Dumbing Us Down

I think alot about this whole (un)school thing. Unschooling one son, whilst another son is still at school perhaps makes me question things more.

Often I try to imagine my current self in school. Being told what to learn. When to learn. And how. Day after day after day.  I think of the recent training courses I’ve been on and can’t help that it would be hellish to attend a training course for a number of consecutive weeks.

I don’t personally want that for me, for myself, right now.  Or probably ever.  It just doesn’t work for me.  I need my own headspace to learn.  So of course, I question whether it’s ideal for my boy(s).

And then I listen to my currently schooled son who sounds so happy when he is not doing learning stuff at school, because it is ‘booooring’.  He loves that his register at class takes so long (32 kids to go through) because it means there is less time to do schoolwork.

Of course this makes me sad.  Sad that he associates learning with boring. Sad that school isn’t as fun for him.  All he looks forward to is play time and meeting with kids after school at the park.

He says reading is booooriiing, but then I found him Captain Underpants and he has read 3 books in 2 days. He wants to read them all now. Reading is not so boring now!

I then look back at how I learn. And how I didn’t really go to school from the age of 13 (lots to do with travelling and the schools I went to from 13 were in a different language which meant I didn’t really end up learning much at all, apart from how to skip class and not learn).

Looking back in my life I see there was a tipping point to when I really became interested in learning.  This was really about 8 years ago – I discovered the world of business, blogging, the early social web, marketing and communities. I also re-discovered testing at this time too! For these 8 years I’ve been loving the type of things I’ve been doing and have found every opportunity I can to learn more.  I had a purpose and desire to learn. I started meetups. Had jobs & projects. Tried businesses. Some failed. Some got off the ground.  It was all learning.

I then come across these types of articles, that omg, would you believe it, kids can teach themselves to read. My heart, instinct and experience tells me this is completely true.  Especially in society today when we have no shortage of information.

But why should the fact that kids and humans can teach themselves anything be such news?

Society is dumbing us down. The processes that we all apparently are supposed to go through to get somewhere in life. We have to go to school. We have to have teachers teaching us because we are not capable to learn ourselves. We have to get the exam results. We have to get that degree or qualification.  We have to have the right experience.  The right words in our CVs. We have to waste so much of our time on unnecessary stuff.

We have to stay within the box and are discouraged think and do outside of it.  Discouraged by society. Discouraged by our own internal fears.

In my professional world of testing I come across so many CVs and profiles of testers looking for work.  It saddens me because most of these people have the ticks in the boxes. The ‘qualifications’ or ‘degrees’, yet they mostly come across as incompetent.  Most of them don’t stand out in any particular way.

We all make our own opportunities, schooled society all too often think opportunities are ready made once they finish school/university.  They deserve that job because they have gone through the ‘process’.  Everyone else is less deserving.

That ‘process’ seems to blind society. Where everyone is looking for the same skillset, experience and qualification. Where they stop looking outside the box.  Recruiters fail to see the potential in people.  And people fail to learn outside of the box.

That process is dumbing us down.

One Comment

  1. judithkingston

    Yay! So pleased to find your blog! I’ve been looking for people who might want to join me in reinventing school, which I am trying to do on my blog. Have a read of these posts: http://secretsofthesandpit.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/reinventing-education-lets-start-at-the-very-beginning/ and http://secretsofthesandpit.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/reinventing-education-how-shall-we-structure-school/ and let me know if you have particular posts you might want to link up? I am especially interested in your thoughts as an unschooler, and because school seems to have failed you personally. x Judith

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