Everybody is already born a special, unique and vital piece to the whole. Very few of us, however, can really appreciate this or can accept it without question. As a result, we live a collective life, missing out on the potential richness of the bigger picture that together is there for us to claim.
How is it that we have failed to see the vastness and amazingness of the end result of what we could all bring together if we were to individually express ourselves fully within the whole, without self-judgment or in comparison or competition with each other?
I feel one of the biggest players in all of this is the education system, which is set up so that we are in fact subliminally encouraged to think and feel very negatively about ourselves. In a very diminished way, we perceive ourselves as either right or wrong, good enough or not good enough. We learn this from very young, as soon as we enter formal education in fact, and then spend the rest of our lives in either reaction to or in protection of that hurt.
But what if the themes of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘success’ and ‘failure’ that run through our education system are completely false? What if it turns out that we are all just simply evolving in our own time and learning as we go?
I have been working with a colleague recently in schools, supporting children to become aware of what happens in their bodies and what choices they make at the critical point of not understanding something. For me this is uncovering a huge can of worms, highlighting the insidiousness of how the system affects our self-perception and how we relate and interact with each other.
As a teacher, and having been a student myself, I am very aware of the constrictions of the curriculum and how the education system tries to make one size fit all. If you don’t fit into this mold, or do not get top marks, you can believe you are inadequate. As a result of feeling this inadequacy we can go into a whole range of reactions and behaviours to try and compensate. (Honestly, I felt I was stupid for years!).
I have observed also, however, that those who do feel adequate feel a pressure to keep proving that they are and have equally unhealthy reactions to not understanding something, as they too do not want to perceive themselves as failures!
It has been a really interesting experience to observe the children I teach as they come to realisations about their own choices, and to the understanding that it is normal to not ‘get’ something straight away (and that this absolutely is ok); that there is no pride lost in asking for help and that indeed it is important to do so.
Admitting vulnerability can be difficult because it is often viewed as a weakness and hardly ever modelled for them by adults.
Is it possible that in the hurt of our own journey through our schooling – that we buried by becoming achievers – teachers present a very ‘sorted’ persona and it is very rare that we admit to feeling fragile or in need of support in front of the children we teach?
How many of us as teachers transparently admit that we simply don’t know or have all the answers, or need the time to work it out? In this way we model that getting things ‘right’ all the time is the only way. Whilst we may say it’s ok to make mistakes, we do not confirm this through our own behaviour, body language and choices. No one is playfully given physical permission to muck up or get things wrong because we do not model this ourselves!
In a very revelatory way I have observed children become aware of what is physically happening in their bodies at that critical moment when they don’t understand something. They share there is an anxiety – their breathing changes and becomes shallower, and a feeling of discomfort and inadequacy arises because of the belief that they are ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ for not having understood.
Many have come to the understanding that, to avoid these feelings, they go into a whole range of behaviours – from switching off and daydreaming, to wanting the loo, chatting with friends, or reacting by saying, “This is boring,” and so on. In the tension of this anxiety, children often simply don’t have access to the tools needed to work through the block. Many haven’t learned either that this reaction is a choice – most slip into the “I am a bad learner” mode of thought and beat themselves up.
The students I teach have also been learning, through having shared their feelings, that everyone feels the same way and that not knowing is part of the normal process of learning. They also learn how to ask for the help and support – without shame – and how to work together better as a group, rather than as separate individuals.
However, what is also pertinent about what they are learning, is that when this “I am a bad learner” choice is entered into, they are giving their bodies permission to go into a whole host of physiological changes. For example, they learn that in the tension, they have gone into ‘flight or fight’ mode, a shutting down of the frontal cortex part of the brain where access to thoughts that can sort out a problem can be made. In this shutting down, the reptilian brain takes over, which makes them want to run away etc. Within this process a real connection to the body is lost because this lack of connection to the body contributes to the anxiety and lack of presence they are feeling, and hence the inability to access clear mental processes.
With this body related awareness, the children I teach learn the Gentle Breath Meditation™ and other techniques to re-connect in full with their bodies. When the whole class does this, the difference is palpable. Where the room had before may have felt jagged and unsettled, it becomes incredibly still and lovely (more unified), and the children are much calmer and more steady within themselves – each contributing to the greater whole.
When a child is given permission to be who they are in this way and to appreciate what it is they bring, they tend to be more relaxed, open to learning, self-accepting and at ease with the notion that there are just some things they need support with.
Knowing that others are best placed to bring their expression to music, or to science, while mine is best placed to bring something else, doesn’t diminish my responsibility to learn about those other things I need support with, but simply allows me to do it in the acceptance and appreciation of where I am with my own talents, whilst also appreciating those amazing things that others can bring that I can’t.
When a child is in a situation where they feel inadequate and tense (and as a consequence in a physiologically altered state), then this is a sure sign that we are not delivering the education curriculum in a way that supports body friendly learning or an appreciative self-acceptance.
As an experienced teacher and as someone who has gone through the system myself, I know that this element of support with self-acceptance is very much lacking in many schools. Yet this simple programme of self-awareness and connection to one’s body can potentially produce lifelong results in allowing a child to develop an intimacy and trust with self.
By contrast, when we deliver the education curriculum in a way that makes children doubt themselves to the point where they think they are stupid, or feel pressure to keep proving that they are not, then it is clear that we have lost sight of a child centred approach and have aligned with the mindset of solely achieving results. Does this not reflect more about what we think we should be seeing, based on the education we had ourselves, rather than connecting with what truly supports our children?
The true purpose of education is to support a child to know and deeply appreciate the innate qualities they bring so that they are empowered to bring that essence to everything that they do, even when at first they don’t understand it.
From this perspective it is easy to tackle something challenging, rather than get caught up in the overwhelm of not understanding or being good enough. The not understanding isn’t then an impediment to self-worth, but an offered point of evolution, in the acceptance that we are already amazing and whole, but that we are forever being offered opportunities to deepen that whole through our awareness, knowledge, wisdom, understanding and love.
It is with deep appreciation of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine that I have managed to unpick my own feelings of inadequacy and to begin to appreciate those qualities I have been innately given, understanding how much they contribute to the bigger picture and to the whole. Being more loving, sure and steady within myself, I am able to express in genuinity and awe the amazingness that others bring that simply are not in my physical makeup to do so.
By Michelle McWaters, Bath, UK
My Teaching Philosophy – The Real Responsibility of a Teacher
Competition or connection: What are students really learning?
Students, teachers and the pressure to achieve: Have we got it back-to-front?
There is an enormous difference between ‘education’ and learning. When a child starts school they have already learnt a great deal; how to talk, walk, play etc.
I agree with you Michelle when you say
“Everybody is already born a special, unique and vital piece to the whole. Very few of us, however, can really appreciate this or can accept it without question. As a result, we live a collective life, missing out on the potential richness of the bigger picture that together is there for us to claim.”
Unfortunately we have as a collective built a society based on jealousy; comparison and competition just to name a few of our negative attributes. We do not celebrate at all our uniqueness or sensitivity and because of this we are missing out on the fact that we have the ability to be the most amazingly sensitive people but we sell ourselves short. We know and allow that animals are highly sensitive and we have this same level of sensitivity but we dull it down by eating all the wrong foods and liquids because as a collective we have decided this is what we will do. But my question has to be who decided this and is it at all possible the wrong decision was made?
Anxiety has dropped drastically now that I no longer expect myself to be able to know and do everything. Nothing wrong with asking for help.
Thank you Michelle, may I add that as we learn to appreciate we are more than this “physical makeup” and that having a divine essence with the Deepening-appreciate-ive-ness of the way we live free from the entrapping of our physical driven desires, with the understanding we “could do things differently”.
The more I connect back to my heart and get back to the real me the more obvious it is to me our current education system
Is so very deeply flawed.
It is interesting to observe how blindly accepting so many of us are when it comes to our education system, especially as parents when we place our children within it. Whilst so many of us will admit that it is not perfect, we try very hard to make it work as it is, without ever really calling out the lovelessness in it or how diminished this makes our children feel. The impact this then has on society and our structures at work, as well as on family life is staggering if only we were open to seeing the truth of it. Our system affects us all, all of the time whether we are students within it or not.
When we feel enough knowing that whatever comes our way we can handle we support children and others to do the same. We do not need to say a word as what we bring is sensed and they respond with no emotion or anxiousness but a natural and confident way of being in their learning.
We communicate so much on an energetic level and when we are connected we hold others in that connectivity, offering them the space to rise to their own connection. Within this connection is the sense of space itself and a sense of settlement that no words can really describe.
If our education was of true good we would learn love first, then anything other than love would be easily identifiable as a lie.
Instead we have a world where people are lost in illusion because love was shown to be something it is not,
And if our world was based on love, then anything that was not love would stand out, and not be tolerated. We are love, so I welcome us all living that in full.
I was having a conversation with a colleague the other day in which I was talking about supporting children with confidence from confirming their essence not what they are good at. She reacted a little because she clocked that that was the whole education system. The system does feel overwhelmingly large to so many and so many feel powerless in the face of it. This also means however that so many get invested in making it work as it is. It won’t ever work until its foundation is based on love not on function.
Teachers are also very invested in getting results and making the system work. If we were all to understand that our current educational model is not it and that we are perhaps inflicting more harm than support through not allowing our kids to express from their essence or indeed teaching from our essence then we might be more open to looking at how we could do things differently.
What if education was simply teaching people how to learn, not what to learn. To have that body centric understanding of what it feels like when we shut down and avoid something, so we can learn the triggers and how to stay open. When we stay open we naturally want to learn and understand, we observe more, and there is going to be so much more wisdom in that learning.
I love this Simon. In the teaching of what and not the how we get stuck in ideals and pictures. Teach the how and we realise we are all equal.
Teachers are in a place of great influence over the children in their care- and it is when they truly care for the children that the children benefit and unhealthy behaviour patterns get a chance to dislodge. I know from the days when I taught children that it was all about the connection with the child not his or her performance.
Absolutely, however, it is of greater benefit when children are supported in this at home and in the school. Children’s primary influence is the home and as a teacher, it can be very hard to undo the lack of self-worth issues arising when a child doesn’t feel supported and nurtured in the home. Having said that – a teacher can plant seeds that children can come back to but it depends very much on the child and what they choose to identify with.
Many adult mental health problems stem from the fact they weren’t given permission as children to be who they are.
Put in it’s simplest form it doesn’t really get more clear!
I was observing the behaviour of a child in a maths lesson I was supporting in last week and his behaviour was not great at all. He was told off several times by his teacher and asked to leave the room. When I was able to get to him and gently worked with him on what he was being asked to do, he settled down immediately and felt much more positive when he began to demonstrate he understood the formula. When our kids feel out of their depth or left behind in their learning at school the tension of this needs to find some release. It really is no wonder that low-level disruption is so prevalent and is a major headache for most schools.
It is always great to support children in these situations, I have been doing exactly this, and it has such a knock on effect as you describe.
‘Admitting vulnerability can be difficult because it is often viewed as a weakness and hardly ever modelled for them by adults.’ Reading this makes me realise as adults how important it is that we express how we are feeling to children rather than pretending that we are ok when they can feel that we are not. By us being honest and expressing our feelings then we are role-modelling that is ok for children to do the same.
I love this Michelle; ‘What if it turns out that we are all just simply evolving in our own time and learning as we go?’ This feels so simple and true and gets rid of competition and comparison.
‘Now this is the way we can be ‘educated’ knowing our innate value and worth and bringing the joy of us to all we do.’ Beautifully expressed Monica. Imagine being able to sustain that innate joy that we see consistently in very small children, bringing it through all the way into adulthood and old age. Now this is what I would call evolution on this planet!
Our deepest learning so often comes from ‘getting it wrong’ and realising that there is no ‘wrong’ just an opportunity to find another way.
“Admitting vulnerability can be difficult because it is often viewed as a weakness and hardly ever modelled for them by adults.” No instead we have sporting stars and celebrities that often lead by bad example. No wonder many kids are so lost.
More and more, we are seeing with a one size fits all Education the ramifications of anxiety, ill mental health, a given up-ness in our teenagers and children. We are seeing teachers leaving the profession in droves, as presenting a curriculum that does not serve with high accountability stakes means teachers loose heart in what they do. This is not supporting children to learn in a fun, caring and nurturing environment.
Yes, the fun, caring and nurturing environment has gone out of the window with targets and performance related pay, but was it ever really there in the first place?
If we don’t trust what we feel, because we haven’t been given the space to explore and confirm what we feel in school and at home, then we grow up cut adrift from an innate knowing, lose confidence in ourselves and can only, at best, function rather than live fully.
Rachel, this has summed up my experience with myself from very young. The lack of connection to my feelings led to incredible doubt in many interactions especially when I was challenged, which also meant that I chose not to express honestly and in the soup this created, I opted for comfort and an easy life rather than rocking the boat and expressing what was true.
It makes such a difference to be in a class where the teacher holds all the students as equally amazing with their own unique set of learnings and understandings in life to be had. This alone takes so much pressure of a students shoulders to prove their worth from what they know
When I think back to teachers I had who were intimidating I can see I really did not feel safe to learn, I was too worried about how they might react.
Having a teacher who knows they are love and shares that with the whole class is priceless, forget anything else first we need to teach our children that they are absolutely beautiful, unique and vital piece to the whole.
From what you are sharing here Michelle, about your experience with the Gentle Breaht Meditation and the impact this has on the children in your class, how wonderful it would be if this could be used as a model to inspire other teachers to introduce this to their classes, and even more amazing would be to get it introduced into the curriculum. Now that would be very intersting, and no doubt bring about some true and lasting changes in children and how they perform in school.
“not knowing is part of the normal process of learning.” One of the greatest opportunities on offer at school is learning to connect with others and work as a group.
The root of the wrongs in the school systems is the idea that children need to be taught something. That in itself is already saying to them that there is something lacking. It would serve society if we were to understand and embrace the fact that the child already has acces for within, naturally so, to the wisdom of the universe and what our role as parents and elders is, is to support them to find their full expression of that in this world.
” Everybody is already born a special, unique and vital piece to the whole. ”
Its so beautiful to read this.
Education needs to confirm who we are in our amazingness, so we have a sense of our qualities and what we bring to the world.
When we hit kids with an assessment on their first day of kindergarten it sets them up to think that learning is about knowing and being able to recall stuff instead of being in the awe and wonderment of discovering something, enjoying the process and coming to understand it.
We knock out that awe and wonder very early, don’t we? We have perfected the art of squashing kids’ natural expression. Does this mean we actually know it very well and so have a reason to do so?
At school, we are ‘subliminally encouraged to think and feel very negatively about ourselves.’ Our system is so geared up for this that we accept it as normal. We are not offered another alternative, and so to think outside of this box… to conceive that another way of being could be possible becomes impossible.
Interesting how we are trapped in a consciousness once we have subscribed to it. It would be interesting to ask 5-year-olds as they enter the system what they are feeling during the school day, what makes sense to them and what doesn’t, what feels right and what doesn’t and then ask adults the same questions about their day. And then once revealing to them how the 5-year-olds feel, observe how far they would go in admitting the recognition within themselves of what was being communicated.
The school system basically grooms us for a wayward society built on good and wrong, competition, achievement, mental supremacy, comparison, jealousy, personal gain and so on. We are not born with this and so the school system is ‘preparing us’ for this under the clock of making us do life well. But what if we should not do this life well at all because life as we know it right now is completely astray from who we naturally are?
Yes, it starts with us adults letting people and children see that it is ok to be vulnerable, ‘Admitting vulnerability can be difficult because it is often viewed as a weakness and hardly ever modelled for them by adults.’
It is so true that something happens within our way of educating that makes us feel less if we do not know something and people then carry this throughout life. When in fact, it is our true nature to support, grow and learn from each other, it contradicts and sets us up to be in competition with each other.
I remember when I was at school the teachers who were the most honest and open were the ones I liked and respected the most, even if I didn’t agree with them. In fact these were the teachers that gained all round respect. It was so refreshing when a teacher admitted that they did not know and had a sense of exploring phenomenon together with us as fellow students rather than those that lorded over us and gave out punishment verbally or physically when we did something that didn’t fit in with their view of how things should be.
“Admitting vulnerability can be difficult because it is often viewed as a weakness and hardly ever modelled for them by adults.”
This is the cycle of each generation to calculate a way through an education system that expects us to slot in and if we don’t question our self worth and in turn who we naturally are.
I have been made aware again very recently how our current model of education can leave us feeling hurt and inadequate. I have also been reminded of the limitations of our championing the intellect (simply memory recall in its basic form) vs the spherical nature of our innate wisdom (in us all) and our ability to connect with and then express truth. Of course the latter is far, far richer than the former but as a collective, we have denied it so much that we fail to recognise or appreciate its enormity as a norm or to even recognise it all. When we put boxes around children and ask them to tick them too we are cementing them into a consciousness that keeps them entrapped in self-perceptions of inadequacy and anxiousness, or pride and supremacy (this can still lead to anxiousness as they are two sides of the same coin). At the end of the day we have simply bought into a consciousness but when we can see it for the illusion that it is we will be able to admit to the potential of and begin to live the innate wisdom and love that we already are, which will then be allowed to flourish in all our systems.
It is just remarkable that you are supporting this next generation in this way Michelle. I am wondering if you do tutoring in Australia? Haha but seriously, what this blog offers and reminds me of is the power of just one person and the amount of lives we can touch if we stay connected to ourselves. I wish I had a teacher like you in school, as I always thought I was stupid growing up as I struggled to write and read easily. Now, it is heart breaking to watch a couple of my kids going through the same thing, as they do not learn in the same way that the masses might. It is one thing having your parents reassure you that you are intelligent and that doing well in school is not the measure of who you are is one thing but having that come from a teacher that is inside the school system is a whole another level of confirming for your class and all those that are blessed to know you.
Michelle, this is a deeply inspiring blog to read. I would have loved to have you as my teacher 60+ years ago and been taught to remember the connection to my body and the messages it constantly imparts, rather than being stood in the corner in disgrace for very minor events.
Just reading that last line Stephanie made me wince at the memory of the ‘disgrace’ – not just for myself – I don’t think I was ever told to stand in the corner – but I do remember it happening to other children, and I do remember clocking it for the awful abuse that it was – it was awful to witness let alone to experience! Have things changed much? Well in a sense yes, I don’t think kids are told to stand with their noses to the wall in the naughty corner anymore, but the sense of punishment for ‘stepping out of line’ is still there – the reward and sanction systems are still very prevalent. However, that said when we fail to take into consideration the all that children come into school with we are already abusing them, the rest stays locked in as normalised hurts – most children (if not all) believing the fault lies within them and not the system will not acknowledge or express the abuse for what it is or even get to that awareness as adults.
“The students I teach have also been learning, through having shared their feelings, that everyone feels the same way and that not knowing is part of the normal process of learning.” This is a really beautiful thing to do – imagine just letting go of all the classing of students into good, average, excellent and bad and just realising we are all people and in the same situation? So to support each other and be open and loving? That would be a very beautiful way to learn.
It is surprising to note just how much the ‘clever’ kids are invested in how they perform and how much they identify with their outcomes. Not only does this happen but they also judge the other children in terms of where they are at too. Nowhere in school are children simply encouraged to appreciate each other from the starting point of who we are and to recognise the strengths of what they naturally bring. We all have gold inside us and the measure of education shouldn’t be how much we squash this but how much we encourage this in active expression.
Children absolutely need to be confirmed in their qualities. It builds an inner strength, arming them to deal with the challenges of life and of school. Once a child knows and accepts themselves for who they are learning becomes easier and making mistakes are not a problem. The problem is that we as adults, don’t truly confirm them because we haven’t truly confirmed ourselves, so the cycle continues to play out with each generation not confirming the next one.
“How is it that we have failed to see the vastness and amazingness of the end result of what we could all bring together if we were to individually express ourselves fully within the whole, without self-judgment or in comparison or competition with each other?” This is a great question Michelle, and one that we should be asking ourselves daily. If we were to fully embrace this and the enormity of the difference we would make worldwide if this were the case, we would indeed live in a very different world.
Michelle you make a great point about how vulnerability is seen as a weakness and hardly ever modelled by adults. I have come to understand that vulnerability is actually a way of me asking for support and honouring where I am at, and deepening my relationships with people as a result of it.
I absolutely loved reading this blog Michelle and I hope the work you are doing with body awareness and ‘supporting children to become aware of what happens in their bodies and what choices they make at the critical point of not understanding something’ is going to be a formal study – because your explanation of the reptilian brain response is exactly what I do as an adult when I react. And I cannot but add, if this opens a can on worms in the education system for our children, what is the potential of it for the workplace for adults?
True education is not about teaching us what we don’t know so that we then can discover who we are, but rather it is about confirming an innate quality that resides with us, which represents everything we already are. It is about fostering and nurturing a relationship with this quality and our bodies so that we know, appreciate and realise that our power and responsibility is to live in connection to this quality, guided by our bodies, so that we can confidently live all that we are in honour of equalness, knowing that this quality resides in all.
‘True education is not about teaching us what we don’t know so that we then can discover who we are, but rather it is about confirming an innate quality that resides with us, which represents everything we already are.’ Gorgeously summed up Carola!
Today I was reflecting on being observed in my college studies and how uncomfortable I am with this. I realised I got flustered in the same excruciating way as I did when I was a child being asked a question in front of the class that I wasn’t ready to answer.
All the experiences of not being understood at school, not having what I had to say appreciated created a great sense of self-doubt and shame even because I couldn’t quite play the system and give what was being asked for. So years later in a similar situation where I thought I had to perform, I didn’t trust what was coming to me naturally. I went into analysing what I was going to say in my head, panicked because this took up time and got myself into a rush. Those school experiences are still there forty years later to be cleared away. I’m so glad I’m giving myself this opportunity but I am finding it very uncomfortable!
Thanks for sharing this Karin. Your comment supports me to understand and realise more the damage that is caused by our current model of education. I wonder just how many adults live with this tension too simply believing they are not good enough because of the schooling they had? The stress this puts on the body cannot be dismissed nor the contraction/lack of worth in terms of how it leads to illness and disease.
What if education was to bring a globally responsible awareness to each child, so that love is felt for the whole of humanity, so that true treasureship is felt for oneself, and so that life on earth is regarded as a necessary stop on a far greater and way more precious journey.
We have set life up to compete against each other. It is exactly the recipe for everything that is not true – to be jealous, comparing, judging, and spending all our time in self rather than considering the all. The education system is just one example of this, where we have not made it about quality and people first.
Yes, Hannah. The way we have set up the system means that very few of us, if any, can hang on to our spherical way of relating to the world that we all have as very young children. We learn very quickly to dismiss it, to disconnect and see ourselves as separate to everyone else.
True Hannah and Michelle – not only to be in separation but also to spend many years in anxiousness of being stupid or lesser than others.
“Admitting vulnerability can be difficult because it is often viewed as a weakness and hardly ever modelled for them by adults.” I remember being a terribly shy child. I have had real difficulty admitting my vulnerability all through my life. As a result I have grown a hard exterior, hardened up to buffer the blows that come at me. I feel now to surrender much more to my preciousness and vulnerability. My schooling served to harden me, however, Universal Medicine has been a turning point in my understanding of the deeper meaning to life’s blows. Now, more often than not, I can honour my vulnerability, much more deeply and I can wear it on my sleeve for all to enjoy.
“How is it that we have failed to see the vastness and amazingness of the end result of what we could all bring together if we were to individually express ourselves fully within the whole, without self-judgment or in comparison or competition with each other?” Comparison and competition and self-judgement need to be vigilantly observed, in our behaviour and when we feel the slightest leaning toward this tendency, we need to nip it in the bud, for our own evolution, into the true magnificence we all actually are. There is no place for comparison, self-judgement and competition. One day this will be the way of schools,also. No more competition-please!!!
“Everybody is already born a special, unique and vital piece to the whole. Very few of us, however, can really appreciate this or can accept it without question. As a result, we live a collective life, missing out on the potential richness of the bigger picture that together is there for us to claim.” Wow, what an opening statement-Kapow!!! We are magnificence in motion. Claim it baby!
‘I have observed children become aware of what is physically happening in their bodies at that critical moment when they don’t understand something. They share there is an anxiety – their breathing changes and becomes shallower, and a feeling of discomfort and inadequacy arises because of the belief that they are ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ for not having understood.’ This is huge – the trap and scarring of the right and wrong illusion, when there is simply expression , and the joy and learning in that.
Goodness I wonder if we have all experienced this and it never really goes away? That as adults we still have these feelings of inadequacy regularly and have behaviours we use to cope rather than spot the feeling and address that?
To be able to bring to our children the understanding of what anxiety is and the support to see any blocks that may be there is all that is needed to learn. For how can an anxious child learn, when an anxious adult many find life difficult to live? We simple portray that anxiety is just a fact of life, rather than a link to our own blocks and unsureness.
There is an enormous undercurrent beneath the surface that we all feel but very few admit to in full. In normalising low-level anxiety we bury what we know to be true and accept abuse in its wake.
The fact our education system has it so vastly wrong equates to a big reason why we have such high unemployment rates, suicide rates, depression and general lack of zest for life.
Gosh, having a teacher like you would leave a lifelong impression, that I am certain. Turning the system as it is on it’s head feels like it would make an enormous difference, to everyone involved. What is it about where we are at, that we’re not willing to see what’s not working? Why do we soldier on and accept things that simply aren’t ok?
Indeed Ariana, when we as adults show vulnerability as our normal then this would be the model for children too.
Our current education system is not about making us to understand and develop who we are but instead tries to make us valuable and usable individuals to our societies to a certain standard and ideal. Educations is never about what we could bring to the whole when we all develop that naturally known and available talents and skills we all hold as from being a child.
The phrase ‘a usable individual’ reaches down into the depths of what is driving the education system. Society needs us in a particular mould, and its willing to provide the incentive (job, money, status) to encourage the behaviour it wants. So it is a set up from the start, ready for us to don our straight jacket of their choosing.
The whole premise the education system is founded on is to produce capable workers for commerce and industry etc. When we look at the curriculum we can see that what we are teaching hasn’t shifted very much since the Victorian period. How we are teaching has shifted, but in essence the nuts and bolts are the same.
Thanks for sharing this with us Michelle, having been one of the kids that flunked out of school I can say that for a long time I saw myself as a failure in life because of this. When I really look at our education system now I see a model that has been created to reward those that do well in it and creating competition between all that are in it. This is such a far cry from the way it could be, nurturing each childs essence, to not make anything wrong or right but to let education be about the unfolding of the being rather than the race to the top of the mountain.
Supporting children to discover and appreciate their unique quality and what they bring to the world, their invaluable, essential contribution, they are here to make would just cut out feelings of inadequacy, doubt etc. What a wonderful gift education could be were it to understand its role in our evolution.
Wow, Ariana, I wrote a whole blog to encapsulate what you have just written in one sentence! That clarity and power in what you have written can not be denied. We are abusing our children on a daily basis and yet how many of us are open to seeing the abuse for what it is? Thank you for your insight and wisdom.
Michelle, what you are sharing here feels very true from what I have observed and heard with children, ‘most slip into the “I am a bad learner” mode of thought and beat themselves up.’ I asked about 15 children of 6 and 7 years old how they felt when they made a mistake, most of them said they felt frustrated with themselves or they were hard on themselves, only one said it was ok to make mistakes and that they were simply learning.
Much of what is taught in schools is not understood by kids as, more often then not, the content has no real relevance to their lives and there is no connection by the teachers before the information is being delivered.
Because many, if not most, teachers within the system come from ideals and beliefs our kids are not getting what they know to be of truth and they are incredibly turned off. They are craving love and honesty as well as a confirmation of the truth they know and this simply doesn’t get acknowledged.