How do we educate whole human beings? Isn’t that what every parent wants for their child? To help their child become well-rounded not just academic? Capable of healthy relationships, creativity and able to find meaning in their lives? Of course it is, but reaching this goal is easier said than done in the complex landscape of education today. It’s helpful to simplify education into three main categories:
- Conveyer-Belt Education: This one-size-fits-all type of education is designed to move masses of people through the same system regardless of individual strengths and interests. This worked well for factory owners in the industrial economy of the late 19th century, but this type of education is being considered increasingly less effective. Students are not guided to develop their unique strengths or for the future economy where knowing how to think will be far more important than knowing WHAT to think.
- High-Pressure Track: Many parents who are dissatisfied with conveyer-belt education swing the opposite direction, focusing on rigorous options designed to prepare students for the best colleges and future economic success. While this can work well for teens, the downside to this intense focus on academic achievement is that it can produce anxiety and eventually burnout especially in younger students. Little time is allotted for unique abilities, creative interests, and social time. Students are often taught WHEN to think.
- Transformational or Mission-centered Education: Think of a person from history whom you admire. Chances are, whenever you see greatness, that person is probably the product of Transformational Education. This type of education fuels personal fulfillment in relationships and vocation, leadership and meaningful service while also emphasizing academic excellence. It’s a whole-person approach where students develop their own unique abilities in ways that empower them to create value in the world by learning HOW to think.
At Alcott Learning, we advocate for Transformational Education. We hope you'll join us on that journey!