WHAT IS IT THAT WE WANT TO EDUCATE YOUNG PEOPLE ABOUT?
Published: 31 Aug 2017
Abstract: This paper considers, what is it exactly that we want to educate young people about, and the kind of society we want to create and live in? The performance culture within the formal education system can lead to only focusing on the end result, (exam grades) and not the learning, that is, the importance of outcomes over process. Young people also need to learn about resilience, problem solving and independence. The authors argue the need to construct an education system designed for humanity, which is socially just. They consider if a young person will ever reach true self-actualisation equipped only with the knowledge imparted to them based on the ‘national curriculum’ delivered in a formal institution. Whilst academic knowledge is important, so are moral beliefs and values, with skills of problem solving and critical thinking. Do we want future generations to be masters of algebra or have the ability to show compassion, understanding, empathy, be socially just with a sense of identity, ultimately becoming active citizens? The authors argue that youth and community development workers with their skills of informal education, values, principles and methods of working, also need to be part of the equation in educating young people, to bring about change at a personal, cultural and structural level. By bringing formal and informal education together we can create a model that uses alternative methods, such as drama, as tools to provoke ‘youth action’.
Keywords: performance culture, resilience, self-actualisation, academic knowledge, moral beliefs, values, critical thinking, active citizens, youth action, info
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