In the Guardian, George Monbiot lays out a compelling argument that the dominant mode of education in the West may have been well-suited for an industrial age, but not for a post-industrial, increasingly automated one.
In this new age, both rote physical tasks and rote mental tasks are being taken over by increasingly capable machines. If the larger context and purposes of education have changed, why has the dominant mode of education not changed along with it?
Although not mentioned in the article, several institutions have long sought to de-regiment, de-mechanize, and genuinely humanize education: the Montessori tradition, and St. John’s College in Annapolis and Santa Fe. Among other things, these institutions consist of meticulously-designed structures which ensure that students are exposed to what is important, but also give each student plenty of room to pursue what he or she finds most compelling. Self-driven learning, truly curious learning, is given space to grow.
Might not these be the kinds of educational models that are most needed in an age of automation?
Training humans to be more like machines doesn’t make sense; let’s train them to be more like humans.
Read the Guardian article here: “In an age of robots, schools are teaching our children to be redundant.”