The Harsh Reality of Modern Education (and Why Nobody is Talking About It)
As a tutor, the most common thing I hear upon talking to a client for the first time is “My kid is absolutely stressed with everything at school and I’m freaking out because I can’t help them”
I thought I would take the time to break down why so many students are stressing at school, and how to improve the current situation.
The Problem – The current system and expectation
Education has arguably become the largest, worldwide competition in existence. Students often hear talks about how they need to do the best in primary school, to go to the best high school, to go to the best university, to get the best job. We are telling students as young as 6 years old, that you either learn, or you burn; that the subsequent success of their life is entirely dependent on the lettered grade they receive each year. In the process, we are slowly but surely killing any potential for a genuine love for learning.
We do these things in a twisted sense of preparation for the students trying to show that the end result is the most important thing and the means in which you get there are irrelevant.
So the question becomes, ‘Is this actually helping kids perform better in school’?
From a scientific point of view, the answer is NO
From an ethical point of view, the answer is even if it did help get better grades, the sacrifice to get there is too much.
We are placing an emotional burden on students to excel, and in the process, are increasing the rates of anxiety, depression, and self-doubt.
‘You either learn or you burn’
At what point did we as a society just accept that anxiety and depression in primary school-aged children were normal? Why do we just accept that so many students hate school?
Experiencing stress and building resilience can be a great thing, but too much toxic pressure will not only impact their short-term success in school – but fundamentally shape learning as a toxic, painful process that is not something that can improve your life; but rather is something to avoid if given the choice.
However, there is an alternative to using results in school to define a student’s self-worth.
The Solution – Personalising learning and Treating students like humans
The alternative is not praising outcomes but praising the habits and behaviours that lead to successful outcomes. By not focusing on grades, and instead focusing on self-worth, goals, motivations, relationships, habits, diet, sleep, social networks, passions, and curiosities instead. This is the true potential of learning and education. We must abandon what we assume to be the concrete norm of education and embrace the enormous potential of people that we are otherwise leaving behind.
This is not idealism, this is fact. If we utilise this method of education, we not only see rapid change in grades but more importantly, we see a profound change in the student. Someone who once believed they were stupid can now feel confident. Someone who once hated learning, now considers it fun. But above all, kids who were suffering from anxiety can just enjoy life.
Personalising learning isn’t easy, but nothing important ever is.