Education

For a long time i didn’t want to have children simply because of the horrific experience i had at school. Now i have a son and he is extremely excited about finally being old enough to be part of the schoolgame, which will inevitably happen in about a year and a bit.

All my instincts want to remove him as far as possible from this monster and i have visions of living on a boat in the caribbean and teaching him all the things i know and all the things i don’t know with the help of khan-academy and the like.

But that is not going to happen. Instead i have to find ways to help him to get through this thing without too much damage. A question worth asking at this point is why would i think school damages children? Well, based on my experience — which is limited to Switzerland and Austria — the school system is mainly built to create cogs for the machine we call society. According to [Sugata Mitra](http://www.ted.com/pages/prizewinner_sugata_mitra) i don’t seem to be too far off with that understanding.

Now what happens if you don’t want to be a cog? Or — even worse — you want to be one, but not in this type of society. Then you’re screwed — you will have to suffer through X years of dull information store and retrieval, with only a few sparks of real knowledge. A beautiful example of this is my history teacher who preferred to discuss topics of current politics in the classroom and then occasionally giving us a two week notice for a written exam about forty or fifty pages of our workbook which we had to study at home, of course. In this environment i managed to learn almost nothing about history that lasted for longer than about five minutes after an exam. 
Our art teacher on the other hand managed to give us a deep understanding of western history of the last two millenia by creating clever cross references between art of all kinds, politics, religion, science and social aspects of life. Whatever i know about history comes from these six months or what i learned later in life.

So, if i ask myself how i can best bridge the time until our schoolsystem has finally been transferred into modern times, i need to be like that teacher and give my son a solid foundation of all things necessary that cannot be broken by school.

I will try hard.

Thomas Schindler