Some things seem to stick around forever. “That’s how it’s always been done” is the comment we hear all the time. We make strides in many areas of our lives, constantly adapting to changes and advancing our methods and procedures to remain competitive in an ever-changing world. But somehow there are those certain things that we can’t seem to part with; certain stone-age relics that we convince ourselves can’t be improved on, so we don’t even try.
And, for some of us, traditional education seems to be one of those relics we can’t seem to part with.
For as long as we can remember, education meant sitting down at a desk, listening to a teacher spout out facts and figures for us to copy down in our notebooks, ready to regurgitate them back at a moment’s notice. With the question “Will this be on the test?” first and foremost in our mind, dictating whether or not we’d actually be paying attention to that part of the lesson.
We learned the same way that many inspectors perform their inspections: do the bare minimum to get by and let the rest of it fall by the wayside.
Education for education’s sake didn’t even enter the picture.
But that’s how it’s always been done.
We change everything else in our lives when something better comes along. So why not education?
The vast majority of us carry around a smart phone. Most of us have moved past the flip phone, bag phone, and pager. Most of us have high speed internet at our homes. There are very few of us relying on a dial-up modem anymore. Most of us take advantage of email and text messages, with very few of us still faxing inspection contracts to our clients. And even fewer of us are still writing out our inspection reports by hand, with most of us taking advantage of the benefits of modern inspection software with all its bells and whistles.
We love all the conveniences of our modern lives.
But don’t even think about changing education.
That’s how it’s always been done.
The funny thing is that’s really not how it’s being done anymore. Yes, there are still holdouts, school boards, educators, and industries that insist on staying in the stone age while everyone else moves forward into the new millennium. But the majority of people, those that refuse to keep their head in the sand, have already started to move on. They’re committed to improving education and dedicated to providing students with the best opportunities to better themselves.
Education no longer simply follows a top-down formula. It’s now more than “listen to me and I’ll tell you what you need to know.” Education is now more self-directed. The information is out there. It’s easily accessible. It’s readily available. It’s up to us to go out and get it.
We’ve become more involved in our education. Learning has become more of a personal responsibility. Now, more than ever, we’re able to decide when, where, how, and why we want to learn, instead of being forced to do it on someone else’s schedule.
Now, we’re the ones responsible for what we learn. We’re the ones that must decide what it is we need to know to become better at our craft. We’re the ones who choose how much we want to know.
The question is, now that we don’t have someone looking over our shoulder, how much will we push ourselves? When our own conscience is our sole motivating force, how far are we going to go to be the best we can be?
Just like those bare minimum inspectors, some students will choose the easy route, doing as little as possible to get by. But, just like there’s nothing we can do to change the mindset of those minimalist inspectors, there’s little that can be done to change the way these people view education.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t force someone to learn.
Here’s to hoping that we all take advantage of the wonderful educational opportunities surrounding us every day.
Never miss an opportunity to get better at whatever it is you do.
All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.Sir Walter Scott
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