It’s fairly agreed that education is based on an outdated, “factory” model – you go in at 7 and come out at 18, apparently as well rounded individuals. If you fail at one stage of the pipeline, you are put back to the beginning of that stage, hoping a better result will emerge second time round. Sir Ken Robinson has some thoughts on this, specifically how schools kill creativity. The Khan Academy too, specifically about turning the homework/classwork model on its head.
I wonder though, as well as placing greater emphasis on The Arts – that which makes us most Human – we should help students at a younger age identify their careers. Based less on the interests of a 13 year old (GCSE choices start to limit you before you’ve really understood the opportunity) but rather based on personality types.
Perhaps this is a bit Ayn Rand or Orwelian of me, but through personality tests like Myers Briggs and others (yes, they’re flawed, but we could develop or modify them as appropriate), could we not help identify from an early age an individuals propensity to one of the following?
I’m still tinkering on the titles, and indeed whether a 4th is missing, but basically they break down as follows:
1. Advancers are those interested in theoretics, in learning, in creativity and The Arts, they are advancing thinking and culture. They might end up being scientists or researchers, lecturers or philosophers, writers or dancers…
2. Builders and Enhancers are those interested in building, or rebuilding – us and our world. They would become the doctors, engineers, architects or programmers… They put into practise the theories.
3. Processors are those that are interested in management, of people, of processes, of ideas. Lawyers, marketers, poject managers, financiers… those that make things happen and give us boundaries to work most effectively within.
Your education can then best equips you according to your best traits.
What I like about this early identification is that it does away with the need to choose your career at 13, 16 and then 18 at exam time; instead it gives you direction and guidance towards a life that fulfills your personality and natural levels of curiosity. It wont constrain you either. Too often we meet people in a career that they only chose because of promised income, which often fails to materialise; only later, after a few years, do they learn the true ways of the working world and recognise they are not doing what they want to do, or what they’d be best at.
I’m sure that it’s a flawed system, so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and help me think this one through!