Thursday, 24 March 2011

Saved By The Bell

We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control”, the British kids protest, the Pink Floyd song literally taken to heart. Most of them not knowing who the band are. Exercising their right not to learn, but very much to be heard. The point is they're not faring much better on their own. Public or state educated it doesn't matter, the results are the same. Drop outs and poor grades. Our hedonistic lifestyles competing with the boredom of class. Lessons contained within four walls, there's no contest. Outside distractions, the winner every time.

Jamie's Dream School showing this to be true. 20 teenagers offered a second chance, star teachers lined up at the gate. Eager to share their wisdom, inspire these young minds. A register of students, with poor grades to their name. These lucky few saved by the bell, Jamie Oliver's dream. A last minute intervention before it gets too late. Kids failed by the system so Jamie says, but where should we place the blame? Teacher, student or parent? Surely the figures do not lie. Schools are performing worse, as each year goes by. Some taught spoon fed, we'll-hold-your-hand techniques. A boost to the league tables, school moved up a notch. Board of governors happy with their new slot. Pupils and teachers, the ones who suffer from this backward scheme. Dark sarcasm in the classroom now coming from the kids. Back chat and mobile phones, the bane of teaching life. The Pink Floyd lyric now revised: “Hey, kids! Leave those teachers alone!” Teenage years a difficult time, learning the last thing on their mind. Keeping up appearances, surrounded by their peers, the world evolves 'round ME, and other teen thoughts made exceedingly clear. Education doesn't stand a chance in this sorry state.

How do we pull ourselves out of this black hole? By changing how we learn. The belief: you get out what you put in, the way ahead. Inspiring dreams and hidden talents to pursue. Younger kids engaged with a fun, creative way to learn. Teenagers craving respect, their input to be earned. Lessons informally conducted, given on a level they can comprehend. An interactive process of practical and debate. The exchange used to teach communicative styles, not war and hate. Desperate to be considered adults, it's life skills that should be taught. Why can't lessons be more relevant to how life's really sought? Health, nutrition and cooking a must, how to budget instead of maths a big plus, parenting and relationship skills, cultural and societal differences ideal. Life's richness conveyed in all its norm, these the lessons to be born.

This the new curriculum to enforce. An educational reform we can build and trust. Each of us “nother brick in the wall.” Brick by brick, a better society will be formed.