Friday, February 14, 2014

Einstein on Education

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. ”
– Albert Einstein

It is a sad indictment on our schooling system that it dampens and even kills curiosity. Our gradated system from kindergarten to a PhD is tightly controlled with many gateways to weed people out. The problem with this approach is that the A students tend to regurgitate what their teachers want. This is a trick learned early on, well before we hit college. The top students make the least mistakes when experience in the real world is built on learning from mistakes. The education system doesn't reward divergent thinkers and non conformists.

Young children are very happy to make mistakes, it doesn't worry them until they hit formal schooling. They will sing, dance, share their thoughts with abandon. By contrast try getting a group of adults to sing or put themselves into a situation where they might make a mistake in front of others. They tend to freeze or withdraw. Karaoke may be the exception, but most people won't try Karaoke until lubricated with alcoholic beverages. What would learning look like if we had not contacted the formal schooling system?

With the creativity of children and thirst for knowledge encouraged we would have a nation of learners: self-motivated, creative and curious, sharing a passion for life. Instead we have many children sidelined, left behind and ignored. So much for "No child left Behind"

The good thing is that some people survive schooling with their curiosity intact and go on to do great things. Conversely many home schooled or unschooled children get a great education and then excel at university.

Long live Curiosity.


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