Schools that Learn: A Fifth Discipline Handbook
According to the prescient book, "Schools that Learn, -A Fifth Discipline Handbook," by Peter Senge et al, Conventional education is anachronistic so say the least. It does not take into account the tremendous potential for learning, thinking, inquiry, research and innovation that the child is so richly endowed with at birth. By forcing the child to be one among many, it relegates the child to a number. But this is after all not at all surprising. For, this was precisely the intention of the industrial era that gave birth to the idea of the modern school. According to the spirit of that era, the child was a trouble maker, to be kept engaged until the parent or parents returned home from their factory or factory-related workplace. And is it surprising that the school was also modelled after the factory, perhaps in anticipation of the future that awaited the child? Indeed, as presented with great clarity in this book, schools are the only kind of organizations that do not lend themselves to evolution, rather, to positive change in keeping up with the changes in the rest of human endeavours.
As the authors bring out forcefully, Schools and educational institutions resist and fight change vehemently. For, change inevitably requires learning and these institutions appear to dread learning. They are enamoured of studies and teaching but hate learning. They like to teach but do not like to enable learning among children. And unless learning becomes the premium, human potential is laid waste and precious time is expended in a fruitless activity called study that does little to prepare the student for the challenges that real life brings. As one great thinker on education puts it, the only skill that schools impart to a student is to excel in exams! Unfortunately for the student, life is not an exam as schools would have it. Life needs must be examined in an entirely different manner for, as Socrates would say, "an unexamined life is not worth living!" This book is a must read for all earnest parents and thinkers on education.