Why Our Educational System Sucks

All children love to learn. It’s simply in their nature. So why do so many children dread school? And does it really have to be this way?

Many of the things kids hate about school today trace back to the very beginning of formal education. Conventional schools were never intended to be places of joyful, creative learning.

Conventional education was a result of the need to deliver highly standardized knowledge to young people so they could work in factories due to the Industrial Revolution. So, Western governments began organizing mass education with one main purpose – to produce useful labor for factories. And, since industrial production relies on conformity, compliance and linear processes, education was based on these needs too. In fact, schools themselves were designed more or less like factories… And nothing has really changed, since then…

If you gave a brand new, unknown digital device to several different friends, you’d find that each of them approached the object a little differently. Some of them would start by reading the manual, while others would search the internet for information and still others would simply turn it on and play with it. The point is, as much as our schools might think otherwise, humans can’t be standardized – and education shouldn’t be either.

After all, from this little thought experiment it’s clear that your friends don’t learn the same way, and neither do schoolchildren. Yet, schools treat them as if they do. For instance, they are all expected to learn by sitting in class and listening to teachers explain things, even though this may not fit their personal learning styles.

Not just that, but not all students learn at the same level in all subjects at the same age. Some first graders might be advanced in math, but still struggle with reading, while others are exactly the opposite. Nonetheless, all these students are grouped by their age, not their skill levels.

Given this reality, it’s not surprising that the standards movement has failed to improve educational outcomes. After all, an education based almost entirely on exercises and tests will destroy a student’s creativity and lead them to disengage. And disengaged students do not learn well.


Did you know you can increase your learning retention? Spaced repetition isn’t just about revisiting the material more often – it’s also about reviewing it at the right time.


In 2012, 17 percent of US high school graduates couldn’t read or write fluently, and 21 percent of everyone between 18 and 24 couldn’t even point out the Pacific Ocean on a map!

But beyond that, students with skills outside of the prescribed academic areas, like those who are great with their hands or are superb singers, might also become discouraged by the incessant assessments demanded by the standards movement.

As a result, they may end up jobless, in prison or alienated from society. Worse still, students from underprivileged backgrounds are even more likely to fail in the modern education system. And even if they do succeed, these days a college degree is no guarantee of a job.

So, clearly, something has got to change


If you walked into an average classroom, you’d see students who are bored silly by just about everything that’s presented to them. While this sight might seem normal, it shouldn’t be. After all, kids are natural born learners.

Babies are so eager to explore the world that they grab any new thing they can reach. They also soak up language, often becoming fluent by the time they’re two or three.


So, kids are inherently curious and it’s up to teachers to foster this curiosity, not kill it. Teachers need to empower their students to believe in themselves by showing them that they can deal with difficult and uncertain situations as long as they remain calm, confident and creative. But this new way of learning needs to be supported n by the governments and national school curriculum, because currently teachers are stuck to the current system, rules and restrictions they are obligated to.


Schools should give students eight core competencies, starting with curiosity, creativity and criticism.


When approaching education, it’s important for us to consider what exactly we want our kids to learn. Up until now, we’ve answered this question with a never-ending list of subjects from French to algebra. But to guide students in later life, we need to teach them competencies, not subjects.

That’s because the future is uncertain and there’s no way to know if the subjects we teach students today will help them in the real world tomorrow. So, a better strategy is to teach skills that will enable them to learn what they need while dealing with whatever social or economic situations they might encounter.

This is simple and just requires schools to teach students eight core competencies, also known as the seven Cs. The first is curiosity (1), which we already know kids have a lot of. Here the school’s job is to develop the natural inquisitiveness of children by encouraging them to pay attention to the world and ask questions about what they find.

It’s also necessary for schools to foster creativity (2), or the ability to form new ideas and put them into practice. After all, from the invention of written language to the rise of the internet, creativity has been central to all cultural progress. And, going forward, it’s only going to become more important when the students of today face ever more complex problems that they’ll only be able to solve creatively.

The third competency relates to the ubiquitous information overload we face today, which demands the ability to discern facts from opinions and relevant information from irrelevant noise. So, it’s essential to teach students criticism (3), or the desire to question the data they observe and draw their own conclusions. The final four competencies help students become better team members and citizens.

But our students won’t be able to fulfill these functions without further competencies. So, here’s where the ability to communicate (4) comes into play. After all, the ability to express oneself is key and it goes far beyond writing skills. It also includes the ability to speak clearly and confidently in public and convey information through things like art and music.

Beyond that, students also need the ability to collaborate (5), not simply compete. That’s why good schools have students work on team projects where they learn to organize, compromise and resolve conflicts as a group.

Another essential competency to teach students is compassion (6), or the ability to feel empathy for the feelings of others. That’s because an empathetic child won’t bully others since he knows how terrible it is to be bullied and wouldn’t want to feel that pain himself.

It’s also important to teach children composure (7) through meditation and other mindfulness practices that help them connect with their feelings while developing inner balance.


Jack Ma explains it all very well in the following video:

Teach and Learn what the machines cannot do!

…Learn values,

…Independent thinking,






Fortunately, there’s an alternative to this traditional approach: creative schools. This term doesn’t describe schools with four instead of two hours of art class wedged between a math assessment and a grammar lesson. Rather it means approaching learning from a completely different perspective – by avoiding strict schedules, guidelines and frequent assessments and trying out new ways of creating the ideal learning environment for each individual pupil. Everyone learns, including the teachers, the parents and the schools themselves

Conventional education is all about maximum efficiency, and it’s not working. After all, humans are individuals, and our teaching methods should be personalized too. We need an education system that fosters each pupil’s natural curiosity and skills.


Lets change the system! Let your students teach each other.


Students learn best from their peers. This is because in most cases, these peer teachers have only just learned the skill they’re teaching so they recall what was difficult about it. So, the next time you’re trying to teach someone a challenging topic, try delegating the task to someone who also only recently mastered it.


Tell me


I will forget….

Show me


I may remember….

Involve me


I will understand!


Lets follow our Finnish friends! Watch the video and read the article about:

a new way of education:


I’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts…


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