In the words of Mark Twain,
A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.
I think our attitude plays a much larger role than we think in our experience at school. In society, school is epitomised as a place of boredom and monotony, rather than a place of learning. I think we would benefit hugely if we changed our mindset towards school and started to embrace it instead.
When going to school, we should be excited to learn and also grateful for the prestigious opportunity of being able to have an education in the first place. Many people across the world could not even fathom the idea of being properly educated. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), about 263 million children and youth are out of school. That’s essentially a quarter of the population of Europe full of children who are not fortunate enough to be getting an education. I think once we realise how lucky we are, we start to appreciate things more — which we should apply to school and everything in life.
However, whilst we should be appreciative for what we do have, it is safe to say that Australia’s schooling system is not exactly the best. Our entire primary and secondary school education is all leading towards that one number: the ATAR. Society has been shaped in such a way that this number has been thought to make your future — which should not be the case. Even in the years before VCE, our lives are constructed around those letters on our reports. Our minds should not be defined by a number nor a letter, for they are more complex than that. As suggested in the articles, jobs in the future are not so much based on how much knowledge we have, but rather what we can achieve with that knowledge. All the information on coding, for example, can be found in the small devices in our pockets, but what cannot be found, are the plethora of things which can be made with skills such as coding. If schools focused more on creative thinking rather than drilling information into our brains, then not only would we enjoy school more, but we would also be more accustomed to the ‘real world’ — for employers are now starting to look for ‘soft skills’ instead.
Many famous individuals who are known for their immense success in life weren’t the brightest of students at school, but what they did have was unique ideas which they developed on. Bill Gates, for instance, said that he failed in some subjects in his time at school, whilst his friend passed in all. Now, he is an engineer at Microsoft and Gates is the owner of Microsoft. This further elucidates the idea that schools are not everything and that they do not and should not define one’s future.
I think another big problem with the way in which we are graded, is that they give rise to a comparison between students. Whilst friendly rivalry can be healthy and help people become better, it has a limit. It starts to become unhealthy when, for example, Tommy receives a C on his algebra test, as opposed to Andy who received an A+. Tommy then starts to dislike maths and stops paying attention in class because he has given up and thinks of himself as incapable. This could then develop in further issues. Students should not be given letter grades which define their knowledge but rather, constructive feedback so that they improve on what they need to work on — which will evidently vary from student to student. This not only gets rid of the whole comparison dilemma but also makes students less stressful in general, which is great for their health. I feel like students would also have more to achieve and pursue other than getting that A in History. Children should have enough free time to focus on being children — whatever that means for them.
In my time at Melbourne High School, I hope to not only be more academically knowledgable but to also just a better person in general. By the time I graduate, I want to have an abundance of memories that I can look back on and appreciate the relationships I had with my friends and teachers. I also want to have built on life-skills such as resilience, communication, teamwork and time management skills. Essentially, I want to remember and be known for more than just my ability to regurgitate facts in an exam. For whilst academic skills can get you far, as aforementioned, creative thinking is the way of the future.