Education Is Key

Education is the most important thing. Second only to the desire for education. We have a number of people with whom we would consult on education. The list would include, but not be limited to:

  • John Taylor Gatto
  • Carol Dweck
  • Sir Ken Robinson

“I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress genius because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.”
― John Taylor Gatto, Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling

Whatever an education is, it i should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whateevr you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.

The school year in the United Kingdom is antiquated and out of touch with the requirements of education as a whole. Children used to be allowed the summer off to help their parents on the farms they once tilled. This no longer happens, yet we still honour the summer holidays and allow children 6 weeks off school.

Not withstanding the enormous financial pressures placed on parents when penned into a 6 week slot for holidays, what else are we not seeing by continuing this historical practise?

What’s Best For Children?

Research on the behaviours of children during the holidays and upon their return to school indicate that those children who spend their time playing football fair less well than those who continue to read and write, doing even small amounts of homework to keep up their studies. This seems obvious, but so few parents understand the importance of maintaining an attitude of education, let alone the activities to support it.

John Taylor Gatto says reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about 100 hours to transmit, but schools purposefully distort the learning process and intentionally slow down the students’ learning so as to justify robbing them of 12 years of their lives while they teach what Gatto refers to as the seven lessons schools really teach:

1. Confusion
2. Class position
3. Indifference
4. Emotional dependency
5. Intellectual dependency
6. Provisional self-esteem
7. One can’t hide

Philosophy In Schools

This has been a contentious concern for the past few decades. At the NPP, we believe that teaching children HOW to think is more important than teaching them to test.

We would support such action as expressed in the link here. In schools, their philosophy sessions develop reasoning skills, speaking and listening, confidence, collaborative thinking and respect.  They are also one of the few places children can legitimately explore alien invasion, time travel, unplugging from the matrix and the virtues of being a pig! Experts say philosophy can be described as ‘rational investigation of existence, ethics and knowledge.’

Ludwig Wittgenstein was once a primary school teacher, and a driving force in developing the “ordinary language” or “linguistic” school of philosophy. We feel he was ahead of his time, just as we are!

Wittgenstein frequently said that children were natural philosophers in that they ask important questions about the world and about human life and morality. The Mind Unleashed would agree with our sentiments, and can be found here.

“… the key difference between science and philosophy is that we need the results of science more than we need everyone in the body politic “doing science.” By contrast, we need everyone “doing philosophy” more than we need the results of philosophy”

The Importance of teaching children how to think instead of what to think

Open Letter to the Guardian from academics, comedians and other celebs to get philosophy in schools:

The Princeton philosophy department argues that because philosophers have a “better understanding of the nature of man and his place in the world,” they’re better able to identify address issues in modern society

Is this what we want for our children? What could we teach them that is better than this, more useful for life? More growthful? Can we offer them something that allows for cognitive and social-emotional growth throughout each stage of their development, as they reach young adulthood?

The Non-Partisan Party would like to think that they can!

Finally on the subject of children’s education, please watch this fantastic video from Sir Ken Robinson and his ideas about divergent thinking.

University Education

Having been through the PhD process, it is apparent to some of us here that education is a box-ticking exercise. It is devoid of useful information in favour of teaching what is expected by business. But business only expects it because universities teach it, and the cycle continues.

We think this is the way forward for university education, as well as a more developmental attitude towards learning. Click this link!