Schools should not be mistaken for workplace training grounds
It is common for people to fall into the trap of viewing a school as simply a place of preparation for the workplace. The field of educational development is distinct and must be preserved, argues Luiza Sassi, Director of Education for Cognita Brazil and Headteacher of Instituto GayLussac.
A school that strives for excellence should always analyse its surroundings critically; reflecting on what society proposes and reacting to it, not incorporating it in a passive way. If we consider, in Freire’s words, that “education does not transform the world. Education changes people. People transform the world”, the task of a school is to train people, in the best possible way, to have the ability to change society.
It has been common to deal with concepts such as empowerment, commitment, and innovation in the school environment, but these concepts need to be analysed against the intention of educational purpose. For example, what does it mean “to innovate” in a school?
We tend to think of innovating as bringing new technologies into the school space, dealing with the inverted classroom, or introducing active methodologies. On the other hand, if we think critically and analytically, innovating in school must resist the acceleration that is imposed on us today. As a good response to this, innovative schools have set up a meditation or mindfulness movement.
Thus, if today we have a problem of attention among our students – according to Bersin’s observation, “most students will not watch videos longer than 4 minutes” – the school must create a means by which this symptom can be overcome.
The task of the school should be to increase students’ potential by seeking to offer a space beyond what is offered outside of the school. This includes presenting new paths and incorporating new languages to broaden those that society already teaches us.
In conclusion, if a school imports concepts from the field of work without recognising the idea that it educates for tomorrow, that school cannot be transformative; it will remain reproductive, attending to external demands. The homework of the school is to learn and fully appreciate that we receive student-citizens and teach them to be (human) today.