This post is my little reflection on our educational system. In it I will present 5 subjects we should teach our children to give them the immediate knowledge that would help them better cope with our modern world. I believe that our educational system is broken, and that schooling is for the most part extremely abusive and oppressive. I have touched upon the poverty of schooling in this previous article of mine which was written in Dutch.
Our educationalists claim that schooling makes the student independent critical thinkers who will be ready to embark on a post-schooling journey with many career perspectives ahead. Children are told that they can become anything they want, as long as they study and work hard enough. This, I believe, is highly arguable. Not every skill is valuable on the market place, and schooling is not always conducive to the development of the child’s critical faculties. There are limits to a child’s capabilities and our schooling system does not prepare them well for the future. If children are not taught the knowledge necessary to become critical thinkers that are self-sustaining adults, what then is the immediate knowledge that children should possess in order to cope with our modern society?
I have made a list of 5 subjects that any child should get familiar with – not saying that their familiarization should take place in the school setting though.
- Philosophy which naturally should include rigorous logic. Philosophy teaches the child to dig beneath the surface of our modern world and of our most mundane experiences in order to find something more unusual or spectacular. It helps the child refine his thoughts so that he has refined perspectives about the world. Needless to say, the child is taught how to ask questions and how to find answers – a necessary skill for anyone who would like to stay sane in our highly informatized world – through the rigorous logic that philosophy demands of the student. Listen carefully to people’s argumentations and you will find many fallacies. If the child is to be equipped with critical thinking skills so that he can avoid fallacious traps and defend himself mentally, he should be familiar with logic and philosophy.
- Creative writing. Through creative writing, children are taught to organize their thoughts and emotions, and to express these eloquently. Through philosophy, the child learns how to dance with ideas and through the pen he learns how to dance expressively. In addition, the pen is an effective means to change public opinion, and is therefore also a means of subversion.
- Entrepreneurship. I want to make it perfectly clear that with Entrepreneurship I don’t mean Management. Entrepreneurship is the skill to form innovative ideas and to turn it into something valuable on the market place. It teaches the child to think creatively, to understand that the world is rapidly changing, to look for opportunities, to look for trends in society, to forecast trends in society, and to be proactive in life. Most important of all: it teaches the child that the world is plastic and can be changed when one is undertaking adequately. It also teaches the child that one is responsible for one’s successes and failures as these are entirely dependent on their endeavors, hence making the child take full responsibility of his own life.
- Economics and personal finance. Our society is financially illiterate. Students take study loans for worthless degrees that don’t offer bright career prospects. I don’t mean to say that one shouldn’t follow one’s passions if the passion pursued does provide few prospects in life, but one should at least be aware of the prospects and be responsible for one’s own career choices. In addition, society is not aware of the financial risks it takes when it puts money on the bank, when it holds cash, and when it saves in a retirement fund. Without the knowledge of personal finance, how can you expect society to grow healthy? A person that is financially illiterate cannot plan his future. He does not know how to save, and is prone to become subjected to lifelong debts and thus may never achieve personal independence. Economics teaches the child the broader picture of our social system. This knowledge is necessary for the child’s comprehension of the environment in which he is conducting his personal finance. On top of that, economics is still a respectable social science. Compared to other social studies like political science, sociology, and equality studies it is much less impregnated with ideology and therefore also superior. In fact, I believe that unlike the before mentioned studies economics is a value-free science and that the best social scientists are at least familiar with economic science.
- Personal relations. Children should learn about social dynamics so that they understand their personal relations with their fellow human beings. Everyone goes through multiple heartbreaks, but nearly no one knows how to deal with these properly. How should they deal with their emotions, how do they build long-lasting stable relationships, and how can they build a network unto which they can always fall back in times of emergencies? Personal relations also extend to the work environment. How to conduct yourself at a job interview for example. These are among the most immediate skills that would instantly improve anyone’s life.