The purpose and meaning of education is widely misunderstood and wrongly presented.
This is why the education system needs “reinventing, not reforming,” according to Harvard Innovation Education Fellow Tony Wagner. We’re creating a culture – reinforced by society and habitually drilled into students from an early age and well into their teens – that revolves around textbooks, lectures, GPAs and exams, where failing or not doing well are either unacceptable or wrongly considered a sign of weakness or a lack of intellect.
Education is not confined to the walls of a classroom; it stretches well beyond that. Valuing success above all else is a problem plaguing the schooling systems, at all levels, of many countries including Canada and the United States, and undermining those very qualities that are meant to foster an educated and skillful society.
This very issue took a toll on my own educational career, not in terms of academic performance, but other aspects considerably more important.
Less than three years ago, I graduated high school. I was a driven student who scored a 100 per cent average, served as the students’ council president and class valedictorian, earned over 16 scholarships/awards, etc. The bottom line is that I was a high achiever, but I mistakenly defined achievement in a way most do: with my GPA. It was only until a couple of years ago, when I began to question my own educational career, that I realized something profound: The academic portion of my high school life was spent in the wrong way, with cloudy motivations. I treated schooling and education synonymously. I had been directed not by my inner voice, but by societal pressures that limited my ability to foster personal creativity.