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Shifting education goals

Education should teach children how to ask appropriate questions, how to analyse a problem, stimulate a desire to learn, and flexibility to consider different points of view.

Education should teach children how to ask appropriate questions, how to analyse a problem, stimulate a desire to learn, and flexibility to consider different points of view.

One of the biggest problems of education today is that the ‘factory model’ of teaching: the top-down approach and the rewards-and-punishments ap­proach, limit students’ ability to contribute with their imagination and creativity.

In the Finnish educational model, active learning is taken seriously. Schoolchildren do not sit at their desks memorising
- Natasa Pantovic

The system needs a shift in focus: from one that teaches children a curriculum, to the one that inspires lifelong learning. Education has to shift from conveying knowledge in a static curriculum package to enabling teachers and students to view knowledge as a dynamic entity that is constantly changing.

Both Waldorf and Montessori learning methods establish a collaborative environment without tests, with the child’s learning and creativity at the centre of the focus. They go against the grain of traditional educational methods.

Some students who experienced such schooling went on to launch revolutionary business models.

Larry Page and Sergei Brin, both ex-Montessori students, launched Google. Amazon’s marketing strategy, designed by ex-Montessori student Jeff Bezos, involves ‘planting seeds’ in people’s heads to buy their desired books.

What these people also have in common is the ability to develop simple but ingenious ideas into extraordinary profitable projects.

The Finns are the current leaders of educational reform. In the Finn­ish educational model, active learning and ‘holistic’ development is taken seriously. In Finland, school­children do not sit at their desks memorising; they walk around their places gathering information or discussing ideas in work-groups.

Their schools are an extension of their homes. Students share respon­sibility to undertake tasks. They take care of the school’s pet tortoises and fish, they water the plants, help in the library, emply wastepaper baskets and recycle waste and keep the school yard clean. They also help in the school kitchen and in the distrubution of lunch.

The ‘rightful’ goal of education should be to help children bring out and expand their talents and learn how to live to the full their mental, emotional and physical potential.

Waldorf schools follow this ‘integral’ approach to develop a child’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual capacities. In such schools children are fully involved in each lesson: their thinking hat is constantly on, they fully connect with the subject matter, they are in­spired, and the learning approach fully stimulates their curiosity.

Communication between teachers and students is shifted from following commands to enaging in conversation that helps students discover new methods and solve problems. Education is aimed to help children develop their interaction with the world, teaching them how to ask appropriate questions, how to analyse a problem, stimulating a desire to learn, and flexibility to consider different viewpoints.

Since we live in the world of constant changes, our children should be constantly exploring play, innovation, and developing imagination as a cornerstone of learning.

Knowledge is fluid and evolving, and we need to set in play the cultural viewpoint that acknowledges this constant change and evaluates creativity as the base of the new world they will be creating.

If these ideas resonate with you or if you are interested in this type of education for your children e-mail [email protected].

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