Rethinking the Education System. Dicussion with Professor Rowan Williams
Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Education is an organic subject that is constantly changing as it interacts with society. However, the balance between spiritual development of personality and career preparation has to be carefully maintained. While schools try hard to push up the academic grades and prepare students to become competitive university applicants, it is also important to give enough freedom for students to explore the nature and the environment around them. Last week, I was very glad to meet Professor Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord of Oystermouth to discuss how we should rethink about the education system and the way of teaching.
“Education is about reasoning,” said Professor Williams, “reasoning is not just about the verbal argument for victory but the mind, body to negotiate in order to live.” The true meaning of education is for one to have the ability to discover the logic and pattern behind an event before arguing against it. To learn to summarise and analyse first before criticizing what you see. One has to realise that you are not always the centre of the world and you have to learn to interface into the environment.
At this point, I can already see some people criticizing me for being too conservative. “The world needs innovation.”, they may say, “There will always be challenges and arguments.” I agree. In the world that technology evolves so fast, it is crucial to keep up with the updates and generate new ideas to challenge the previous ones. Science is like that and so does the evolution of education. The old concepts will be obsolete and replaced by the new ones until an equilibrium of agreement is reached. What cannot be missing from this process; however, is communication. Challenges and arguments cannot just focus on the matter itself the surrounding elements and the logic behind it. This goes back to what Professor Williams mentioned about “reasoning”. “We are at war with ourselves — learn to at peace with ourselves” he added.
In early education, learning is about teaching the children how to live in the world that they do not yet have control. The enclosure of the process of the world is embodied in the primary education system. Children need to understand the world of a process and that the world is changing all the time, such as the weather changes every day but the cycle of the season kept. Outside the primary education system, the pressure becomes more significant as schools prepare students as competitive individuals in society. There is nothing wrong with that but in true society, there is much more than tests and achievements. At university, the style of education changes again. The teaching of science and maths for which are taught in a reductive problem-solving manner becomes much more open, creative and exciting. You can even argue about Maths! So, why couldn’t we have embraced this style of teaching in the first place?
A rational education system indicates how we should unite the order of science and maths in harmony with the world that we live in. Should our education system not only equip the student with the skills for a living but also teach them how to live democratically and consider the others through communication.