I came across this article this morning and it discusses how this woman’s son is having a tough time in school because he has to sit still, comply and focus. She discusses how our education system is crushing her son’s soul… And I couldn’t agree more.
We have come a long way and education standards constantly get raised. This enables us to weed through students to see which ones are fit for which future. Expectations are immense for children (have you heard about school interviews for toddlers?) and for graduates as well. The job market is demanding and competitive so we have to prepare them right?
However, are we doing it the right way?
Aren’t kids wired to be kids? Shouldn’t they explore, adventure and learn hands on instead of sitting still for hours on end, week after week, year after year? Isn’t this one of the most unnatural things we can do to our children?
I remember having to learn definitions, theories and 8 page physics formulas. I guess instead of learning, we should say we learn how to understand and reiterate them. In my opinion, learning is something you would want to remember for a long time. Instead, most (not all) of the things we “learn” in school are temporarily. Sure there are exceptions and brilliant kids but the way we educate is wrong for the vast majority of kids. I knew many hard working, intelligent peers who were burnt out by the time they reached college.
The curricula and tests aren’t all designed to memorize everything for life of course, instead it’s meant to encourage critical & out of the box thinking, developing your brain and challenging students among other reasons.
However, aren’t there other ways to do this as well?
In the book ‘The Nature Principle’, the author Richard Louv mentions how children who were physically active and spent a lot of time outdoors were better at critical thinking & brain efficiency than the control group. So if we stuff academic knowledge down their throats but don’t let them play, aren’t we contradicting ourselves?
Physical Education classes in schools are declining. The focus of education is on academics and when something needs to budge, it’s always PE and Art classes that are removed or diminished. Since when is it ok to kill physical activity and creativity? Aren’t those two critical factors for body and mental development? Do we want to create academics who can’t think outside of the box? Look around you and see how many people have already lost the gift of common sense and social interaction.
Many major discoveries were based on knowledge of course, but also on creativity. Most major advancements in the world occurred when people developed something that did not exist yet (the wheel, engine, computer etc.) or a vast improvement on something that did (the iPhone, hybrid cars etc.) – this requires some serious out of box creative thinking!
Not only do we cut Physical Education and creative time in our education but many children are so overwhelmed with homework, they don’t even have time to play or do sports after school. I think there will be plenty of times as an adult we won’t have time for fun and it should not start with our children. Too many kids don’t know where the food in the grocery store comes from, how to deal with winning or losing when playing sports, think for themselves or how to control their bottled in energy.
We need proper education and our academic strengths are vital, but let’s remember we also need to encourage physical activity, exploration, adventuring and creative works. It makes us just a much a capable and intelligent human as anything else.
By Sander Vanacker for FitGuana
Sander Vanacker is a personal trainer, CEO of Bring Back Nature, Inc. and founder of FitGuana. He believes in improving health and wellness by incorporating more nature into our lives, being active and spending more time outdoors.