Staying Relevant

I know I just posted, and I promise to keep this short. I wanted to just put some thoughts out there of stuff I’ve been mulling over recently. Isn’t that what people do on blogs in general anyway? I’m still getting the hang of this…

This past year during some classes, I’ve taken a bit of a look at education in conflict.  Prevailing in a lot of the literature and best practice guidelines is the theme that education during conflict must be relevant (flashy dime word alert!). It makes perfectly good sense though: in exceptional circumstances such as conflict, education ought to follow suit.  But here’s the thing, I’m wondering why we aren’t really thinking more about relevant education for other populations as well.   As I go to visit the some rural areas in Rajasthan, I’m left wondering why there is an expectation for children to learn “by the book” when their educational needs may actually be altogether different.  Why not focus rural curricula on good farming techniques, animal husbandry, etc.  Sure, basic literacy and numeracy must not be neglected, how could a farmer otherwise barter his or her goods?  Of course, when I actually think about it, creating relevant education for anyone and everyone is a logistic and practical nightmare, if not impossibility.  Aslo, nailing down what children’s specific needs actually are is an entirely different can of worms. But I suppose what I’m left thinking is that education should serve to expand livelihoods (and human flourishing and….capabilities?) in whatever way that may look like for each individual.  And, I think to do that, it’s got to be pretty relevant. 

Thoughts?

Alice J

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One thought on “Staying Relevant

  1. Having grown up in a rural state (Vermont) I noticed that people were very concerned about education–classical education. They didn’t believe that their school education should only be about farming. My great-grandfather was a blacksmith but knew Latin; my grandfather was a farmer but was also in the Vt. state legislature; my father grew up on a dairy farm but had 4 years of French and loved to read and debate John Dewey;’s philosophy of education. (His mother went to Middlebury College and later had nine children.) The culture of that particular area was that we need what few people we have to be interested and educated in many things,no matter how they make their living. They need to be happy, healthy and engaged in making sure their society is happy and healthy, too. So whereas I do not think rote learning is good for anyone, learning how to think about life shouldn’t only be for the wealthy.

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