Unwrapping the Gift of Education!

There is something fascinating looking at young kids the way they open a wrapped gift, the way they focus on what seems to them as the most important thing, it is always a moment of surprise and amusement but also an amazement too!

Adults will expect the bow, the ribbon and the wrapping paper to go in pieces, then the box would follow until getting the treasure out of the box! There is a sigh of relief (from the adults) when the young one’s face is all smiles! Ahhhh! Junior or Princess is happy!

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Well you would be surprised, kids may have different reactions when dealing with a wrapped present, their attitude denotes somehow a trait of their personality. Some would stare, let the flow of emotions suggest the next action, other will snatch the bow, tear off the ribbon, ask for help impatiently for someone to cut the stubborn ribbon that is too difficult to remove, and would treat the box as the opponent t fight until they reach their gift!

I know we often attribute these emotions to our own perceptions as adults who know, who did receive in their youth wrapped gifts, and we have expectations about our kids that we think are the same as ours.

It goes the same with education, knowledge is one, the ability to write and read, to count and d some maths, to discover through history the people who made events, the nature elements, and so much more… It is wrapped for us as pupils and students, with layers of gift paper, ribbons, bows and the little card that will carry our name and some words wishing us a nice journey into education…!

In a more practical manner, if we observe the person from the early days of her life. Caring and loving parents, will make sure their little one learns what we may call those fundamentals and essentials: recognize the shape, through shapes and objects colours will be a discovery, often associated to food, then the little one will discover that the fingers of each hand is not meant only to grab things but also to count, and how dad and mom feel proud when that little voice will, for the first time, count from one to ten. Every occasion he or she will use to show mom or dad they know now! And how many cookies they want, and how old they are!

Then after a while comes the big day: meeting other little ones in the same place, a room, having a desk and a chair and nicely designed boards, posters and drawings… So another place like home! Yeah!

It looks that this new place is not quite like home, an adult (The teacher) is telling us how things work here at school! Oh my! I cannot stand up and go and play with the various toys and games, I must remain sitting on my chair, listen (carefully) to what the teachers tells us… Soon things look very different and soon I feel it is not as fun as home!

The young person realizes there others who acts somehow the same way though some listen and stay put on their chairs, others seem not to listen, then the teacher starts speaking about the class rules and how each one of us is supposed to respect and comply.

The more I go to school the more I need to be a “good pupil” so the teacher will leave a good word on my little notebook for mom and dad, who will feel so proud of me!

I have no problem with that, as long as schooling is not just “that”! Then come more, more in noting carefully what I am expected to do, what I am supposed to do at home for the next day in class, the bag getting heavier every grade, the locker filled and a new activity everyone does: running and rushing between a course and another, going from a classroom to another and never getting late to avoid reprimand or a visit to the counselor or a note to parents!

Although the primary goal of schooling is collecting knowledge, such knowledge seems to be controlled by more administrative details than the enjoyment of real discoveries. Very soon students are confronted to grades, exams, tests, pass or fail, the threat of not having enough grades that will enable him or her to choose a domain they like the most

I was reading Clark’s Aldrich book “Unschooling rules”, we may not agree with all what he says but I do believe he is not totally wrong when he mentions “what a person learns in a classroom is how to be a person in a classroom (Clark Aldrich – Unschooling Rules)”

This is when the gift unwrapping ends!

This is where education systems, unfortunately in many cases,  graduates drop-outs instead of persons who finally know what they wish or love to do with their lives!

I still believe that education is nothing but a matter of people dealing and interacting with other people. The share of knowledge will bring them to a higher level of expectations, memorizing the rules will bring them to be good obedient followers, at times not having studied what was the best for them, but what their grades decided they could register for at university or college!

I walked with my four kids all the steps of their schooling life, and was witness to such “realities” and such non-awareness from the educational model (the one fits all)… I stood by their side when it was important to make them feel that there were good things to learn from schooling, I never stood back when their teachers were more interested about the regulations, the grades and how much their class rating was important more than the students’ happiness… And when my kids were found responsible and faulty I was the first to agree with the school for the measures taken to fix the issue.

I think both gift wrapping and unwrapping courses would be appropriate to the schooling systems, the happiness of the pupils and the students cannot wait any longer!

Michel – December 11, 2014

Image Courtesy: Widdershins Joinery Blog


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