Why modern day schooling is useless (in most Countries)
Context: my English teacher asked me to write something I truly care about. Education is something I truly care about. This theme is not intended to discredit education or schools, but it's a way to stimulate a new vision of schooling. The thesis is mainly aimed at the Italian school system, but most schooling systems are very similar to the italian one
The Italian school system may be the biggest time waster ever invented by humanity.
Before starting out to context this assumption and explain why I think school in Italy is totally useless, I have some questions for you.
Please pay attention, concentrate your neurons and don’t skip questions. They’re important for the next part of this article.
1. The sweet feeling in a food comes from what part of the tongue?
2. What’s the role of the left side of the hearth?
3. What percentage of the total Oxygen in our body is required by the brain?
4. When was Pericle elected Strategos?
5. When the first Olympic Games took place?
6. Can you remember the initial date of the “Savoia” domination in Piedmont, Italy?
7. Can you remember the birthdate of the famous italian writer “Gabriele D’Annunzio”?
8. What was the theory of “the superhuman” D’Annunzio supported the most? Was it the same theory Nietzsche advocated for?
Were you able to give exact answers for all these questions? Was it easy for you? How did it feel?
I have a shocking truth for you.
The first six questions come from a book specifically written for kids around 10 years old. Our school system force them, as mandatory notions, to remember all of that.
The other three questions are from high-school books. But don’t get me wrong: those are not difficult. That’s the easiest part of the institutional program designed for teens in the 4th year of High School in Italy.
I was nice.
I may have asked you something about math experts of the past. I may have asked you about the solar system. I may have asked you thousands and thousands of pages.
And, to avoid any mistake, please remember those things are mandatory. We consider them so important we force kids and teens to study them, do homeworks about them and use entire years of their life trying to remember them.
Because yeah, that’s important too.
If you missed the answer for one single question, you wasted years of your life. Because you missed an answer you were able to give when you were 10 years old (as for the first six questions).
Why we developed school to be like that?
Why school is essentially the best way to kill creativity, individuality and any other skill we have as humans?
Why school is the most useless Institution we’ve ever had in Italy?
Let’s start by my personal story. And please remember this article is to critique the Italian school system. I’m not against schools. I just want them to be better.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a programmer.
I loved playing videogames and, when I love something, I tend to desire to learn it.
When it was time to choose my high school, I choosed a tech Institute to learn how to program.
“I will be able to program my own stuff!” - I thought.
Then reality came in.
Teachers spent countless hours teaching me stuff I would have never be able to remember. And I studied them to take a single test.
“Well, ok, but I’ll learn how to write in English properly!” - I said.
In fact, when you play videogames, you usually have to speak english to understand everything better.
So I was ok with it. But I wanted to improve.
I was wrong. Again. Studying English in school means studying grammar rules even english people don’t know about and writing about topics you can’t care less about.
What a great way to improve your skill in a foreign language, right? Studying something you wouldn’t study in your mother tongue anyway.
I’m hironic, off course.
At the end of my second year in High School I figured out programming in school wasn’t the dream I thought it was.
So I changed everything.
I subscribed to the course named “Biotechnology for the environment” in my school.
I thought it would have been a great fit for me, since I was very good in Chemistry and very bad at programming stuff on the PC.
The first year in the course was great. The English class was still useless and studying italian meant studying useless writers you’ll forget the day after the test, but it was fine.
I enjoyed it.
Then, the fourth year came in. I was 17, and my interest about Chemistry started to fall down.
I felt like I was wasting my time, again.
At that point, I started questioning about my possible future job.
“I’ll be a chemical but I’ll keep my interest in technology”.
Yup. You read right.
I was still interested in technology and in all the programming languages. But I wouldn’t think about it so much.
I finished my fourth year with a general score of 7.1/10.
Not so bad.
Then, the fifth year came in.
I turned 18.
And everything turned black.
I realized I could do anything I wanted.
When you turn 18, a world opens up for you. You can subscribe to online courses and learn about anything you want, you can earn money doing videos and writing books, you can explore the virtual world and create anything you can imagine with a mouse and a keyboard, and…
And then you come back to school.
You take your paper, your pen, and you start writing about useless stuff you’ll forget, as always after the test.
That’s how it felt for me.
Every single day of the fifth year.
800 hours of boring stuff telling me how to do stuff I don’t want to do and asking me to realize life isn’t always as fun.
Because yeah, people thought I was just having fun and playing videogames at home.
In this year, I learnt how to create presentations, how to speak in proper english, how to make online courses, what is and how to use digital marketing for agencies, how to market a book or an online coaching program, how to create products for the internet marketing niche, how to develop strategies for a business growth, how to sell to people, how to create and satisfy needs, how to invest money and get a return from them, how to create designs online for free, how to create basic 3d models, animated videos and presentation videos, and so on and so forth.
I even graduated from the Online Hubspot Academy as an Inbound Marketing Professional, with a total score of 90/100.
And, in the meantime, I had to study for topics I didn’t like in school.
But that wasn’t the only problem.
I had to study topics I didn’t care about with study methods I didn’t like.
For me, writing something on paper is extremely difficult.
It’s not about the language. It’s about being able to do something awesome and being forced, by the system that should have taught you how to do that awesome thing, to come back to reality and write with your favourite black pen avoiding any rational thinking you may have had about all of this being 100% useless.
Enough with my story.
Why School Exists?
School was built to satisfy the job market of the past.
Entrepreneurs needed people for their companies, and they needed them to be and feel like robots.
Sit in lines.
Listen to your boss.
Don’t ask for real life examples.
Just do it.
Do it and shut up.
And that was perfect.
The School System was perfect to satisfy that need.
The only problem here is that now we’ve evolved. We don’t have to portray as robots, because we invented them years ago.
Robots can be robots. So we can be humans.
And what is the most advanced feature of human beings?
Why Schools Kill Creativity
Kids born thinking creatively.
They learn how to speak diving into real conversations, they are always moving to fully feel their body and their energy, and they draw, sing, dance and act as a creative person.
Then they grow up.
They fall into the school system, and everything changes.
There they’re basically ask to take everything they’ve learned about life and throw it away.
In school, they’re not free to dance anymore. They have to sit straight.
They can’t dive into discussions anymore. They can’t speak.
They can’t feel their energies. They can’t move.
They can’t act creatively. They can’t even go to the bathroom.
Have you ever seen a phone built in 2001? It’s totally different from today’s phones.
Have you ever thought about your possibilities in 2001? Banks didn’t have online portals, to find an address you need to search on an actual paper journals and computers were expensive.
Youtube wasn’t invented yet, Google was in its first releases and Facebook was just a dream inside of his inventor mind.
We’ve evolved since then on these topics, right?
Well, now think about schools in 2001.
Can you spot any difference from today’s school?
And that’s wrong. That’s fundamentally wrong. That’s like saying we’ve stopped to think about education.
Education is not taking a random book and memorize what’s inside of it.
We’re now in a full colors world.
We have countless possibilities to learn, to express ourselves, to create our works and to feel as an active citizen of the World.
But we can’t.
And the main obstacle that stops us from that goal is… school.
Schools treat students as codes on a piece of paper.
Everything Schools do nowadays is totally against anything we’ve learnt from scientific studies about education.
Education is the most important thing in our life. And school is the less one, probably.
But wait, school is about education.
So what’s going on?
You’re just lazy and school is important
Am I lazy?
Well, judge for yourself. Judge my activity on my actual activities, instead of my school activities.
Here you are:
www.guadagnialternativi.it - my digital marketing blog
www.pensandocibene.com - my personal blog
www.blastingnews.it - a site I collaborated with
www.skillshare.com - a site I teach on
www.udemy.com - a site I’ll soon be teaching on
www.lifelearning.it - another site I make courses for
… and the list goes on and on.
So I’m not lazy. At least, I think I’m not.
But let’s face the “school is important” matter now.
The School system should prepare you for real life events. Right?
Because let’s face it: a subject should be mandatory only if its utility is proved for the majority of the population.
But as I proved you, that’s not the case.
We study a lot of useless stuff in school. Or, at least, stuff that shouldn’t be mandatory for everyone.
School takes up 12 years of our lives, and in those 12 years teaches us…
NOTHING AT ALL.
When we leave school (I’m talking as I was representing all the students on this Planet now, I think), we need to learn everything.
School doesn’t teach us how to cook, dress, do sports, speak, communicate properly, create our projects, do and manage teams.
School doesn’t teach us the laws for the country we live in. We’re forced to learn them, because they’re laws, but still - who knows them?
School doesn’t teach us how to get married, what marriage is and how to buy a house with someone.
School doesn’t teach us how to be entrepreneurs or how to find a job (in this century please, going in random bars giving CVs is not a method to find a job).
School doesn’t even teach us how to study!
So: can we really say school is useful?
The only useful thing I can see in school right now is the social component. Being part of a community is very important and each one of us made good friendships in high school.
But what about the actual education part? Are we sure we’re going in the right direction?
I don’t think so. But I think someone may have found a great solution.
Flipped classrooms are classrooms centred on the Flipped Learning of its students.
Let me explain.
When a teacher decides to flip a classroom, he’s not the boss of that classroom anymore. He becomes a true part of it.
Flipped classrooms allow students to interact with each other, work on projects together and see the teacher as a mentor - not just a person there to speak out random words they won’t understand anyway.
Teacher in Flipped Classrooms doesn’t act like they would in a normal classroom.
They give students the possibility to study the topics as they want. If they want to watch a Youtube video to learn, they can go for it. If they want to start a collaborative group where five kids draw a comic about “Giovanni D’Annunzio” and other five kids prepare themselves to act as that character, they can do it. If they want to learn from Online Universities and Courses and ask the teacher to sit with them because they’ve not understood something, they can.
Can you spot any difference from traditional classroom?
In flipped classrooms, students are not listening to a single person.
They’re being creative.
They’re reading blogs, watching videos, writing blog posts, making animated videos and act as a group. They’re living their education, they’re fully enjoying their time at school and they can say, without any doubt, that they’re time there is not wasted.
And that’s the most important thing. Because time is precious and school should not be considered a time waster - but the most inclusive (because it has the social part too) and comprehensive educational system out there.
In flipped classrooms, that can be a partial reality.
Flipped classrooms are the first step into the gigantic idea of schools where students are everything (you know, it’s their education).
I can remember a video when a teenage girl speaks out about her school system. In her school, students decide what to study and where to study it. The only mandatory subjects are stuff they’re forced to know, and the rest is up to their passions and interests. The Superior Executive is made up of students and they can decide everything inside the school. It’s a student-centred democratic system.
But that’s a little too much for Italy right now. Someone still thinks young people are stupid, so...
But Flipped classrooms are possible in Italy too.
English Teachers and Italian Teachers seem to be the most interested ones to flip their classrooms.
But that’s not strange at all.
Teaching a language is perceived as a very creative subject, so people are willing to accept flipped classrooms for that kind of subjects.
The most important pros of a flipped classroom are:
1. It’s something every teacher can do right now. They don’t need approval from the Institutions, they can still follow their normal program and they won’t be seen as unprofessionals. The only thing is going to change after a classroom becomes a flipped classroom is the students’ engagement in the lesson.
2. Flipped Learning makes good use of technologies students use everyday. In Flipped Classrooms, students are able to use their smartphone, tablets and computers to fully be a part of their education. This returns as less stress for the teacher and more enjoyable time for the students.
3. Flipped classrooms are not hard for the teacher.
4. Flipped learning works. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. And, by the way, seeing as school works today… we have to do it.
I think the Italian School System needs a radical change.
It’s not easy to reform something from the core, but in this particular situation we really need it.
We’re wasting 12 years of a child/teen life to teach him/her useless stuff just to get a grade so we can rank him as we would with a piece of meat.
Students are more.
Teachers are more.
Education is more.
You never stop to learn, and school is the playground where you sholud learn how to fulfill your passions and desires.
I hope this little paper explained the reasons why I think the todays’ school system is useless.
I hope it’ll spark the interest of some teacher.
Have a wonderful day,
PS: I just finished mandatory school. Read more here.
PS(2): All images are a kind courtesy of pixabay.