The upbringing of children and the way they perceive our world in today’s times has vastly changed from when I was bought up in the 1990s, playing all day in the street and eating brown sauce on a crust. I imagine the two generations before me feeling much the same. I will not use my parents’ generation as an example, in my opinion, I like to call these the transition generation.
Children of today, seeing the world through a built-in gorilla glass, are not seeing the world and all its beauty as it should be seen. Children not knowing the simple biology of their body or where a carrot comes from. Even more terrifying is not knowing a nugget from Mr. Donald’s contains chicken!
As an ex parent governor of a local school, I became horrified to find that children were becoming more and more depressed, which I believe is down to high consumption of technology and lack of human interaction. They seem to conduct most of their human interaction at school, where it seems, the staff are far outstretched. Money, cash flow and ticks in boxes are becoming priority over these kids, who I feel are all amazing, but the governors meetings seemed to set a tone that this was not the case. Every child is different, that is very apparent. Some children are being tested for ADHD for something as simple as talking a lot. To that end, I believe all politicians should be tested. This is a scary notion as schools now are granted increased funding based on their number of children with disabilities and learning difficulties. It is now believed that some of our history’s greats lived with conditions such as ADHD and autism, including Sir Isaac newton, Mozart and Beethoven, and more recent Susan Boyle, all became great in their own fields. They naturally blossomed.
All children have varying likes and dislikes. From subjects and activities, to food, clothes and music, as do we as adults. But we are all equal, so who is to say how different children of different abilities should learn. I believe freedom is key. Freedom to think and freedom to be an individual.
We opted for home schooling, which I understand is not for everyone and should be well thought out before taking the plunge. Our children have thrived under these conditions, which has made them more productive in learning and retaining information. This confirms my feeling that every child is different and responds to different styles of learning. Some young adults leaving school with grades will end up working in a supermarket, some without grades will also work in a supermarket. On the other hand, some young adults with grades will become biologists, some without grades will become biologists. The limit is the sky for all, but I believe, unfortunately, that every child going through the same system and process, labelled or put in a box will potentially falter. This leads me to believe that our hopes of finding our next generation of genius’s will diminish.
My family and I discovered that being in nature was something we all loved, not just in summer but all year round. There is nothing more exhilarating than a hike in the wind and rain, guaranteed to blow away the thickest of cobwebs. We take as many trips as we can to one of our favorite destinations, Carding Mill Valley, a national trust beauty spot where you can hike, ride, climb and even swim in the reservoir. When the dustbin lids are climbing hillsides through the trees or even paddling in the stream their smiles and happiness become pure and the cogs of their minds turn, opening them up to a whole new way of learning, much better than an R.E lesson for an hour in school. We often encourage stories to be written, fact or fiction, based around their experiences in nature.
My feelings for this article were initially prompted during a conversation with an ex teacher who taught in a top-rated school, leaving due to the pressure of presentation and classroom layouts being prioritised over the wellbeing and education of the children. She then moved to a struggling school, where teaching was replaced with mediating challenging behavior. This led to leaving teaching all together, as, like many teachers, she felt the original passion for teaching was lost. I feel many of our teachers today feel the same.
How can our future generations thrive in these conditions? We can only hope that there is soon to be a welcome shake up, for the sake of the kids, not the profits.
By Ellis Robinson
Work of Unchained Wisdom ©