Is going to school really that important?
What do you go to school for?
However, if you ask those involved, you are often not met with full enthusiasm. Surprisingly, one often hears from teachers that it is a matter of “creating the material”. The pupils? They want to create "a two", or at least the school. And the parents? Hand on heart, South Azerbaijani could be part of the curriculum - quite a few parents would dutifully crap it with their children (and perhaps risk the last bit of good mood in the family for it).
Where does the belief come from that education is something that needs to be “achieved”?
I think everyone saw through the system. Because the school doesn't just have an educational mandate. She also has an elite job. The school should evaluate, grade, and screen. With her certificates she also distributes the tickets for the social ranks. No wonder most parents are more interested in the grades their children bring home than in what they learn there.
But there is a second reason why those involved go to work so doggedly. You seem to know the findings of educational research. And unfortunately they don't exactly create enthusiasm.
Take the Pisa study. Mr. Andreas Schleicher from the OECD then explains to us every time whether it was zigzag or zigzag among the students. Well-meaning. But what the good Pisa results really works, everyone can see for themselves: the same children ALWAYS land in first place, and they win in ALL categories. The little education soldiers from Singapore show us exactly that: This education can also be mastered with a sad heart, with tired eyes and with fear in the soul. This education is created precisely by: using childhood for cramming.
The second cardinal finding of educational research does not create euphoria either. The school follows the Matthew principle: whoever has is given. In Germany, whether a student is one of the best or the worse has much less to do with their talents or efforts than with their social background. Above all, the German education system can help those whose parents have already come a long way.
Success, praise and good grades are stubbornly awarded to those who have already been distinguished by life - with the talents suitable for the main subject, the right parents, with social tailwind.
Those with the bad starting conditions, who therefore need tailwind and awards all the more, are more likely to get headwinds - the bad grades along with the self-image that goes with them. This trend has clearly intensified since the 1970s. Basically, today's educational formula of the German education system can be described as follows: cheerfully in, cheerfully out. Or: lame in, lame out.
Of course, one could now point long fingers at the parents, the students, the teachers. I would suggest something else. We should look to the mother of all fears.
Because why are we actually organizing all this selection? This constant acceleration of education?
Because we want to prepare the children for the competition system that is now in place. Those who are ahead at school are also ahead there.
Only, the world is no longer that simple. For many reasons.
Education and social success are only moderately linked. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that people achieve their goals in life not only by having an education or educational certificates. But also through perseverance, enthusiasm, creativity, social competence, inner strength - in general "through personality" (an attractive appearance and the right name don't hurt either - an Eleonore Prinz-Wohlfahrt has it easier than a Kevin el-Messaoudi ). And these factors are only partially acquired in the education system (and only if things are going well there).
And then there's a cold shower on top of it. The really lucrative places in our society are practically not given at all through education - they become independent of performance in practically closed circles inherited. Among the supervisory board chairmen of German DAX companies, for example, only 8% Not born in the upper class. Basically, then, our education system is an institution in which the middle class struggles for the remaining opportunities that have not been given away by the grace of high birth. You could therefore also say it this way: of course, education is helpful in order to earn more than other, less educated people. Which part of the national income is distributed to the “educational owners” and which to the “property owners” is a completely different question.
But then there is another very profound problem.The practical value of the educational certificates obtained in the elite battle fluctuates. It was comparatively high at a time when the great majority of the elevators in society went up. For example in the years of the economic boom. The children only had to get in, show their certificates - and off they went into a secure future (even with a secondary school leaving certificate, you got a lot further than your own parents at that time).
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Elevators go down more often today, and for all we know, it will stay that way for a while. Because even there the statistics are clear: an ever larger part of productive profits ends up with an ever smaller class of people who are not necessarily characterized by better education - but by their wealth. And the fact that the parents squeeze the very last thing out of their children does not change anything (apart from the fact that the children stumble damaged in the elevator).
Simply relying on “more education” will not be enough. People have never been as educated as they are today.
On average across OECD countries, 80% of working-age citizens have completed at least one vocational training course. 28% even have a university degree. The level of education has risen enormously, especially in the last 25 years. Will we be better when someday everyone has a university degree?
I think rather that we should let go of our hopes for education.
First, we should ask ourselves whether the world we are preparing our children for in the current mode of education is really the world we want. Should the goal of their education really be that they can keep up with the children in Singapore, Hong Kong or wherever? With the successful children with the sad eyes? For their part, they are preparing for an economic and life model, for which there is actually only ONE question to be asked: Do we really want to live like this? Is this what our modern human model of success looks like? Didn't we even have other dreams?
Second, we should be clear about how children actually tackle their educational task. They don't just rush off while learning. Rather, they need a tailwind: watchful eyes, inner strength. Self-control and self-confidence. The ability to come to terms with yourself. And with the others too. In fact, the bottleneck in education is not simply the EDUCATIONAL OFFER. And also not the methodology of EDUCATION. But the child's ability to take up education. And according to educational research, this social capital of the child is mainly acquired in the child's first relationship structure, i.e. in the social relationships of the family and the social milieu from which the children come. This is where the reason for the education arises; this is where the child builds his most important supplies for his educational path. And every result of educational research confirms that: the home is the decisive broker (and destroyer) of opportunities. Anyone who comes to the KiTa with good educational qualifications will leave it with good educational qualifications for school, and in turn leave the latter with good educational qualifications for further training or studies (and vice versa). In other words, attachment and development come before education.
So how about capitalizing on loyalty and development? Instead of just staring at the EDUCATION like the rabbit at the snake? How about if we think about education differently than rushing children to the elevators with increasingly sophisticated means - and earlier and earlier?
This one-dimensional view of the subject of education creates new risks for children. This rushing from exam to exam, this pushing and pulling, this division into winners and losers - that is not education. That may be the education that remains at the end of the day when you have to sift, grade, and devalue at the same time. These are educational bread seeds, but this is not real education.
Education only helps children if it strengthens them at the same time, if it encourages them at the same time, if it prepares them for life as it is: broad, deep, resistant. Sometimes with wind in your back, sometimes in front of your chest.
What if I'm good at functioning - but can't work for that inner sparkle? What if I am well prepared for the value chain - but not for this most humane of all challenges: making the best of what comes my way?
Perhaps that is why you, dear Mr Schleicher, will set new educational standards for the Pisa study next time. From the child's point of view they are clear: bright eyes, self-confidence. The ability to stand up for yourself and others. We know one thing about such children: they will do their thing. And: they will not be satisfied with a world that is only getting richer, always more productive, always faster - without asking the old educational question: where do we want to go?
No, these children will not then take the winning places in PISA. You will write your own stories.
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