adults. This is derivative of everything. Dreams, aspirations and goals stem from the tree that is intrinsic motivation; how can we possibly find our own calling without being given the opportunity? We should be inspired by something other than money in our educational experience, realizing that more than just a job comes from years of sitting at a desk, writing assignments and reading textbooks. How are we expected to change this issue in education? I’m not exactly sure. Maybe there should be more magnet schools available. I intend to find out more in the writing of my paper. I am continually impressed and thankful for the wonderful thought and dialogue that comes from CC courses.