Thursday, August 29, 2013

Radio Episode 3 - Is School the Only Way to a Good Education?

The First thing you hear when you tell people that you are thinking about dropping out of school, is that you shouldn't turn your back on an education. This is forgivable because most of us have endured year after year of schooling, so it becomes almost impossible to think outside that frame of reference.

Let me ask this though.. How do kids learn to walk and talk? And as essential as those skills are you would think the government would institutionalize the process children learning to walk or talk. But somehow almost every child if left alone to learn in the presence of active adults, will watch them, and mimic that behavior. This is how education happens, by actually watching people do the things you want or need to learn.

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In nature, specialization does not happen the way it's done through schooling. In nature, and as an example let me use someone who has a particular interest in music.
Well if that person makes it a habit to constantly improve their skills and understanding of music through either constant practice, reading books or simply watching tutorials on the topic, They will inevitably be lead into different fields, skills and practices.

Boredom is the natural educator. Because we can't sit still and do nothing, we have to constantly be engaged in something, whether positive or negative. Whenever we are actually engaged in something we have no choice but to learn and in essence we are practicing that skill.
So if all you do is spend your time playing games, then that is the skill-set you are building. Over time as a gamer, you will get bored and try other games, may take an interest in making your own games, may simply be interested in the graphics, or you might find you like the music and sound effects. These simple interests branch off into almost every other academic field of learning.
A nice analogy to this is to compare monoculture and perma-culture. Monoculture spend all their time growing one crop in mass, leaving the field vulnerable to pest attacks and the soil is uniformly being depleted.
This is when you have a large field with acre and acres of the same crop. Sounds like a good idea at first, sort of like schooling and how individual topics are isolated and people are taught to specialize. This leaves a huge number of school educated people vulnerable to certain prejudices and biases
Through perma-culture, by slowly developing the soil and blending a multitude of different crops, herbs and even animals sometimes, the farmer is able to create a sort of self sustaining farm that is well protected from pests by carefully selecting crops that compliment and offer protective benefits to each other.
This is the same as a child learning academics not by being crammed into some one size fits all school system which drills down into topics before the students feel the need for them. Instead through self education a student can follow their interests in certain activities and professions, and over time, their natural curiosity and competitive drive will lead them to the academic fields of study behind the things they love doing.

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