What’s the point of education?
Performance & series of prints
Herbert Read says that the purpose of education has two conflicting possibilities
One that we should be educated to become what we are.
The other that we should be educated to become what we are not.
Plato’s theory of education’s guiding principle is freedom.
‘Avoid compulsion and let your children’s lessons take the form of play.’
But by being emancipated from adult authority children are not free
Instead they are subjected to a more terrifying and truly tyrannical authority
The tyranny of the majority
They cannot rebel flee or reason
the response is a mix of conformity and juvenile delinquency
if play is so important then why when we become adults are we frightened of being wrong?
Mistakes are stigmatised
where is innovation without mistakes?
Constructivist Learning Theory tells us:
There is no knowledge independent of the meaning attributed to experience constructed by the
you can only know and understand what you have done yourself
So the purpose of education can only be to develop the individual’s uniqueness and their social
But on the other hand
Education is a form of oppression –
hidden networks of power operate in education
The repression of the individual by authority is nothing new
our Education system is an antiquated model of repression
My dear old Mum is 78 years old, left handed she was forced to sow in class with her right hand
The Victorians created a bureaucratic administrative system
And produced the school to make that system work
Schools produce identical people
so they could function anywhere in the world
Is this the difference between what we say we are doing and what we are actually doing?
Our Education model is outdated and unfair
I propose we rename Education
Because It is increasingly only about getting paid work
The knowledge that is permitted within schools or higher education is defined as official or
Actually the only knowledge that is considered legitimate
is what meets the needs of an increasingly unequal economy
‘CULL ALL SOFT SUBJECTS’
Who needs an A Level in Art History anyway?
‘FAST TRACK YOUR ROUTE TO YOUR MA’
Go straight from A level to your BA. You’ll be fine!
Lets face it schools are factories producing workers and profits.
Running Education as a Business has evolved into a culture of shaming
Corporate style accountability procedures,
the closing of schools or courses
weakening of teacher unions,
reduction of teacher autonomy,
and a naive understanding of the intellectual and emotional labour of teachers
And if you are a good teacher
one who understands that a student should be measured by what they do with what they know
not just on what they know,
then this government sees you as a failure.
Your reward for your hard work?
Performance related pay – Which means make them pass a series of deeply problematic tests
add in an environment consumed by data,
that don’t help those who the university, college and school exist for
But Tom didn’t Education used to be seen as something that was for the public good?
Why’s that stopped then?
Because Education is expensive
Costs have tripled.
Higher Education is now a consumer product
We talk about an investment you make,
You make this investment to improve the human stock
train for work
so you can be sorted and classified
so that employers can hire you
to do things you are over qualified to do
Like making my latte
Two thirds of UK students will never pay off their debt.
A debt on average that is 44 grand each
As a comparison
In the States you get an extra year and on average the debt is 15 grand less.
Sir Peter Lampl, said young people should now think hard about whether it is worth going to
Lamps was appalled to discover nowadays “a kid like him had no chance of going to Oxbridge”
even his old grammar school is now “all fee-paying”
and his old Oxford college “used to have lots of ordinary Welsh kids, but they’re not coming
through any more.”
That’s right Lamps, what about the ordinary welsh kids?
Professor Sajay Samuel’s solution is to link tuition fees to a degree’s expected earnings,
so students can make informed decisions about their future
perhaps even restore their love of learning
One of President George Clooney’s campaign pledges was to make 2 years national service
mandatory for those who turn 18
and in return their college education is paid for.
For the last decade we have been told repeatedly
Powerful groups pushed schools to mirror the corporate sectors goals and procedures
Telling us the more we hold teachers’ and schools’ feet to the fire of competition,
the better they will be.
These arguments are engrained
however there is little research to support these claims
Stuart Hall demanded that we confront the paradox in capitalist societies by using the
very authority in schools and universities to work against the wider authority.
Instead lets bring back grammar schools
or we could find a way to bring public and comprehensive education together
Make it inclusive
But is there any point in logical argument in a post truth world?
After the rhetoric of Brexit
Gove dismissing all experts
Trump’s campaign was based on a lack of respect for women, race and religious minorities
Or more despairly anything that made sense or was based on evidence
The question is why practice logical or reasoned argument?
When someone is elected with ideas like extracting Middle Eastern oil as recompense for US
Why teach students to produce clear, structured arguments using the careful mobilisation of
Why bother to learn measured discourse through scholarly endeavour?
Lecturer David Tollerton asks
Should footnotes and bibliographies be dismissed as elitist pedantry?
Perhaps we should be training our students in the art of constructing compelling internet memes
founded on fantasies?
Or forceful slogans that combine emotive power with a strategic absence of content?
So I’m going to leave you with the question as to whether our generation can dare the School to
Build a New Social Order.
What’s the point of education?
When someone like me can stand in front of educated people like you
Exaggerate specific parts in order to drive home my point