HAVE you ever seen trees bent into unnatural shapes for the sake of art? If you haven’t, go google “tree shaping” to see what I mean. These are trees whose trunks or stems have been bent and shaped while they were growing in order to form something artistic, funny, or even functional when they have fully grown and hardened.
There’s a tree that has been formed into a sort of rocking chair. There are two trees whose trunks are intertwined to form a square knot, and so on. Or just consider the art of pruning bushes, cutting away excess stems and leaves to form different shapes, from simple ones like spheres or cones to more complex animal shapes.
The beauty of the outcome largely depends on the expertise of the gardener.
We tend to think of education in a similar manner. In fact, think of the words we use to describe education — molding, shaping, guiding — they are quite similar to what the gardener does to these plants while they are young and supple.
Yet, has anyone thought to ask the plants what they want? Would that bush rather be scraggly than clean cut into a nice round shape? Would that tree rather have a straight trunk than be bent into a knot? We don’t know. They are plants after all.
But look what we do with our kids. We send them to school, to be “shaped” and “molded” — into what may I ask? If you look (and really take a long hard look) at the curriculum they are made to go through, you would think we are trying to produce little Googles that can spit out memorized trivia. You would think we are trying to produce the next winner for “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”
Has anyone ever thought to ask the kids what they want — and to take their answers seriously? They are not plants after all. They are humans, like us adults, with their own desires, their own will, their own choices. Or do we just shush them and tell them to go study their square roots and cube roots because it’s good for them?
The educational system is an adult agenda. We bring in teams of expert teachers much like a master landscaper brings in a team of expert gardeners to shape the garden as he wills.
That is why education has failed, because before we can truly “educate” a child, our agenda has to go, and we have to wholeheartedly support theirs as they strive to educate themselves.
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