Yesterday, I had a chance to watch Sir Ken Robinson’s great video on education system and creativity, thanks to my husband. In his talk, he points to the creativity being killed in the system.
Living in a country where good education means being able to pass lots of multiple choice tests, this talk has been very meaningful.
In Turkey, children have to take 8 years of primary education between the ages of 7 and 15. Actually, they had to take 8 years of education. In the recent days, there have been some changes in the education system. According to the new regulations, children have to get 4 years of primary education, and than they will have an option like continuing their next 4 year period at home taking exams or carrying it on at school. After eight years in total, they will again be given the same option for the last part of their education. Those students who can get distance education will be chosen in a committee and won’t be more than 1% of all the student population. In this new system, having a fun based and less informative education in the primary school is aimed to be able to find out the real abilities of children.
I am also of those people who had to pass through that system to find a way for success. I am one of those who had to draw the same pictures about some national celebrations and nature, who had to learn to play the same musical instrument and the same song and who had to pass the exams where we memorized a lot of information and then we forgot.
And how do I feel? I feel numb.
I realize I have been criticising my students for not criticising, not creating and not thinking. And then what I have seen is that I have been also one of them who has been one of “the most successful” students in the class but who can not use his full potential of thinking and creating.
And WHY I asked. What makes me and many others feel numb. I looked into my memories about how we learned subjects in our classes. In philosophy classes, we used to memorize lots of names and approaches none of which I remember now. In math classes, we used to memorize lots of formulas and solve the same problems without any real questions about math and life, none of which I remember again. We were so well programmed to memorize, we thought it was learning.
I remember myself when I was a small child and asking questions to my mom about everything; Such a curious little girl I was. And then this story of me losing my interest in asking questions comes.
Sadly, this is how the future of this country and may be the world forgets how to ask questions.
We have a small group. Every month we read a book and we discuss about the book. In one of these meetings, somehow we began to talk about the education system. I desperately asked the question “How come lots of educators are aware of these facts but nothing can be done? How is that possible?” One of our friends said “We are not meant to think, we are meant to follow? Can you imagine how things would change for worse for some people if most of the people thought, questioned and acted?”
Maybe this is the truth.
The majority is not meant to think.