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What our Children Really Need

October 12, 20213 min read

What Our Children Really Need

MATTHEW REYNOLDS

Matthew Reynolds

Educate your mind, feed your soul. Initially education was created for the elite. Then in the U.S. there was a shift in utilizing our education system to help the economy as we were heading into an industrialized world. The main goal was to have more people ready to work in our factories and systems. Of course, the education system has evolved beyond that since it was first created, but I think we can all agree that it still has a long way to go to be a system that benefits everyone equally.

When I think about our education system, I think about the need to build something new. I want to bring liberation and freedom to education. There are key issues that our current system struggles with, including outdated and biased curriculum that does not reflect the true history of our country, accommodating students with different learning styles, a focus on creative and individual thinking, and ultimately relevance to the real world and what goes on in today’s society. 

When thinking about this, I am also reminded that what our kids need today most of all is social experiences, yes, socialization. I define socialization as a social experiment, training, practice, and interpersonal building and maintaining interpersonal relationships. Although this is not a curriculum in our school systems today, it is most definitely a part of our childrens’ education when they start school. This is where their social skills are developed, where they learn to socialize and develop relationships, how to interact with others, resolve conflict, and surround themselves with positive influences that benefit their future development. 

Socialization is what we as humans really need and it is what we seek and crave. We all ultimately want to build and maintain interpersonal relationships, but it is important to know how to navigate these social experiences and interactions in the right way. Our childrens’ experiences during these crucial years may affect how they live the rest of their lives and whether or not they live as their true selves, without letting other people’s thinking influence their own future. Who’s responsible for building a better education system that will put the focus on individuality and humanity? It’s easy to put the responsibility on the teachers, the schools, the parents, the community or the Department of Education. But I will argue that it’s on each of us to take responsibility. As voters, as community members, as teachers, as parents and as human beings. The saying “It takes a village …” definitely applies to our education system, this is in large part how most of our children are academically encouraged to grow in preparation for adulthood.

As an educator, I have very strong feelings about our current education system and how it contributes to our future. This is why I work so closely with our schools and educators to help bring equity to the school systems and enlist the support of our teachers and mentors. I also do workshops specifically for younger groups to help them craft their Equity Lens so they can make an impact sooner rather than later. 

There are realizations that I have come to when thinking about our current education system and the work I have done in this space, including the need to create systems and structures that support liberated thinking and unconditional belonging. I welcome that. What about you? What are your thoughts on how we can shape education and the future?

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