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An Essay on the Present Education System
We live differently in the 21st century. This century is highly connected with technology advancement, high mobility, globalization, and generation Z. Generation Z or iGeneration is a name used for the cohort of people born from the early 2000s to the present day. This generation has some different characteristics with its preceding generation, allowing us to implement different approach in education.
Our Education System: Today
I will start with the problem of our current education system. The biggest problem is, it did not motivate kids. Millions of kids do not know any purposing of going to school, except obligation. When we went to school we were indoctrinated by scenario: work hard, rewarded did well, get a college, and finally you will have a job. But in the future, it is not guarantee anymore, not if the route to it marginalises what you think important about yourself. Moreover, facing the unpredictable economic circumstances.
This current system was designed and conceived for a different age: Victorians, between 18th and 19th century. It was arranged in the intellectual culture of the enlightenment and in the economic circumstances of the industrial revolution. The intellectual model of the mind stated that the real intelligence consist of capacity of deductive reasoning and knowledge of the classics, what we come to think as academic ability. It divides people to academic and non academic, smart people and non-smart people. In consequences, many brilliant people think that they are not.
In this system, these kids are medicated. They are forced to forget any distraction such as games, iphones, television, and focus to the boring stuff at school. Students start losing their interest, hardly thinking straight, and losing their attention completely. In class, they are given the theory and required to memorize it, without knowing the relevant of that context in real world. That is why students still disengaged.
It becomes more severe with quantitative standardised testing. They only know they oblige to study and pass the standard. Education is modeled based on the interest of industrialization and in the image of it. Schools are organised on factory lines and students are its manufactured products. The Victorians produce education which remake us photocopy of each other. How do you be submissive, how do you sit patiently be disengaged for about two hours and take it. The arts are the victims of this mentality.
The arts, especially address the idea of aesthetic experience, when senses are operating at their peak. When we arresting about the excitement of these things with our experiencing, when we are fully alive. While anaesthetic is experience which shut your senses off and deaden yourself to what is happening. We are getting our children educated by anaesthetising them. The implications are easy to be described. These kids only give answers based on what their teacher said. They are afraid to see things from different perspectives, lose their critical skill, and very bad predicting what will make them happy.
The New Model of School
Designing new model of education needs collaboration of students, teachers, schools, and government. Lets start with basic question, what kind of output that we really want from education system? I always imagine if schools can be place where students can come excitingly, full of self-directed knowledge, so much more passion and information about they want to do. It is the real learning process, they learn something when they have reason to learn it.
First, we should waking them up to what is inside of themselves! If we are interested in the model of learning, we should not start from production line mentality. We have to change our direction from conformity-standardised testing and curriculum to divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is an essential capacity for creativity-the process of having original ideas that have value. It is ability to see lots of possible answers to a question, lots of ways to interpret a question, and to think laterally, not just in linear or convergent ways. We might not judge this subject is superior and this is not. We teach them how to believe their self interest, appreciate it, and facilitate that. It also crucial to change the culture of our institutions that treat academic students as the potentials product and non-academic students as the residuals.
Second, we have to cut the disengaged chain between school and the reality. We must revised our goal: score oriented become exploration oriented. Students are not teached how to answer questions on the exam, but how one problem in the real word can be connected and answered by theory they learned in the class. They must not forced to forget their favourite games or television channels, but we lead combine them with education. The point is, we do not limit their imagination. They may come with unique questions or even unanswerable, but it is the way they can start thinking critically.Students will understand how their school linked to their life, and they used to see things from science perspective.
Third, focusing on the reading comprehension and critical skill. Actually, it based on Indonesia condition. Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) assessment revealed that the reading ability of Indonesian children is low. Whereas, reading ability is the fundamental of science learning. Why it can happen? One of the reason is, we do not have reading comprehension curriculum, we only have language curriculum. I also have just learned that reading to understanding is by making annotation beside the important paragraph and rewrite it on our own words through essay, not the multiple choice. The multiple choice-we used to use, is not stimulate students to love literacy and read, causing the open-minded is not formed. Finally, they do not know how to solve a problem-things they will face in reality.
As I said before, this education reform also need teacher collaboration. We know, sometimes teacher treats their students as how they were treated by their teacher. It is totally different. Today generation is immune from such rigid school and strict rules are not effective anymore. Teachers have to know how to make them go to school voluntarily and fully motivated. The classroom has to be designed to provide enough space for improving students imagination and exploration. However, teachers are the executor of curriculum in the class. Go through country with the best education system, Finland, teachers there are well educated and trained. Better education system need better human resource to deliver it.
Finally, what I hope to be in the new model of school and high school for 21st century are the students that full of learning enthusiasm and the teachers that focuses on exploration rather than how to prepare students passing the exam. I want reading-writing culture and curiosity colored the school. I do not want modern institution dumped critical thinking just because there is not any argument facilitator. Education is not knowledge transfer that remake students as a blueprint of their teacher. Students must have ability to transform the knowledge, so the final goal of education to put out generations who can answer the era threat can be achieved. As the Malcolm Forbes quotes "Education's purpose to replace an empty mind with an open one"