Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blindly into the future

First term is over. Time for a little reflection on the tumultuous couple of months that have just passed. Big realization comes hot on the heels of the iCTLT: what the heck are we trying to do, preparing the kids for a future neither they nor we nor the experts have a clue about? We're the blind leading the blind, and where we're going, nobody knows.

We're better off simply preparing the kids for a much more certain here and now. If you don't do your homework, if you don't practice this past exam paper, you will fail your end-of-year exams. That's pretty certain.

Why go all the way out of our depth about this? We should let go, and let the kids discover their future for themselves. That's their destiny, and they will embrace it, and adapt themselves to it when it becomes relevant to them. For now, their only future lies 7-8 months ahead of them. That's as far as they can see, and in reality, our crystal ball only scries within the same limits.

School isn't about preparing kids for the future. Never was. School is about teaching kids the wisdom of their elders, their traditions and their roots. Let's continue to do what we've always done best: ground kids in the skills and techniques that have worked well for us, and let them figure out how to innovate around what we've taught them in order to get around the problems they will face in the future. It's up to us to give them the base of our past knowledge and up to them to inscribe the knowledge they acquire from the future to pass on to their subsequent generations.

If they don't learn their past from school, they won't learn it anywhere else.

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