It’s not an ambition problem, an intellectual problem, or an ability problem. Those are merely the symptoms.
I want to be clear in getting my message across that it’s an education problem that students face more than anything else. All the problems of ambition, of motivation, having a hunger for knowledge and learning, it all roots from a poor education system. The education is alright on its own, but only if you want to learn the wrong things.
The Wrong Education Causes The Right Problem
It’s the right problem only because it’s a problem we can fix. In general terms we can identify, what the symptoms are, what the cause is, and what the solution can be.
Training students to be sheep in society will only works if you want to be a sheep. That may sound obvious, but there’s a difference between wanting them to be sheep and always getting sheep. Because that sort of system doesn’t produce guaranteed results. You get 70-80% of students who go through an graduate sure, but you also get the smaller group that simply get too depressed and de-motivated by that sort of structure and environment that they do poorly in school and even drop out. It’s the “Your customers are already talking about you” of social media applied to education. The traditional methods are already not working, the schools just don’t have the ability to see it because their metrics and benchmarks measure against the same fundamental structures.
I think a lot more students have already accepted that without realizing. There’s a very clear distinction between the students on that idea. From all my experience meeting people while at university, the students are either content and happy with their education or see it as a joke. There is no middle ground on that.
If you have your head anywhere but not in the sand you can hear all the talk about the new ways that organizations will need to really provide value and service to their customers. This is true regardless of what company you are I’d say. But when you take a look at the course that universities are setting students on, the difference is clear. Examples of this mis-match are clear time and time again.
Leadership And Culture
When you talk about getting young people active and engaged, think about the challenge it is to convert an old-fashioned hierarchical organization to one that is more transparent and open. Changing big organizations is a challenge because of culture and leadership. Now I think we can safely say that the real engaged young people are already a set of self-selecting leaders, so if this is true we can clearly identify culture as being what needs to change.
I’ve watched this video 3 times so far, hopefully more people will see it for the first time:
On a side note it may be a communications problem as well, because most university students can’t write or communicate for the life of them.
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6 thoughts on “Students Are Faced With An Education Problem”
Malcolm, this is an awesome video, thanks! I've begun to explore the same topic and have looked at alternative education systems such as Waldorf, Montessori and Scandanavian examples. Several of them are empowering students to explore their own potential and creative capacities. It's quite curious that we as a species have designed a system to oppress our own potentials….perhaps for fear of what we are completely capable of. I am all for re-shaping the system to capitalize on the full potential of each being, and to create the space for each of us to apply that together, towards a better world. – Kim
Malcolm, this is an awesome video, thanks! I've begun to explore the same topic and have looked at alternative education systems such as Waldorf, Montessori and Scandinavian examples. Several of them are empowering students to explore their own potential and creative capacities. It's quite curious that we as a species have designed a system to oppress our own potentials….perhaps for fear of what we are completely capable of. I am all for re-shaping the system to capitalize on the full potential of each being, and to create the space for each of us to apply that together, towards a better world. – Kim
oops, sorry bout the double post.
Ya, I think a really relevant point that he brought up in the video was that of the current systems all training people for an industrial economy still while the way the real world works couldn't be further from how it used to 50 years ago. Another thing I didn't even mention but it a huge part of these systems are the measuring tools they use to measure success and how that translates into incentives for students.Because there is no coverage of the incentives to participating, only to the incentives of studying, and getting work experience at a big firm.
The Ted Video gave great context to your Post! At first I was about to disagree with you, especially after stating that people drop out of University because they are bored. My opinion has now shifted about half way. I do agree that our education system is outdated and needs a dramatic overhaul, there have been many classes ( even now) where I sit and wonder why am I forced to endure this, it doesn't help me at all with where I want to go. But I also think there is the unfortunate half as well where students don't care and don't push themselves, they settle to be mediocre which is more than just an education problem but a societal problem. I think its going difficult to determine which way to go in the future to fix these two issues, but I do strongly believe that the way we bring up the future needs a dramatic overhaul considering the enormous changes we've experienced in the past 20 years .Good luck to whomever is placed in charge!
It's not as simple as saying that people drop out of university because they are bored. Some people are bored, some people are bored AND drop out. Others just don't fit in with the culture for many different possible reasons, which can lead to any number of suboptimal outcomes.Most people just endure, and graduate university depressed without any plans.Sure you can say that the way people are brought up is a big part of it. But it's unproductive to generalize or say that students don't care and are lazy.