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Teaching for the 21st Century

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

Throughout human history, in every human society 1% of the people have controlled and exploited the remaining 99%.

Be it a monarchy, dictatorship, democracy, communism, etc. these figures are the same in every society, no matter which type of government it is.

The imbalance gives rise to discontent. 90% of society simmers, until circumstances trigger a revolution, rebellion, or an invasion and the cycle of discontent repeats.

Only those who held the reins of power, the ruling class, military officers, government bureaucrats, priests and the wealthy traders/financiers, were literate and educated.

Enforced by vicious law and order mechanisms, exploitation and domination has always been made possible by keeping the masses poor and ignorant. Thus keeping the masses illiterate was a primary precondition.

At that time teachers were highly valued and respected because they were rare and knowledge was retained mostly in their memories backed up by some texts.

Societies that have focussed on education have prospered and those that have ignored education have remain unevolved.

The only exception has been war like people, who harbour notions of supremacy that have attacked, plundered and destroyed prosperous societies.

Ignoring education, plunderers are unable to generate wealth, so in time when the loot runs out, they themselves shrivel and die.

Except for the privileged classes none other were allowed to be literate. Usually the punishment for learning to read by a commoner was death.

The arrival of the Gutenberg printing press in 1439 C.E. changed all that. From then on the rate at which books were published grew at an explosive pace and literacy and text books became a passport for the masses to escape from poverty.

From the time of the printing press till now, the teachers primary task has been to transmit the knowledge of various authors in books and publications to students.

Good teachers transmit that information with clarifications. The greater the teacher the better the transmission to and retention by the student.

Unfortunately the powers that be the 1%, will never surrender their stranglehold on the minds, spirit and the purses of the masses. The teachers have unwittingly become their pawns in this game.

Organised religion which opposed education made a U-turn and began to program and indoctrinate in the name of education.

The political and ruling class introduced big governments, along with legislation and taxation to soak up any surpluses that people earned. The net result is people are still impoverished and stressed but at a higher level of education and income.

Thus the 1% with the help of another 9% of the population always manipulate the system.

They have introduced through various education boards a kind of education that teaches people to obey and follow and rarely to question and lead. Thus depriving every student their birthright to evolve and achieve the highest levels of their human potential.

As a result, the main if not the only task of teachers has become, minding students, and transmitting standard curriculum to all students.

Teaching and learning are supposed to be two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately the two have grown so far apart that they are disconnected. No doubt, nowadays there is a lot of teaching, and even more testing taking place, but it is doubtful that there is much learning taking place.

A wise man once commented upon modern teaching,

"We strain the memory instead of cultivating the mind."

"A student is not a vessel to be filled but a lamp to be lit"

A vessel when filled cannot absorb anything more, in fact it rejects anything that is additional or new. That is why many students cannot retain much of what they are 'taught'. At best they retain information only until they get through the examinations.

On the other hand, once lit, the lamp provides illumination to all it reaches, thus dispelling the darkness called ignorance. A lamp also helps light other lamps. Learning demands more learning as fuel, just like a lamp demands more oil to keep on burning.

With so much information and knowledge easily and freely available on the internet and in libraries and in the public domain,

teachers needs to teach less and facilitate more learning.

The only task of a facilitator is to teach students, '**how to learn**' and inspire each of them to be great beings, individually and collectively.

In spite of all the failings of our education system, our present levels of prosperity can be attributed mainly to the contribution and dedication of many teachers.

To teachers that have truly taught, guided and inspired us, we owe our great gratitude.


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