As an interdisciplinary studies major, I am the architect of my own education. That is a power few can say, because they follow a step by step education process where they are doing everything because they are told to, not because it is their passion. I whole heartily believe that if I could redesign the education system I would wrap the entire outline around the idea of shaping passion in student’s minds.
How education is being currently taught is an outdated structure. Instead of teaching children what we think, we should teach children how to think. This is where this force comes into play, because who says we know what is best for them. What we were taught as children could be completely irrelevant by the time they are learning it. Sugata Mitra, a professor that spoke in the short film, Future Learning, dove into this topic of obsolete education. He compares how hundreds of years ago riding a horse and fighting with a sword were taught and then became a sport, just an extra skill that was not a commonality to be taught, because it was no longer relevant. Being taught how to ride a horse was important for travel and hunting, now we learn how to drive a car or cook. Education is a growing entity. Mitra posed this question that reading and writing might one day be just a sport, just something we do for fun and that a new age of education will take cover. He does not directly believe education is broke because of this, just outdated. Here is where, if I had the opportunity to redefine education, I would follow this path of progression.
Knowledge to me is only as powerful to the person who holds it. If you, as a learner, are just taking in this education because you just want a degree or just because you want a job, that’s as far as you will ever get. Knowledge can only take you so far, the rest is all on your ambition to take that knowledge and actually make something out of it.
This brings me back to being an architect; since I am in control of my education, I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I am picking the classes in an interdisciplinary fashion, I am trying as hard as it is possible to push myself, and I am enjoying every second of learning because it is an adventure of everything I care so deeply about. In a perfect world, I see everyone having this opportunity to be an architect; to be able to learn across disciplines and stretch their knowledge to places they have never been.
Your education should be built by taking what you want to do in the future and then organizing your education to give you this knowledge to get you where you need to be. Education right now is this constant endless doctrine of the past. We need to update our times because we are not preparing students for the world we grew up it, and we are not preparing them for the world we are living in now, we have to prepare them for a world that does not even exist yet. How do you do that? You do not teach them the skills for a subject, you teach them skills for adapting, learning, communicating and thinking for themselves. These are through transdisciplinary lessons; this idea of learning in real life experience way, across a series of disciplines.
If you just prepare yourself with a specific discipline for a job, that job could be obsolete in the future; you need to prepare yourself for the passion that you are alive for, and then education yourself on the job that will allow you to do that passion. For me personally, I do not just want to be an artist because I like painting, I want to change the world, I want to spread my ideologies and art is just the medium I am doing it through. This is why when you tell a student to do something and you do not give them a reason it is because they are asking ‘why?’ What is the relevancy? What is the reason a child has to learn what you are teaching? If they do not have that passion that reasoning behind their education they will have no reason to swallow any of the knowledge fed to them in school.
I have watched my mother be a teacher for eight years now and the first year she told me that every day children would ask her why they had to learn the quadrative formula, or verb tenses, or geometric shapes. After the first year of teacher we sat down and I explained to her that I said the same things I school, because I was never told why these things were important. From then on, anytime she taught a lesson she would propose the contextual thinking behind it; apply it real life and have them act out a probable situation where they would actually use this information. Never again has a student asked her why they have to learn algebra or historic dates.
The creator of KhanAcadamy stretches this believe that education should come from passion not pattern by really trying to be that inspiration in his student’s educational path. He designs his whole academic philosophy off having interest in a subject helps him want to learn and helps his students want to learn because it makes them care more. Having a good teacher is such a big part of students finding their passion because it makes them feel like there is something worth fighting for and caring about.
I have found so much freedom and power in being the architect of my own education not just as an interdisciplinary major but at Plymouth State, and there progressive teaching styles as a whole. I hope that this paper does not stay a hypothetical of how I could change education in the future but I hope it becomes a next project, so that education can become a place where everyone is the architect of their own education.