I have been noticing that many students are disrespectful to their teachers, their fellow students, to their parents, to their community at large. Bullying in schools is a known phenomenon that has been studied and restudies, but still, there is no cure, as it continued for centuries. Also, once we leave our schools, we continue to be disrespectful to the coworkers, managers, the world at large. In certain cases, the disrespectfulness turns into harassment and other strange behaviours like Harassment, stealing and killing (like the killings in the USA).
What is the point of education? And why do we bother if we have these symptoms in our societies? Are we missing something? If so what is it? Are we saying that those that bully and do the things the society dislikes are not educated? Or we couldn’t refine them to suit what we want?
Sometimes I tend to believe that religion and education if taught in a good way and in combination may deter people from doing the wrong things to each other. But then, I see many schools that have mosques, temples, chapels within them and they form part of the curriculum but still warrant unwanted behaviours from students.
I feel that there are 6 types of people:
1. The type that is easily refined and wants to be part of the society and make a positive change
2. The type that is on the border, it doesn’t matter if the whole world changed around him or her, he or she will do what each like, and only take from the society without giving. Still causing no harm
3. The type that instils good manners onto others, and just seeing him or her makes us want to be good people
4. The type that is fit to be a leader and will take extreme measures to be a leader
5. The type that is a leader and people will follow him/her without trying to convince them that he is a leader
6. Last but not least the type that has been forgotten and left to rot to cause more damage to society.
If I ran a school, I would take the 6th type, and I will not teach them math or science, instead, I would instil ideas of good behaviour, leadership, communication skills, social skills, emotional skills, creative skills, and RESPECT. Of course, there are many other skills I would like to teach them, and test them in the society, give them jobs and chores, see their parents, and discuss ways that may alter their behaviour. Convince them that they don’t want to be research subjects and they have to contribute as that’s what all of us are here for, here to contributors to society.
However, for those that may exhibit sexual behaviours (harassment), I will subject them to intensive psychological studies to remove all traces of this disease from their mind.
What we are witnessing these days (especially after everything can go viral on the internet) is something that we should not keep quiet about. There are things that we the educators have to interfere with. We need to see how our methods are making the students better people, not just better students.
In different parts of the world, some systems came about that focus on these qualities (behavioural and educational solutions) the first one that comes to mind is the Finnish education system which focuses on empathy, communication skills, play and the love for learning, it also teaches respect to others:
In Finland, high-class daycare and nursery-kindergarten are considered critical for developing the cooperation and communication skills important to prepare young children for lifelong learning, as well as the “formal learning of reading and mathematics”. This preparatory period lasts until the age of 7. Please notice here that lifelong learning is placed first and then the formal learning. Lifelong learning will equip us to live our lives in harmony and teach us about respect, love, life skills.
The early childhood training focuses on each child’s personality; every child is respected and treated like a person! Taking into account that a child is always unique, and no two children are alike. So if a child is a type who wants every toy for himself, the educators will guide him/her to develop social skills and interactive skills mainly paying attention to other people’s needs, caring about others, having a positive attitude about people in general, other cultures and the environment that surrounds them. Sometimes the child is so engrossed in his or her own needs to the extent that they forget that there are others living around them. The early childhood training focuses on improving this side of the child. The second focus is to train them to look after themselves as they become adults, be able to make decisions, join the activities in the society and become active in their communities and their societies.
I am not sure if you know this already, the parents of the newborn children receive three books as part of their maternity package, one for the mum, another for the dad and the last one for the newborn!! They believe that if we start the reading process at that early age, a culture of reading will be fostered. They also believe that early education is responsible for 90% of brain growth that happens in the first five years and 85% of the nerve paths develop before starting school (according to an Eeva Hujala, early childhood development specialist) Reading to the child early allows the schools to focus on learning through play.
Thus the basic theory of Finnish education is to eliminate the various problems the world has with “troubled minds” through play and communication skills the children learn to love and respect. Basically elimination of the problems that we have in our countries. Making each child unique raises the awareness “that I am a good person” in the child, so he or she are proud to be good.
The second education system that can tackle the problems mentioned above is the Rudolf Steiner-Waldorf system, its one of the oldest systems that focus on holistic learning, and considers the child as the source of learning, so as they say, we don’t need books to teach the child as the child himself is the book. Steiner method focuses on the imagination in learning by integrating the practical, intellectual and artistic development of the child.
There is no curriculum for the Steiner model, merely general guidelines of “what motivates children” at different ages. Some school include the national curriculum of the country and add the other elements that focus on enhancing the child’s abilities. The students go to the wilderness and learn to do things like erecting tents, growing vegetables, writing about their experiences, and drawing what they see. At the same time, the students learn to respect, learn to dialogue, to cooperate and to help their fellow students. However many educators feel that the Steiner system is very old, very structured and may be outdated, however I feel that even if it is old and outdated, the structures that the theory is based upon are solid, and my deep research into this made me believe that it is not dissimilar to the Finnish system.
According to a review of the United Kingdom, Steiner schools the Steiner-Waldorf’s structure explains that the children develop in three stages, and each stage has its own attributes and learning strategies. Each stage awakens a certain attribute, and at times a few attributes are awakened at once. The attributes are related to the physical, behavioural, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual side of the child development and the methodology utilized is to foster the creative and the analytic thinking of the child. The study confirmed that the Steiner schools can successfully develop “creative, social and other capabilities important in the holistic growth of the child.
In the Steiner-Waldorf model, there are no books needed. Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book. We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves”
I am not sure why the Finnish system received a lot of approvals around the world when the Steiner system that started over a hundred years ago didn’t and there are around 1000 schools around the world that focuses on it. I feel both systems are great and both focus on the child and his or her learning abilities and outcomes, both do not restrict themselves to a curriculum that can damage the child’s abilities. Both focus on teaching through play and experimentations, both focus on educational games, and both have class teachers instead of one teacher per subject.
These types of educational systems need to be adopted as they focus on the qualities required to live in today’s world (Rudolf Steiner and the Finnish systems). The “respect part” will be a bonus as the system itself can generate intellectual children who know how to live cooperatively in today’s world.