Ce se întâmplă cu educația?
What Is Happening With Education?
This paperwork aims to emphasize the utility of principles in defining new models of education, to outline the main traits of educational communities regarding mentorship relations, informational sources and intergenerational interaction. In the process of underlining how crucial it is to include principles and values in future educational models, the author raises the question “Why do we educate?”. The article shows great use for understanding the importance of updating the teaching methodologies, in order to better interact with new generations to come.
millennials, Z generation, teaching methods, educational values, education change
What is Happening with Education?
“Life is made into a nonstop, commercially pre-packaged masturbation fantasy,” Allan Bloom said in 1986 about how young people in Generation Y lived, infused with pseudo-values, pseudo-feelings, and therefore pseudo-knowledge (2017). Of course, Bloom was the father of American neo-conservatism and his goal was to criticize what happens as a result of the misappropriation of freedoms, but his statement remains however revealing.
We make a leap of 34 years and move from the USA to Romania, in the context of a discussion about education, in general. Here we find a framework in which the idols of a large part of the current generation of students are ego-singers, those who only disturb the self-image and forms of expression of young people, through a constant overbidding of the concept of power – represented by money, fans and sexuality – through a false impression of control over everything that happens to their lives. Isn’t that right? Even if we challenge this aspect, we should still pay attention to the subliminal accumulation of messages and attitudes promoted by pseudo-models.
I am a big supporter of both Generation Z, of which I am a part, and of any form of education, but at the same time, I believe in what a large part of the conservative writers of the twentieth century say, strictly from the perspective of knowledge. Roger Scruton says that there are three forms of knowledge: knowing that, knowing how and knowing what. If you know that mercury is toxic, you have scientific knowledge. If you know how to repair a bicycle, you have practical knowledge. If you know what to feel or not to feel in a certain situation, you have a moral knowledge. Among all, moral knowledge cannot be truly acquired in the absence of literature and philosophy (Scruton, 2017). For example, of course we can teach students in sex education classes that syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease or how to use a condom, but the essential and ultimate goal of education should be complemented by the ethical component: what it happens to me when…?; what should I feel if…?; what examples do I have at hand…?; what to do when…?; what is good and what is bad?, and so on.
The whole debate about education and knowledge starts from the identification of problems perpetuated over the years: the mental rigidity of different generations, the prudishness specific to our culture and the cruel lack of knowledge of life situations, which could be explored through quality readings. In general, people, real or fictional, are characterized by the decisions they make in critical situations, of life and death. In the absence of promoting the exercise of empathy that reading constantly develops, from the point of view of knowledge, we can only talk about “masturbation fantasies”, each of us (self-)satisfying only a part of what defines us strictly individually, not unitarily. So why do we constantly repeat the conflict between generations and not find a way to unify everyone’s beliefs? We could argue that because of the fundamental difference in values practiced. These abstract concepts, called values, are desirable, and as a result, their proper appropriation is deficient because we all want to believe that we have them all, without being honest with ourselves.
The current infusion of young minds with all sorts of commercial elements, at a time when terms such as motivational, inspirational and memorable are the standard of performance, whatever the content of communication, tends to affect genuine introspection and identity development in accordance with the inner world, the attention being constantly focused on the outside. Values are increasingly seen as social tools, not as foundations of personal definition. Motivation is born from the desire to practice the values we have, and failure to identify them can lead to apathy and lack of meaning. What should be done? The solution would be to build educational communities, not to continually blame the education system.
There are essential differences between the community and the system, although both involve groups of individuals. The community is a self-governing group, which develops through the contribution of each recognized member, regardless of its role. The system, on the other hand, is based on a series of pre-established, imposed regulations that work on the principle of all or nothing, obedience or ostracism. In such a situation, values are used only as a summary of beautiful words that express the direction of the system, namely the constants based on which it is defined, without keeping alive the practical side of values, by accepting the functional complementarity between different perspectives (based on the diversity of values).
I believe that an essential question, which puts education in relation to values, is why do we educate? To train individuals to be successful, to have recognition, money, power? To maintain social order – individual and social conservative values? Or to form empathetic, free, collaborative and independent individuals – individual and social liberal values? This question should be at the heart of the decision on how we educate young people and should be the one that fundamentally defines us as a society. In the process of vocational guidance, to combat the current situation of inconsistency between expectations related to study programmes and educational offers, we must support young people in finding their real motivation, the right mentors and the true sources of knowledge. Only in this way can we contribute to their formation as happy and motivated adults, who authentically practice daily their values and truths about life!
About the Author
Creator & Owner, Ziua Mintzii
Bloom, Allan. (2017). Criza spiritului american: cum universitățile au trădat democrația și au sărăcit sufletele studenților [The Crisis of the American Spirit: How Universities Have Betrayed Democracy and Impoverished Students’ Souls], translation by Mona Antohi. Bucharest, Humanitas Printing House, pp.84.
Scruton, Roger. (2017). Cultura modernă pe înțelesul oamenilor inteligenți [Modern Culture Made Simple for Intelligent People], translation by Dragoș Dodu. Bucharest, Humanitas Printing House.