– As you can see, I have memorized this utterly useless piece of information long enough to pass a test question. I now intend to forget it forever. You’ve taught me nothing except how to cynically manipulate the system. Congratulations. – (CalvinandHobbes)
I am a regular critic of the outputs of the traditional school system, and the topic has surfaced very often during my blog readings the last few months. Since I am directing studies at a non-formal youth edu centre (thinkeurope.net / Europa-Haus Marienberg) I get in touch with many young students from many European countries.
Many times I am astonished by one particular phenomenon: Young people seem not to be able to strip free from a very restricted way of thinking. Thus, non-formal learning approaches are often perceived as unpredictable obstacles rather than chances to explore something entirely different from everyday school. I won’t start complaining about European school systems per se. I would like to point to the fact, that within our education systems we are fostering a youth that seems to be one-dimensional – two-dimensional at best. The freedom to try things puts most of them into a learning realm that blows out of formal poportions and renders them helpless.
Creating a learning environment that allows and supports for unconventional ideas usually takes us a couple of days. Where are the students who happily plunge into this freedom and creativity? So many time we are busy to tear down walls and push borders out of their sight. No tests, no school, no vocab courses… So many of our students are used to do what their teachers tell them, they want (or feel compelled by external forces) to excel in school and what is even worse: most of them seem to have no major non-school interests that are compromised by school. It is not that we do not see the potentials – oh no. They are definetly there. And most of the time we are succesful at mining them. It is always a pleasure to see them scrambling to the surface, but I am wondering about the potential that lays bare or is submerged by formalizing societies (of course school is just aspect of the formalizing problem).
We need to reconsider and rethink education strategies and come up with new ways to encourage partisan strategies (learning and teaching). „Fuck, you I won’t do what you tell me!“ and then do something different. A passion for creativity that urges and oozes its way out. How do you display and advertise unconventionality? New ways of expression. The need for (political) education is eminent —and this education can be reached by other means, adapted to specific characteristics. Promoting a lack of conformity, instead of biting the formal bullet. Means are opening up, especially within the digital realm. But we are not nearly where we should or could be. If you have ideas that are loud, tough, wide, deep / or you know of fascinating projects… Please share them. Think back: What was it that you fascinated you, what triggered your wish to become involved? At which point do all of us get up to take a stand and roar for creativity and participation?