We assumed that knowledge is education,
And we printed books stuffed with knowledge.
Then made bags to stuff the books..
Then a desk to keep the bag.
Then a room to keep the desks
And a building for all the rooms..
Now we think the building is education.
The definitions we currently have of school, education and art have become so strongly embedded into us that they’re controlling our lives and limiting our potential. When we’re functioning under the assumption that the school building, the pile of books and a grade card is education, we leave no space for activities that actually develop a child’s personality. These definitions have lost relavence and turned into meaningless stereotypes, and they need to be trashed right away.
Here are some stereotypes we need to stop RIGHT NOW if we want children to move ahead in the course of human evolution-
“Art is just a hobby”
This assumption is so unfounded, I wonder when people started to agree with it. Did the cave dwellers of the paleolithic era begin their day with some arithmetic before going for a hunt, and then casually draw on their walls as a hobby? Art has been the primary form of expression for longer than language has been around, before math and science saw any progress. The only reason we have pushed art into a corner called ‘optional’ is because we have defined it by its final output – a perfectly crafted work of art that looks like another perfectly crafted work of art. Art is not a product, but the process. Every human being needs this process, especially children.
“I’m not the creative, artistic type”
The definition of an artistic person is unreasonably narrow these days. Creativity is not just being able draw a pretty portrait or landscape. It comes in different forms – writing a report, serving a good meal and even painting pictures with words that make people laugh and think. To say that a human being is not creative is preposterous. That’s the unique quality that makes us humans; millions of years of evolution has gone into developing this quality. We need to stop judging the fish on its ability to climb trees, and let children discover their own forms of creativity.
Good at art vs. Not good at art
Saying a child is good at art and another is not good at art, is like saying that one child laughs well and the other is slightly off key. The more we compare children’s art works to that of professional artists, the more we get dissatisfied with the quality of artistic abilities in our children. But the aim of an art class is not to produce the next Michelangelo, just like the aim of Maths class is not really to make every child reinvent zero. It is important to appreciate the personal journey of each child, and make sure to give them a safe space to express themselves.
“No art class during exams!”
This is very similar to other rules like “no sports during exams” and “ no friends during exams” that can be basically summarized as
“Sit alone and stuff your brain with information”
Sadly, the human brain doesn’t function like that; it’s not divided into compartments labelled ‘Science’ and ‘Sports’ and ‘Art’ like the way we have it in schools. They all work together in a learning process. Sometimes it helps to read out loud, and sometimes when we draw a mind map, sometimes through discussion. Some children learn best through hands on experience. But when each subject is defined by its prescribed textbook, we don’t find space for anything else.
If education was a software, it would no longer be compatible with the world we live in today. We seem to be training children in mechanical skills, and expecting them to make an original contribution to the world. It’s time to delete some of these ideas, and upgrade.