Are we sending our kids to Schools or Factories?
Yes I call our education system as factory system . What is wrong with the factory system?
• Hours : Children spend 6-7 hours a day in school in listening to the teaching of teachers except couple of breaks in between. They cant stand six hours of teaching. Physically they sit in class but their minds will be wandering to places. That is what we all will do if we are asked to attend a seminar of six hours which we are not interested in. Imagine the pressure on children everyday for years.
• Subjects : Knowledge is divided into subjects. Subjects are divided into classes. Teacher covers a topic limiting to the time given to each class and the bell rings and subjects change. It is such a mechanical process. Machines can work like that. Children dont like that. Real learning doesn’t happen this way. When they learn things they are interested in they need enough time to explore and understand.
• Questions : Children love asking questions. Inquisitive is their nature if being. But in schools children’s questions are restricted to academics only. They can’t ask questions outside of it. That also they dont get opportunity everytime to ask questions. Learning is not just academics for them. But slowly they give up and stop asking questions. That is when the learning stops.
• Instructions: In school children are given instructions all the time about everything. Children’s original imagination and creativity gets destroyed. Adults take control of their minds and they are trained like circus animals and follow given instructions. That’s why I call it sit, shut and behave.This makes them slave minded. Authenticity is destroyed. If we are given instructions all day along, how far we will be able to survive? Poor children take it for years.
• Authority : There is always a higher authority to tell them what to do and what not. There are always predefined activities they have to take part in. They don’t have freedom to say no even if they are not interested. Children in school do most of things to get approval of the teacher. That’s why children in classrooms are frightened and self protecting.
• Socialization: Children cant talk in between classes. They wait for the bell to ring to have a couple of minutes of talk before next teacher arrives. During lunch break they are taught to eat their lunch in silence. Even in the early years when a child is talkative the child gets a warning and complaints of this go to parents in PTMs. Your child lacks concentration is what they tell. Really? Where is the scope for socialization here ? There is no need to put them in artificial set up of four walls with same age group divided by so called standards. Do we interact with only same age people ?
• Rewards: Rewards destroy the learning desire in children. They stop enjoying, understanding the process and learning and aim is to only get those stars, those marks. Rewards induce compliance. They start doing everything to get approval, to get those rewards. They always look for end result. In this process they stop being themselves.
• Exams/Tests : Its a myth that knowledge needs to be tested on a paper and marks or grades. It is just a memorization test. After a month of test if you ask the same questions to the children, they dont remember anything. They are anxious because they are being tested all the time. We judge them based on the marks and grades. The judgement stays with them forever. The fear of failure and punishment reduces their ability to perceive.
• Learning pace : Each child has their own pace of learning. Some like to take things slow and some like to grasp things fast. Is there any scope for own pace in school ? It’s all about finish the chapters, syllabus and academic year. Those who like to take things slow they are labelled as “slow learner”. They are slow might also be because they like to immerse in one thing and understand it completely. Slow is not negative. But the labels they carry with them for life. It is always about who answers first ? Who finishes first ? The rat race starts from very young age.
• Fitting in a box: Same method of teaching is used for all students. Each child is unique. But schools shave off their uniqueness and make them fit in the box. All have unique learning styles, unique capabilities, unique interests. But schools can’t cater to that. Children are expected to adapt and adjust.
• Freedom : The word freedom is foreign to the education system. No freedom to choose what they want to learn, when and how they want to learn. No freedom to even use washrooms when they want (Even prisoners have that freedom). No freedom to ask questions outside of academics. No freedom to eat food when they are hungry. They are always under control of an authority. Schools fail children. They can only make factorty workers.
• Punishment and shame : Children by nature are free spirited. In schools each time a child does anything they are under constant fear of punishment and shame. Either by the teacher or by the peers around. They are scared to give wrong answers. It screws up children’s self confidence. Always other eyes watching and judging can make anyone feel frightened.
• Curriculum: Learning certain set of things at certain age is important is also another misconception. No one asks what the child is interested in learning here. Curriculum consists of so much of overloaded information which we do not or hardly use once we are out from school. How much of your curriculum are you using in your job or in your day to day life ? As aptly said by John holt “Since we can’t know what knowledge will be needed in future, it is senseless to try to teach them in advance. Instead we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned “
We are making them helpless and incapable of having control of their own life. Children are very much capable of creating knowledge required for their need for each age and stage. What we do makes their capability limited by making them follow the second hand information. Children learn best in an environment which is exactly opposite to that of school. Education system is making them failures. Education is forced on children and it kills the natural drive and desire for learning. That is why all children in school just want to complete it somehow and get over with it. Formal education shuts down your inner voice. It’s always somebody outside of you telling what to do, how to do, when to do. That is why we have so many shallow adults in society today.
Author: Deepti Nikhil Tikota