No such thing as a free school lunch

What is happening in New Zealand that resistance to change means that change shouldn’t happen? First MFAT and now the Department of Education.

It is a reality that every person I meet – hundreds  each month – have to come to terms with significant change every 6 months or so. For many, uncertainty about their “tenure” is an ever-present concern. Why should certain sectors of society be insulated from economic realities just because they yell loudly? That’s not the real world.

A widely-held view is that the education system is the one system that has undergone the least change in the last 200 years.

Pre-schoolers are….

  • Receptive to endless options and constant new ideas
  • Imaginative, creative and resourceful
  • Keen to learn and grow
  • Initiating and trying new things
  • Open to influence (by those in authority)
  • Adaptable, flexible….

all the things businesses need in employees in order to survive tough times. They perpetually think  with a question mark. (Neil Postman)

They exit after 12 years of submersion in the education (retardation?) system:

  • Inflexible
  • Resistant
  • Rigid
  • Single-minded
  • Passive
  • Ready to blame everyone else for everything they don’t like…..thinking with a full stop.

For people to exit the education system with all the qualities needed for effective contribution to Business New Zealand they need role models who demonstrate self leadership, exemplify self-reinvention and undergo self-change. Instead they witness entrenched interests and closed minds.

I am reminded of a complaint letter circulating internationally from a teacher to parents complaining that their child had corrected the teacher in the class. The teacher admitted the child was right but believed that was quite beside the point. Need I say more?

What made me woefully unprepared for life was not class sizes (ours were about 35) but the fact that no one:

  • Explained to me how to use my brain the way it was designed (speed reading, quick learning etc.)
  • Showed me how to develop original and advanced thinking
  • Role modelled constant self-change and reinvention
  • Pushed me to meet my full potential and constantly challenge my own mental boundaries.

That would’ve truly been an education – not slicing carrots and learning to sew a hem. (I learnt both from my mom but to be honest, I buy most food ready made and take my clothes to an alterations shop.)

It was outside school that I met the real teachers in my life.

Today, society needs people who are flexible, resourceful, creative, lateral in thinking, respectful of alternate views, challenging of the status quo, self-driven and self-reliant. Not what they learn in a teacher-centric education system that self preserves at all costs, and has done so for over 200 years. Something has to change.


About Cherri Holland

Fascinated with business, brains and how to use the brains on the payroll to make business buzz.
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