To educators: Teach kids how to keep learning
MANILA, Philippines – Is traditional education passé?
World-renowned business speaker Richard Gerver on Friday, August 15, told more than 600 Philippine college and university school officials that traditional education is “absurdly” outdated.
"Traditional education has always taught us that if we get something wrong, it’s because we don’t try harder. If something does not go right, try harder. Do more of the same but more intensively….[But] that is not the answer,” Gerver said during the 2014 Philippine Higher Education Presidents’ Summit.
Gerver, 2011’s Business Speaker of the Year and a former school principal, transformed The Grange School – one of the worst performing schools in Great Britain – to a top performing school within two years.
His secret? He envisioned a "Disneyland of learning" – a school where both students and educators are "living, learning, and laughing.”
“[Let’s] create an environment that is so magical that kids are prepared to do the hard stuff for those moments of magic,” Gerver recalled telling his staff at The Grange School back in 2001.
This “magical” environment, he said, is one where people want to learn "as if it matters at the moment." (READ: 5 leaps in 2013 that make PH education promising)
"Education should be a celebration of how people’s lives could be. [It is] a tool of empowerment. The job of educators is to raise their aspirations and sense of value – a profound sense of what they could be and where they could go,” he said on Friday.
'Help young people be curious, creative'
For him, educators must shift their focus from systems and structures to processes and people. (READ: The road to ASEAN 2015: Why are PH colleges lagging behind?)
This also means finding a unique vision that is relevant to the context of the school, instead of just imitating what others are doing.
Recounting a conversation with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Gerver taught the Filipino educators the importance of teaching students the ability to learn for themselves.
"What did he [Wozniak] learn? The world seems too obsessed with what we should teach the students. What we teach our students is almost irrelevant. Make sure to understand how to learn. The ability to keep learning is absolutely the future,” Gerver shared.
This was true for Wozniak, who, with Steve Jobs, decided to put up a company that will keep challenging conventions. (READ: Higher education: Matching skills with jobs)
Gerver said students must be taught to become self-managers; this way, schools are giving them a chance not just to survive but also thrive "in the complexes of the 22nd century.”
“For higher education, how do we get our professors to understand they can’t just educate with technical knowledge and know-how? Work harder to help young people be curious and creative,” he said. (READ: 8 ways PH higher education can prepare for ASEAN 2015)
Delegates of Friday's summit endorsed the Manila Declaration on Higher Education which identifies 6 agenda items as critical for addressing problems faced by the higher education sector of the Philippines:
- Creating higher quality programs and improving faculty development
- Building linkages between the academe and industry
- Rationalizing and developing research
- Funding post-secondary education
- Governing Philippine education
- Supporting the K to 12 reform
Creative learning vector via Shutterstock