23 November 2009

Change Zombies: A Generation Without Minds

Unless you are an exceptional parent, you will turn your children over to an educational establishment for a significant -- perhaps the most significant -- part of his upbringing. No matter what the child represents to you, to this establishment, your child is an experiment in educational curriculum design.   An experiment in the creation of change zombies.

Unfortunately, the title "Change Zombies" is not an exaggeration. You may begin to understand, if you read this spiked-online article. The "idea of change" can work its way into the minds of today's curriculum designers, overwhelming their basic equilibrium and sense of mental balance.
In the worldview of the educational establishment change has acquired a sacred character that determines what is taught. It creates new requirements and introduces new ideas about learning. And it encourages the mass production of a disposable pedagogy.

...Often change and social transformation are represented as if they are unique to our time....Knowledge itself is called into question because in a world of constant flux it must be continually overtaken by events. Policy has become so focused on keeping up with change that it has become distracted from the task of giving meaning to education.

The fetishisation of change is symptomatic of a mood of intellectual malaise, where notions of truth, knowledge and meaning have acquired a provisional character. Perversely, the transformation of change into a metaphysical force haunting humanity actually desensitises society from distinguishing between a passing novelty and qualitative change.

...Curriculum engineers often display indifference, if not contempt, for abstract thought and the knowledge developed in the past. Both are criticised for being irrelevant or outdated; only new information that can be applied and acted on is seen as suitable for the training – and it is training and not teaching – of digital natives.

...The instability that afflicts the education system is turned into the normal state of an institution that needs to be responsive to the uncertain flow of events. Although fads come and go, the constant feature of today’s throwaway pedagogy is a deep-seated hostility to teaching academic subjects to young people, especially to those who come from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups. So-called modernisers regard the subject-based curriculum as far too rigid for a school system that must adapt to a constantly changing world.

...Sadly, the ceaseless repetition of the idea that the past is irrelevant desensitises people from understanding the influence of the legacy of human development on their lives. The constant talk of ceaseless change tends to naturalise it and turn it into an omnipotent autonomous force that subjects human beings to its will. _spiked-online
If the parents are able to spend enough time with the child in the early years before school, and if they are able to supplement the child's official schooling with an authentic education provided at home and under the direct supervision of the family, the child will likely turn out fine. But most parents are too busy working for the tax collector and the bill collector to provide a child with a quality, meaningful contact education. And so the child is thrown to the experimenters.

Change is, undeniably, an everpresent condition of life -- particularly young life. But for the health of the child's mind it should be a background condition, not a foreground condition. If perverse educators and curriculum planners push the idea of "change" to the forefront, it too easily becomes a euphemism for meaningless emptiness and void substituted in the place of the deep and vital truths that all children must learn to create their own meaning within themselves.

Modern pedagogy assumes that this will happen on its own -- or they assume that if teachers of the proper ideology control education from top to bottom, the child can be set on the (politically) correct path by means of proper indoctrination.

But indoctrination is not education, and it has nothing to do with the deep morality that every child must learn -- regardless of the presence or absence of any religion in his life. The overriding emphasis upon political and ideological indoctrination combined with the fetish of "change" leaves an empty mind, a change zombie.

It is happening at all levels of education. It is reflected in our culture, in rampant political corruption. The widespread abandonment of books and solitude. The irritated dismissal of deep meanings that require more than a minute or two to absorb. The susceptibility to emotional pitches from well-cadenced politicians with speechwriters who understand the necessity of a short-attention-span appeal.

There is change, and there is meaningful change. The difference is lost to modern professors and graduates of university schools of education, but it is a critical difference. Most of the change that the young experience is meaningless, because they are moving from nowhere to nowhere. Meaningful change is moving from a significant somewhere to another significant somewhere.

But children are never given the opportunity to get anywhere -- they are pushed, twitter-like, from one distraction to the next without significant meaning ever setting in. Curriculum designers and educators are themselves lost in distraction, drifting in turbulent currents, having burned all their navigational charts as a demonstration of their independence of thought.

It is an ongoing tragedy of the wide-scale destruction of mind potential. It is simply how things are done in the age of change. Throw in a dash of hope for good measure. Better than nothing....

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Blogger read it said...

It might be harder to indoctrinate teachers into this style of thinking if the teachers were themselves a little brighter and more introspective. Inductivist blogs that the current average IQ of teachers is 104.
Administrators in education are no better.

Save the children. :-)

Tuesday, 24 November, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks for the links and thoughts, SG.

If the children's minds are turned to mush, what hope for the future?

We'd best see that we live long enough to turn that particular trend around one way or another.

Tuesday, 24 November, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

You this makes me feel hopeless.....

Its not just the school....
Its the whole value system, which revolves around everything needing to making a buck and the confusion of needs and wants.

Advertisements practically throw dynamite into the fire by telling us what we need to be happy while at the same time hyper stimulating our passive senses.
Ruining our very own future by trying to make money now........


Friday, 28 May, 2010  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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