What School Leaves Out (and a slight sociological critique)

What is the education system meant for? It’s supposed to educate the populace–the future generation, the future of our world. But what are some of the major things missing from our educational system?

If we’re training and educating the people for the future, I feel like we’re leaving a lot of really important things out.

What we learn:
First of all, what do people learn in the education system?

Teenage girl studying

History: sure that’s important. It’s good to know where you come from and learn lessons from the past.

Mathematics: important for all up to a basic level; and important for those pursuing technical careers.

Literature and grammar: of course, it’s important to know how to read and learn how to communicate via the written word. But is it about communication or just reading supposedly exceptional pieces of literary work? I personally hated literature classes when I was in school though because of the limitation I felt by teachers’ opinions (just a personal gripe).

Science: great way to explore and know the world around you.

Religion (sometimes and limited): this seems to only be taught in religious schools (to my knowledge). I went to a Catholic school so religious studies was more of a general indoctrination into their belief system rather than an objective and analytical analysis of religion and a comparison to other philosophies.

What’s missing from the educational system:
It seems like most of the learning we do is based on very technical knowledge absorption. However what’s really lacking are some of the most important values we should attempt, as humans, to learn. Here are some things I think could and should be added to the education system:

Communication: dealing with others is the most important human skill and requirement of society. Kids need tools for communicating and ways to do so in person, in writing, and now online. Bullying is a big problem with children that ought to be addressed through proper communication building, and later in life, miscommunication is one of the single greatest causal factors for war and personal problems.

Financial literacy: people are increasingly falling deeper and deeper into debt. This may be tied to the fact that we have a “give it to me now” attitude and a sense of entitlement to everything from cars and big houses to iphones and the rest. What about earning things and saving for yourself? Instead it’s buy me this, buy me that, I don’t have to earn something first,  I can pay for it later.

This ties a lot into a BIG problem in our society–the pass the buck attitude. Let’s use all of our fuel sources and pollute the world and get what we want now, and pay for it later. We are an increasingly disciplineless society that searches for instant gratification and tries to escape the consequences later. (Some may argue that there is some level of financial literature in school, but it’s abysmal from what I recall).

Life Management: how about learning how to deal with our own lives? How to deal and cope with loss and conflict properly, how to have and maintain healthy relationships, setting goals and striving to achieve them, learning how to appreciate what we have, and all other aspects of life that prove to be difficult and ought to be learned.

Where is this in the system? We just figure they’ll learn it themselves? The problem is that people don’t–they end up stuck in abusive relationships, not having proper coping mechanisms, failing to meet their goals or know how to properly pursue them, and lack an appreciation for what they have.

Philosophy: what about the big questions about our purposes in life? If people grow up without thinking of their purposes, or why we’re here, what will people strive for in life? Without searching for the truth of life, a universal human need since the Ancient Greeks and before, what do people strive to accomplish?—-their own self interests.

But what is our educational system but the indoctrination of future generations to what we think they ought to believe? Let’s be honest about its purpose. If that’s the case, what about educating people to become not only individual interested, but also societal interested. One thing I can never stress enough is that a purpose beyond yourself can add a true sense of purpose to people’s lives and a feeling of being useful and needed, wherein our present society, individuals are merely cogs in the great machine, quickly outsourced and replaced.

Spirituality: connected to philosophy is spiritual philosphy. I’m not just talking about indoctrinating children into the dominant religious belief of the locality. I’m talking about posing the hard questions on religion as well, and allowing people to compare between them, (atheism included). People ought to have the chance to think critically about their belief systems and not just blindly follow them into wars and wherever else they sometimes lead.

Volunteerism and Virtue: how about educating people to be good citizens–helping others and being helpful to the world. Let’s show people the joy that can be had when you are good to others and help them to flourish and succeed. Humans are undoubtably social creatures and to work well with others in society is an important virtue that we all ought to learn and have instilled upon us.

Food for thought:

I think that these are important things for us to think about. Why don’t people really question the educational system and how we can make it better? Just because it’s been around for a while and we all grew up with it?

How about even asking children and more mature students what they want to learn and what they feel would be important to learn? C’mon people, let’s not just be satisfied with what is, let’s demand more and better things, not only for us, but for the future. What do you think?

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One Response to What School Leaves Out (and a slight sociological critique)

  1. Pingback: A review of MMU. Manchester Metropolitan University | CyclingforRekko

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