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School.. how to improve the educating of the next generation.

As a child I thought having-to-go to school was primarily a waste of my time. Now, some 40 years later, I still think so! I had many interest and was eager to learn, but they could not really support me in any of my interest. It wasn't all bad. There were some nice kids, some good teachers, and I actually learned some useful stuff. But school could have been so much better.

My complains about school

The teacher
I have a lot of respect for most teachers. That is not the point. Though some have more qualities than others. Not being free to choose who your "master" is, is my first complain. Let's make a list:

1) Not being free to choose your master.

2) Teachers often spend way too much effort in trying to maintain order in the group. They may have to, but it is a waste of my time also. There are many reasons why groups get messed up, like for example:
- the class contains too many children,
- children that do not really accept their teacher as their master
(sometimes with good reason)
- some children are terrible creatures, at many times.
- having children in the group who have no interest what so ever in the subject of the lesson.
- some children will have other, more important, priorities on hand, like: not enough sleep, not enough to eat, troubles at home, being bullied, wanting to focus on other subjects, or who knows; in love already.

3) Teachers have a limited amount of knowledge. That is only logical, because they are human, but fact is that they could not support me in just about anything I was interested in (and I had many interest).

4) Teachers have to follow the program of the school, a program forced upon them from above. Teaching far out of the ordinary is not allowed. They don't have much freedom; either follow the rules, or get fired. For this reason alone, I don't want to become a teacher. How can a teacher be a master, if there is no room for their personal qualities?

Timing is important
I personally am someone who functions best in late afternoon. Wake up late and go to bed late; that suits my biology. Having to wake up early, in time for school, is a great way to get me down. And similar: when I am in the middle of to my opinion higher prioritybusiness than what is scheduled at school, I of course don't want to waste my time at school.

1) Being free to choose at what times to go, and to what class.
Yes I understand this is often impossible to plan. Still; this is what I want.

2) Go to the next level only when ready.
For example: learning mathematics. At this moment, you're in a class, following a course at a set speed. First you start with the simple stuff, and next; things are getting more and more complex. Now; if you didn't truly understood parts of the first lessons, you'll be kind of lost in everything after that, and also causing a drag on the rest of the class.
Here's a test for you: How well do you know the basic numbers? Do you really understand 5 or is 5 in your mind 4+1 or 3+2 or 2+2+1? Try counting stones. Do you count "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" or do you count for example "6, 12, 18, 24, 30"?
This is the reality of school today: The one-speed fits no one. Stuff is going either to slow or to fast, either getting bord or getting behind, frustrated in both cases.

Tests and diplomas

If you don't pass a test, does that mean that you are stupid? No. If the quality of the test was ok (which is often not the case), then it simply shows that you are not ready to go to the next level. I would like to see at least a 9 out of 10 score before going to the next level. Scored a 6 out of 10... What's the use of going to the next level if only understand half of it?!
Though school needs to listen to the reasons why you didn't score a 10. Often their ways of testing aren't perfect as well.
1) don't let people pass a test if they don't fully master it.
2) improve the quality of tests, and if the score isn't a 10 out 10 but near; discuss about what exactly went wrong.

A diploma should proof that you have passed all the test necessary, and are now master of something specific up to a certain degree. That is quite something!
Then again, in practice it is possible to learn loads of stuff without going to official schools, and in practice it is possible to get diplomas while sucking at it. Most of society has more trust in diplomas than trust in people who say they can be trusted because they have the experience needed for the job. Most of the skills I learned, I did not learn at school, so therefore: no diplomas and not to be trusted?
3) Most of society has too much trust in diplomas.

Getting ready for the real world
School didn't prepare me well for the real world. It didn't even prepare me well for work only. It prevented me from developing my qualities at a young age. It taught me a lot of useless information. I taught me how to deal with ill function groups and losing precious time. That actually is a large part of reality, hey I did learn something!
Most of the schools I attended as a kid were almost free of charge. If I would have had to pay for it, I would want to demand my money back. Of course we DO pay for it, through taxes. I have no idea how much my "education" has cost, but I am sure it was a bad deal.

Is school ment to prepare you well for the rest of your life? Or is the main goal to free your parents so they can go to work, as you are supposed to also do, later on in life. And times have changed. Nowadays with so many knowledge available for free on the internet, it makes me wonder if going to school is actually necessary.

So, how do I think we can improve the educating of the next generation?
I have no education concerning education, but here are my thoughts:

What is the purpose of sending kids to school?
I would say there are two answers to this question.
1) to prepare the next generation well for what is to come in life, and
2) to give their parents some space at home, and a chance to work.

What should we aim to teach them?
I think:
1) the very basics to start with.
2) specialize.

Quite a different package compared to usual.
You may think this stuff is too difficult for children - teenagers. I think most children have the ability to function on a far more advanced level then we let them. We keep them dumb by offering low quality education.
But I do think my "basic" selection is too much for most. So give them the freedom to choose. Don't force them to become average.

1) Communication
Two languages. Writing, reading, speaking. The native language and one popular world language. Instead of choosing one popular language out of the about 7000 different languages alive on our world, I am in favor of designing 1 new and practical universal language.
And learn:
- How to find and collect (order) information.
- How to take photo and videos.
- How to record sound.
- How to make a webite.
- How to make a movie.
- How to give a public presentation.

2) Working together in a group
Learn how much you can accomplish by working together, and what troubles to expect.

3) Health
Learn how to optimise your health.
- Food, drinks.
- Sleeping.
- Body motion. Stretch, motor skills, endurance, strength.
- Surroundings. Sun, air, materials, people, sounds, invisible waves.
- Finding solutions to conflicts.
- How to fight in self defense.
- How to heal.

4) Biology
- How the human body works.
- How other animals live their life.
- How plans live their life.
- How we all together live our lifes on the surface of the earth.
- What to expect at different stages of your life.
- How one can go into crisis, and how one can get out of it.

5) Energy
If everything is energy (motion), then knowing all about energy is like knowing a lot about everything. But even when if you understand all there is to know about energy, you will never be able to predict exactly what is going to happen, because reality is way to complex for one human brain.
- Forces.
- Acceleration.
- Balance, and dynamic balance.
- cause & effect.

6) Mathematics basics
- counting.
- adding.
- subtrackting.
- dividing.

7) Materials
Learn what materials are out there, their chemical make-up and how they can be shaped.
- Solids: wood, stone, metal, plastic, glass, wax, glue, fibers, and such.
- Fluids: water, air, molten solids, and such.
- Hot: fire and plasma, and such.
- Electro magnetic: magnetism, electrical current, and such.
- Light: photons and the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Alive: flesh of animals and plants, while alive.

8) Machines
- Mechanical (objects that you can see moving)
- Electric (forces that you can't see, but can measure)
- Information (collecting and analyzing information and knowledge)
- Social (guiding groups of people)
- Artificial Intelligence.

9) The universe, including the Earth.
- Space
- Stars
- Planets and moons
- Other stuff in space
- The Earth
- Small stuff. Everybody is like a universe. There is an incredibly amount in our bodies and everything.
- The smallest stuff, or the most basic elements.

10) Play and Create
Whatever you like.
Write a story, make an act, think of a game to play, build a house, make music, build a machine, start a farm, start a business, do whatever you want to do.

11) Travel
- walking, by bike, car, bus, train, peddle boat, sailboat, small boat, big boat, helicopter, balloon, winged aircaft.
- in a small group, in a large group, and alone.
- survival when stranded.
- nearby and far away.
- visit different cultures, natural settings, workplaces.

12) Take Care
- for yourself.
- for other people.
- of groups of people.
- of babies.
- of old and sick people.
- for animals.
- for plants.
- of tools and machines.
- of objects and places.
- of the environment, of all life on Earth.

13) Runn a business
How to set up a business and keep it running well.

14) Administration and Cleaning up the mess.
Nobody likes this, and everybody has to do it. The better you can handle this, the less time you have to spend on it. Though it can be very rewarding, so it's not all bad.

15) Simple to Complex
- the most elementary parts of everything
- the endless combinations
- structures and repeating structures.

16) Realities
What is real and what is not. What can be done and what can't be done -and why. What are illusions, what are reflections. The mind's reallity and thé reality.

17) History
That is a difficult one, because although knowing about "what has been" is very useful, these times have been, they are history, and what is left of it, is often not real. Even the news about what is happening today isn't very real..

18) Listen to the old people
Their are many old people who like to tell you the stories of their live, what they have done and seen, and what they have learned.

After having absorbed lots of basic experiences, one can specialize in whatever suits best. At what age? No; when ready. Could be young, could be when older, could be never. When ready.

Giesbert Nijhuis

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