There's an argument to say that schools are institutions and that children who for in school will fit in large businesses. That the behaviours expected and encouraged in a school will be very similar to those in businesses. That is you can control and modify your behaviour to be successful in school then you are gaining skills that will enable you to operate in a law company or the NHS or an insurance boardroom offer the police or banking.... You get the picture. But... Successful entrepreneurs (Alan Sugar, Richard Branson) Will be often argue that they didn't do well in school because they didn't fit. They couldn't work in an institution unless they were the boss. Most children grow up top be employees so school works for them. A few children are successful without investing their soul in am institution and school worked for them in the sense that they learnt how to buck the system and thrive as an outsider. The real problem are those children that don't enjoy school and end up not being successful, happy, productive (not just in an economic sense) members of society. Meeting their needs is a challenge. Are we up to meeting it?
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Increasingly, business is much more fluid and so far ahead of the current system. I would like to see a system that identifies and harnesses the passions of every child and supports them to nurture the importance of those and how they can effectively grow them and communicate them. Business is crying out to hear more about why they should employ someone and learn more about them. The balance between a grade and a passion needs to shift. They can actually be held in equal regard by many. One hat does not fit all but enabling children to embrace passions, progress them, record them and communicate them effectively and with integrity together with sharing their records and achievements in these areas would be great. I am aware of many employers that now look upon these elements of more worthy of a position than those with just a grade. There is a blend to be found and it just needs the right structures. Business would love to see more of that. I am sure.
Many would argue that schools and businesses don't expect the same behaviour. In Peter Hartkamp's book, Beyond Coercive Education, he lists many examples of how the adult workplace has become increasingly more comfortable – flexible hours, the number of breaks, ergonomic conditions etc. He says if workers are bullied, become burnt out or stressed, it is the obligation of the employer to act. If employers fail to act they can go to court.
Businesses realise that it’s in their interest to ensure that their employees are happy and can develop themselves. Happy employees tend to be more productive. But have schools realised this? More on this here: https://www.progressiveeducation.org/approaches/why-do-we-need-alternatives/childrens-rights-conflict/
Are schools preparing students for the workplace? Not according to business leaders: https://www.progressiveeducation.org/approaches/why-do-we-need-alternatives/reimagine-14/
The argument that school leaders will use is that to run schools effectively, where children are learning and are safe then some things must be one sized. Everyone (staff & children) arriving to school and lessons on time so that they are in the right place at the right time. Policies on things as diverse as IT, safeguarding, attendance, first aid, equalities etc being consistently followed. Schools need some rules/expectations and if these are to be applied fairly then some onesizism is going to occur. But... And it's a BIG but... Schools also need to be flexible enough to respond to individuals if they are going to fan the flames of creativity. They need to understand the people (for that is what children are) in order to meet each of their needs and allow them to flourish.
And let's be clear about this - getting the balance right between structure and flexibility is, and will always be, an enormous challenge. There is no quick and easy solution. There is no simple switch of philosophy to a free flowing, autonomous system in a secondary school with 1000 plus students!
I'm here because I know schools can do better. But I believe this is an incremental process not a revolution. Spaces like this can only help in arguing the case.
I think we have to be (up to meeting it), somehow. I guess what I'd like to see is flexibility and variety (across all aspects of education) so that every child can find their own 'right' path in life. The way they learn, their talents and passions, their aspirations will all be very different, yet we have this fixed one-size-fits-all view of what education and success looks like. There are some great examples of people doing it differently, but they're still niche or location-specific (so only available to some). Businesses have been saying for a long time that the education system is not producing the employees they need for the future, or identifying skills rather than exam or degree results and many business leaders are hampered in their leadership by their own experiences of school. What to do about it? (Million dollar question!)