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One of the final bastions of creativity, self-reflection and worldly learning.
02-26-2016, 12:17 PM (This post was last modified: 02-29-2016 06:38 PM by Krunal2306.)
Post: #1
One of the final bastions of creativity, self-reflection and worldly learning.
ATARs, NAPLAN, subject scores, performance reviews, rankings, NAPLAN, technical skills, society's demands, NAPLAN, grades, efficiency, aptitude, proficiency………

It all sounds like we are supposed to breed the next generation of
'super-cart.' Much like the bureaucrat of days long gone, but a 'super-crat.' Programmed to perform…. Efficiency and performance are the name of the game… Its all about meeting those numbers at the end of the day… Success is defined by a figure…

From my above musings you get the sense that I am beginning to really wonder what society perceives education as today? Was it always like this from the time the human race began to read and write?

Forgive me but the historian/philosopher/theologist in me has been itching for something to say on this matter for quite some time….. As outdated and air fairy as it may seem to some…..

Our primitive but resourceful cavemen forefathers made sense of their world through cave paintings. Palaeolithic masterpieces found from Lascaux in France to Ajanta & Ellora in India depict hunting and various animals that the locals encountered. On a much deeper level there was also an attempt to navigate metaphysical and mathematical concepts relating to oneness in nature and man's relationship to his environment.

Fast forward to early antiquity. The ancient Vedic Indians ran schooling systems where individuals would learnt their respective trade craft. Ultimately it was not just about learning one's trade but also learning about one's self and the philosophies of life. It was about gaining a respect for the self and the world around them. Similar "trials of the self" can be found in Native American, Scandinavian and Spartan culture which all point to the importance of looking within and exploring the self as a fundamental part of education.

Education is clearly more than just giving a person the skills necessary to take part in a certain profession.

I guess the main point of my digression into history was to affirm that we as teachers of English have a great responsibility. Through the teaching of writing and the texts we choose for our students to read we have this timeless responsibility to give our students the opportunity to be philosophers, explorers and artists....

Students should continue to learn how to communicate and articulate. However the purpose of articulation as a means of understanding the self and its relationship to the world should not be forgotten. Writing should be fundamentally be for the purpose of alleviating the "human condition."

Many will respond to this by saying:

The world has changed, commercialism and capitalism is a reality we cannot deny and should not deny. Our students should be taught the skills required to survive and thrive in a fast paced, technological and media driven world. To this i don’t disagree. My concern is that it feels like the 'noose is tightening.' More and more opportunities for creativity, exploration and ‘worldly’ learning are being removed from the English Curriculum.

At the VCE level students had to read texts relating to a certain context and then respond to prompts that drew out the intricate subtleties and nuances of topics that includes: “Whose reality” “Identity and belonging” and “Encountering conflict.”

Honestly out of everything i learnt in my school life, the study “Identity and belonging” stuck with me most. It got the ball rolling. I began to think deeper about who i was as a person and where i belonged in this society and this world. As an Australian of Indian heritage i always had significant questions about where i fitted in. Questions that went largely untouched until year 12. It was in my first few years of university where i feel i really found myself as a person. Where i began to get in touch with my inner core….

Reading “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger opened up a host of questions on my own identity and my sense of belonging i may not have even asked had i studied young Holden's search for himself.....

Unfortunately these sorts of opportunities will not feature as clearly in the new year 11 and 12 curriculum, to be implemented in 2017. I don’t seek to question this decision in anyway. All i can do as a final year, pre-service teacher is to make a firm commitment to:

Sprinkle into English Education chances for students to learn about their society and world around them.

Chances to grow and to understand themselves as people, citizens and individuals.

Chances to question their identity, purpose, likes and dislikes and begin to form their own values and ideas.

Through the teaching of reading and writing i do wish to ensure that i have done my duty to equip my students with the skills necessary to thrive in this hyper-competitive and corporate world. I am sure this will bring my students success in their chosen field. But more than this, i wish whole-heartedly that they succeed in understanding themselves and their place in the world!!
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