“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all,” ― said Aristotle.
In today’s time, all that we are doing is preparing children to participate in the maddening rat race and take pleasure in other’s failures in order to move forward and succeed. As we enthusiastically push them to follow the norms rather than to question the obvious and think to invent, there are some of the best education systems in the world that is a proof that something is terribly wrong with our current system which needs an immediate fix.
Education is not a way to fill a child’s mind like it is some form of vessel. It is the wisdom that will rekindle the fire in your child.
1. Starting school at the age of 7
Going to Finland and studying in those schools will be every students’ dream if they come to know the school starts when they are 7 years old. With only 9 years of compulsory education, the Finnish children have the option to choose when to study or not after the ninth grade or after 16 years of age. Isn’t that cool?
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Finnish students have the least amount of outside work and homework than any other student in the world. Therefore while the rest of the students in the world lose sleep over their homework, these students only spend half an hour a night working on assignments from school.
Even though school gives us immense knowledge, but winning in life requires wisdom and therefore, the education system in this nation doesn’t worry about merit-based systems and therefore, instead of competition, cooperation is given top priority.
Apart from that, since the 1980s, the educators have focussed on a few key areas when it comes to educating children and these put them in the front seat of the international pack.
Here, education is used as an instrument to counter social inequality, all students get free school meals and access to health care. The list doesn’t stop here. To counter psychological issues or emotional turmoil, they also have psychologists who provide them individualized guidance.
Hold on, there is more! Even being a teacher here has an advantage for they only teach 600 hours a year and spend the rest of their time in professional development and this leaves them with enough time for feedback.
2. Replacing punishment with meditation
When the traditional methods don’t work, we try to look forward to an alternative method, knowing that it may or may not work. By doing new experiments with the sole intent of welfare of students, Robert W. Coleman School, Baltimore has replaced the ‘detention’ method with Indian practice of meditation.
According to a report, the school started Mindful Meditation Room in February 2016 as the above-mentioned practice is said to calm the mind and help in reducing anxiety and stress and changes the quality of thoughts for better.
Usually, the most common form of punishment given to students is either by standing in or outside the class or by kneeling down in front of others. A method that shrouds children in shame and impacts them negatively. Meditation, on the other hand, boosts self-esteem in them.
3. School cleansing (Gakko Soji)
“Cleanliness is next to godliness”- the phrase which we have all heard but failed to implement. Forget about wisdom, don’t we crib when our maid doesn’t show up? Schools in Japan are now implementing Gakko Soji (school cleansing) in their curriculum so that student master the art of cleanliness.
The practice of Gakko Soji has its roots in Buddhism and it focuses on keeping body and surroundings clean. There is a scientific reason attached to it as studies have concluded that unclean and disorganized rooms may affect the stability or calmness of mind. Also, it helps students to look at people doing household chores with respect.
From students to responsible citizens is what these schools are looking forward to.
4. Getting rid of grades
Keeping in mind the mental health and growth of a child, Singapore has recently discarded the method of the grading system and the idea behind this is to instill the thought in children that education is about learning and not getting grades or focussing on ranks.
This method will also help students to focus on their strengths and weaknesses and they will understand that not marks, but self-discipline is needed to move forward in life.
Parents will be updated with their child’s progress during parent-teacher meetings.
5. Boys are taught household chores to promote equality
This school in Spain, Colegia Montecastelo, has started to teach ironing, cooking, cleaning, bed making and washing clothes to boys. This step was taken to bridge the gender gap and also because these are necessary skills one should have for independent survival too.
What’s more interesting is that even the fathers of some of the students are also volunteering to help teach the kids.
The school initially started only the cooking classes. However, upon seeing a strong positive response, both from students and parents, they gradually initiated the other subjects.
6. Rejecting gender-based pronouns
This pre-school in Stockholm, Sweden, has bid goodbye to gender-based discrimination. But how?
Egalia school is rejecting all gender-based pronouns so that children treat each other as equals, irrespective of their gender. So, words like ‘he’ or ‘she’ is replaced by “they” or their first names.
This will help in the proper psychological growth of students and we will raise them to be confident if not anything else.
7. Turning objects into 3D modeling
In San Franciso, California, Alt School is changing the method of education by discarding the traditional and conventional methods and implementing technological skills in the curriculum so that students stay at par with the world changes and adapt to them.
In this school, the students are given ordinary objects that are in use almost every day and they are asked to turn them into circuit boards. They also learn 3D modeling to build playhouses.
Not school but the education system shape the intellect of a child. Are we ready to change?