Striving for Mediocracy

I was reflecting this morning on an exchange I had at a recent event I was at (teaching mini-conference at a prominent business school). I was the keynote speaker. During my talk, I asked the group if their graduates were being prepared to change the world, and the response (amidst some laughs) was along the lines of “they can barely get through their exams “.
As is usual when I speak, I talked about the quality of lectures as learning events (poorest type of learning event available). During the questions after my talk, one of the participants noted that all the other business schools she was aware of lecture exactly the same way they did at their school.
As I thought about this today, I thought, “I’ll bet that is one thought that has never entered the head of anyone who has awakened in the morning with the intention of changing the world”.
We’re not going to change the world by doing exactly the same thing that everyone else does. Education today is all about conformity and passing exams. If we want our children and students to conform and pass exams, then we should be doing exactly what everyone else is doing. If we want our children and students to change the world, we need to prepare them to change the world.
I suppose this only matters to those of us who believe that there are things in the world that need changing.
I, for one, am not satisfied with striving for mediocracy. I try to inspire my students to change the world!

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4 thoughts on “Striving for Mediocracy

  1. I agree with you Sir, schools, colleges, universities, every educational institution wants students to excel, but they don’t inspire them to learn, to know, they only teach them how to compete and how to get marks and if you get good marks and know how to confirm in the educational setting you are a bright student, ready to be a great success in life; which inspires most students to do rote learning. As a student; I am not saying that rote learning doesn’t help us to remember materials, but it doesn’t necessarily always help us to have an indepth UNDERSTANDING. One can only be an extraordinary student if there is a thirst for knowledge that never ends, if they always want to keep learning more and are very passionate about learning and knowing, rather than just knowing how to get marks. Striving for excellance only begins with wanting to get up every single day and learn as much as one can, I believe that the more overall learning we have about different subjects, the better it is because every subject always helps to inform every other subject and burns in our memory like fire and helps us to remember better and recollect better. It is sad that the focus of the educational institutions we rely on for education is NOT ‘educating’ students in a way that it should be. Midiocrity is definitely not something to strive for but educational settings are not inspiring students to strive for their fullest potential. A student once asked me, that why is it that we are not taught how to manage our finances better? and making students ready to face the world outside, when they finish their formal education is yet another point that seems to be going unthought of, or atleast not given any importance. Lastly, I wanted to say that I really appreciate your efforts and endeavours alot and from the bottom of my heart. I’d like to be of help, if I could be.

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  2. Ishani,

    Good to hear from you. I hope you are doing well.

    Being aware of just how vacuous formal education has become (when it comes to learning) is a great start. I was pleased to see a report that was published Friday by the Sutton Trust that points out how removed from learning (at least the scholarship of learning) state schooling is, should raise the profile of what I’m trying to accomplish – putting learning back into the heart of education.

    We’ll see.

    Jesse

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    1. I am sorry for the late reply, yes I am doing fine, thank you. I hope so too, very much. I think it is for individuals to realize the importance of ‘learning for knowledge, wisdom and intellectual growth’ more than anything else. I try to remind myself the true value and purpose of education and learning everyday and hope it’s a good start!

      Ishani

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