As promised, in the rest of the C2 series, I will try to dig in deeper in different subjects mentioned during the event. This first feedback regards one of my many Braindates, in which we talked education!
Coming at C2 where current and future innovators meet, I was really looking forward to collect different takes on the matter, especially since today’s students are tomorrow’s workers, and education plays a big role in preparing us to enter the workspace. I was also conscious experience and culture impact our relationship to the subject. But to what extend?
a stagnant concept?
Education had already been a subject we looked into during our first couple of “discovery” weeks at thecamp. The HIVE staff-team had indeed identified three key issues for us to focus on during our residency: Oceans (plastic), Mobility, and Education**. From unschooling to mobile or virtual classes, we produced a plethora of little projects for the usual “Friday – Pitch Day” ceremony. As Millenials and Gen Z still studying or freshly graduated, we all felt concerned with the subject.
Throughout our research and meetings during the themed week, we realized that in France, having the “right” diploma is still highly appreciated in some fields. Even if we say otherwise, many still chose their paths regarding social recognition or school rankings. Experience has not yet bypassed what we may call here “classic education”. On the other hand, soft-skills apprenticeship seems to be little to non-existent (adaptability, public speaking and, more importantly, teamwork), whereas some cultures appear to be more focused on the student’s personal development.
For instance, Olivier, a bred and born Dutch, explained to us how benevolent and supportive his teachers were. The goal, for them, was to help students try and understand both, their mistakes, or, achievements. On the other hand, Florence – a French Hiver -, jokingly told us how her middle school teacher would still blame and shame young pupils for their mistakes. Even if this example is quite extreme, it paves the way to understanding cultural differences when it comes to education.
Which brings us to the following question:
HOW RELEVANT ARE
SCHOOLS NOWADAYS? ...
… What could they be teaching us that the Internet (or some other resource) is not? And given this, what could be the future of education?
Get yourself a dropping hot diploma they said
I remember scrolling down the Braindate app with all of this in mind when I bumped on Béatrice’ s profile. She was member of the Factry*** delegation at C2, and her role as a student here implied -among many other things – questioning today’s businesses models. She wanted to explore how the Internet could possibly influence major shifts in the way we learn. Of course, this would also be reflected in the way we perceive education as a whole. Our exchange took place at an international event in a multicultural city; it only seemed but normal for us to consider our subject on a worldwide scale.
After talking MOOC, International schools, cross-displinary education and other wide-sharing knowledge tools, the conversation took an unexpected turn. Oddly, it happened when we tackled the notion of teamwork, benevolence, and collaboration.
It appears that in Québec, pupils learn the value of teamwork and collaboration from an early age. Assignments are often due in groups. Kids can sometimes choose their subject of choice and then work together on the deliverables. Among those, a public presentation to the class is almost always expected of them. It results in parents dropping off their kid at another pupil’s to work on assignment as naturally as if it were football practice… And in kids learning quickly soft-skills and self-confidence throughout their schooling. In France, we start from an early age as well. An underlying competition rules, as kids perform / are graded individually. Except some scarce team assignments in high school, students discover teamwork when higher education (for the minority), or the workplace (for the majority). This unfortunately prevents us from learning some “essential soft-skills” we’re so keen of today.
We came both to the conclusion that soft-skills are often considered as a birth gift, whereas we are raised (and then taught) to acquire them. We parted ways wondering how to bridge this gap and help student focus on developing the “right” skills.
In the end, the Braindate was really insightful. Even though the following remark wasn’t part of the initial exchange, I wanted to share with you this comparison with which I’ll conclude this article.
To draw a rather cheesy but nonetheless classic parallel, this conversation reminded me of the infamous Truman Capote’s In cold blood. Quickly summed-up, this novel tells the (real) tale of a pointless murder. Through the killers’ ongoing portraits, Truman Capote questions the assumption that anyone could be a “monster by nature”. By extension, he explores the influence an environment could have on a person and his / hers personality development. Another character seems to present the same violent “early monster-like” behavioral traits, but grows in a radically different atmosphere. These similarities between persons illustrates Capote’s argument that “predestination” is an easy concept to hide behind. By de-responsabilizatising ourselves, we’re also preventing ourselves from acting.
I admit it, I’m far from answering the initial question:
HOW RELEVANT ARE
SCHOOLS NOWADAYS? ...
All I can say for now is that education is the same. How can we expect everyone to behave the same when we are not raised to cultivate the same core values? In the future, how can we work to emphasize soft-skills’ importance and teach those values early in education?
What would be your dream education? How do you picture the future of education? Let’s talk about it!
More on my C2 experience here
* The first quote is taken from the WAP feedback after the early makers challenge
** The choice of key problems at the HIVE: All of those issues had been chosen carefully beforehand. Indeed, all of those were also the ones thecamp’s teams were focusing on at the time. The objective was to create synergies between the HIVE program and the rest of thecamp’s ecosystem.
*** Factry is a “creativity school”, founded by no other than Philippe Meunier, associate at Sid Lee. The school offers many courses for students or professionals, stating that creativity is a process that one has to learn and practice – like any other skill. In 2017, Factry partnered with C2 Montréal to launch a new campaign called “Make the future”. This competition gives the opportunity to 30 students from all over Canada to come and challenge professionals / institutions / elder attendees during the three days event.