I am not necessarily one of the many Seth Godin worshippers that seem to be abundantly present in our country nowadays. But then again: I probably just don't have the 'fan gen' it takes to undertake any kind of pilgrimage to festivals of the musical, philisophical, marketing... kind. But that's beside the point. I did come across an interesting post by the man who's lately had the honour of becoming one the most popular hashtags in Twitter history; here it is (found via Generatie x, y of Einstein):
It's absurd to look at a three year old toddler and say, "this kid can't read or do math or even string together a coherent paragraph. He's a dolt and he's never going to amount to anything." No, we don't say that because we know we can teach and motivate and cajole the typical kid to be able to do all of these things.
Why is it okay, then, to look at a teenager and say, "this kid will never be a leader, never run a significant organization, never save a life, never inspire or create..."
Just because it's difficult to grade doesn't mean it shouldn't be taught.
Never mind a teenager. I think it's wrong to say that about someone who's fifty.
Isn't it absurd to focus so much energy on 'practical' skills that prep someone for a life of following instructions but relentlessly avoid the difficult work necessary to push someone to reinvent themselves into becoming someone who makes a difference?
And isn't it even worse to write off a person or an organization merely because of what they are instead of what they might become?
My guess is that anybody with a teenager in secondary school will, at some point, recognize the feeling. I know I do. Without referring to any teenager in particular (and now I hope it will take some time for him to learn sufficient English in order to fully grasp this post :-)), our current educational system is very much aimed at forming a future employee and not a whole person with talents and opportunities.
Apart from the fact that many of the things that are being taught today will probably be redundant or obsolete later on, some basic lifelong skills (such as profound understanding, reading, writing and communication skills) are simply insufficiently instructed. But moreover, it is my impression that the system itself is creating ever more numerous pupils who are fed up with being told they are not good enough, don't try hard enough, are wasting their talents and so on and so forth.
Am I entitled to say this? After all, I am a part of this very system. I don't know... Allow me to reflect on that a bit longer. :-)
In any case: perhaps basic teacher training should start with this message from Alan Watts (I know that I posted it before; but the more I think about it, the more I can see its profound and somewhat shocking truth): http://souljerky.com/_media/swf/alan_watts_life.swf .