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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dark Zone Education: What is it?

Dark Zone Education is not a soap opera where actors portray the sad realities of people's relationships. However, it is about tragedy that we see unfolding daily in the lives of young people who are striving to understand the validity and substance of the education that they are receiving in school systems that still base education on an industrial model. The students are like widgets on an assembly line that moves into their future and all along this assembly line, stand workers whose simple task is to impart what they have been told to impart to the student. Upon the fulfillment of each task, quality control takes over and  assessment is done. Those who don't become "just another brick in the wall" as Pink Floyd described so eloquently are re-routed to the retrofit department to receive remediation.

If this sounds like a very cynical view of education today it may be due to the fact that it too often represents the reality in young people's lives today. Dark Zone Education as a blog will be suggesting the following:
  1. The goal of education should be to break free of this industrial model of education and propose a paradigm that includes all stakeholders in our society and not just the corporate elite. It should be a paradigm that is imaginative, inspiring to young people, relevant to achieving the common good for society and one that challenges young people to be creators of new knowledge instead of consumers of knowledge.
  2. It is important that young people be challenged by teaching them how to think effectively instead of teaching them what to think. Teach them how to use logic and sound reasoning before asking them to tackle social issues. Perhaps Howard Gardiner's views on intelligence are instructive but his list of intelligences is not necessary in order of priority for the well being of society as it is in the here and now.
  3. There is a strong drive in school systems to be social engineers of the young people in their care. Many of the ills of society can be traced back to the growing instability of the family unit within society. The responsibility of parenting has shifted more away from parents and more to the school system. The school systems were never meant to be the parents of the students in their care. They were meant to be a support to what the parents are doing with their children. However what happens when parents are not fulfilling their responsibility as parents? The school systems become the parents.
I for one believe that there is a better way than the path that education systems are presently on and there are many like me who feel the same way. If you would like an analogy, consider the story: "The Emperor's New Clothes". The situation that exists in education is similar to that described in this story and all that is needed is that one little boy or girl to say: "No, this is not right.".

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