I’m a smidgen terrified by people who don’t know how to fix a flat tire or change their oil.
I am indignant to imagine that the education system would willfully train generations of future drivers without giving them even the most essential skills for their future world.
Specialization is important, but there is no excuse for any system to neglect introducing students to the basic skills that will have a fundamental relevance to those students’ lives!
- How many times does the average American touch a computer? Why was programming not part of their Common Core Curriculum?
- How many times does the average American eat a day? How is it that we have graduates who are clueless about growing food?
- How many people in the world have cell phones? How does anyone have a degree without some exposure to radiography or circuitry?
This is why Whole Human Development’s Pedagogy is built upon a cycle of 16 vocations. These vocations are designed to associate with all fundamental human activities. Integrating education and development with a diverse and repeated exposure to these various archetypes is to anchor learning within a practical and resonate contexts.
Early and Often
To remedy arrested development, diverse experiential learning prepares individuals for adulthood — by the time they are adults
(as opposed to allowing them to figure these “non-academic” things out themselves after graduating).
The following list describes the importance of each vocation.
- Hunting/Seeking. Not exclusively the killing of animals for food. The importance is this: Any goal is a hunt. The skills used in a hunt are transferrable to the pursuit of any objective.
- Journalism/Study. Even though most conventional schooling emphasises “study”, it does not instill the joy of learning. Additionally, journalism is important, because, even in a world of Google search, there are plenty of important things that one needs to investigate for themselves.
- Exploration. Because screens are not reality. No matter how impressive educational technology becomes. There is no substitute for exiting your comfort zone and adapting to the unpredictable.
- Nature/Ecology. Because roofs and walls are an illusion. We are all citizens of earthlings and we should become familiar with our fellow earthlings and outdoor systems.
- Engineering. Mechanics, communications, programming. Nearly all the examples I mentioned above are part of engineering. But, we have scared so many minds away from this critical field because they were told that they required better math skills before they might become engineers. THIS IS BACKWARDS! Give people hands-on experience with technical and mechanical projects early and often. When you enable them to find something that connects with them, they will learn the math and science IMPLICITLY.
- Construction/Security. Every person should know the basics of home building and self-defence. Outsourcing development to contractors and banks is the formula for a housing bubble. Excessive outsourcing of self-defense to police and military degrades individual liberty.
- Society/Diplomacy/Laws. A person should not have to wait until their first subpoena to learn about the legal system. Children should be empowered with the skills that enable them to engage in civic duties and legal processes competently.
- Self-Care/Self-Awareness. Cognitive behavioral therapy, non-violent communication, meditation, and hubris. Along with personal nutrition, these practices are just the beginning of a long list of personal skills that enable a person to take care of themselves, becoming a healthy paradox: Confident and Humble. Assertive and Forgiving. Daring yet Careful.
- Inspiration/Creativity. Brene Brown and others make it abundantly clear that creativity is as fundamental to health as breathing. But, with rampant shaming (justified as practicality) people are driven away from creative activities with jaded advice like: “That won’t pay your bills” or “It’s good, but it’s not great”. As if perfection and marketability were the only reasons a person should create. Every person was born to create.
- Commerce/Accounting. It is important to practice commerce and business. What good is it to only purchase? How can someone have a perspective about corporations or governments without having tried their own hand at building a system of people, goods, and services? How can anyone maintain their financial health without learning early good accounting and budgeting habits?
- Leadership. Similar to creativity, generations of children have been done a disservice. They were told that to be a “leader” they would need to be an outstanding athlete, intellect, or performer. Everyone needs experience with leadership. The time to lead can arrive any day.
- Cultivation. You’ve seen the bumper stickers: “I see a doctor once a year, a lawyer once a decade, but I eat three times a day. Thank a farmer!” The locavore trend is growing, but the education system has not adjusted to empower all students with this fundamental skill which enables people to provide necessities for themselves and their community.
- Philosophy. Like creativity and leadership, contemplation has been fenced off, guarded with wire and lifted upon an ivory tower. I don’t even like to use the word “philosophy” because of the negative preconceptions people associate with it. Thought. Thinking. Spirituality. Compare and contrast. This is not a fancy exercise exclusive to puff-toad academics and pontifical stoners. Philosophy is “the study of the fundamentals of reality”. The classics have survived for centuries because of their fundamental nature. These concepts should be made accessible to children. We are confused when we think that philosophy is beyond young people. Their fresh intuition is prime to help them engage with the fundamentals.
- Community. To be seen is to be. To train students as if they are gladiators approaching a grand zero-sum battle in the arena of “adulthood” is to miss the point entirely. Yes, the world is competitive. But, the greatest competitive advantage is the ability to work within community.
- Healing. Thank goodness for medical technology and its specialists. But, the ability to foster health and healing is a critical skill for every human. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, if one gains experience with both — all the better
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~Brene Brown
Every person has the capacity to enrich and empower others.
To gloss over this is an inexcusable failure of conventional education. To teach children that they are recipients instead of actors is to deny their inborn capacity to mentor and counsel.
The effect is devastating.
As The Invention of Childhood will tell you, the practice of isolating young developing humans from risk and responsibility is a relatively new phenomenon.
With good intentions, love, and concern, we have paved ourselves a road to incapacity.
It is understandable that people would want their children to become well-payed and respected white-collar “specialists”. But, to create an education system designed towards this singular outcome is to entirely miss the point of human development and the prosperity of our species.