As I mentioned in my previous post, from time to time, mεlite will host the stories of other friends that are also passionate about Education. I generally think that 2 minds are better than one and the collective intelligence of people of diverse cultures, backgrounds, professions and talents is such a powerful tool that should be utilized further. So, first monthly story is from Xenia. Enjoy!
Xenia Mastropetrou is 21 years old and studying Management Science and Technology in the Athens University of Economics and Business. She is passionate about traveling, entrepreneurship, education, sharing ideas and living new exciting experiences. Her current location is Bergen, Norway as she is spending a semester in the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. That, until December. From then on, she is exploring her options…
Xenia, If you could be the owner of a School, how would that School look like?
First of, I would rather focus on primary school, as I believe this is the most critical for an individual’s personality and mentality shaping. Sir Ken Robinson made some very interesting points in one of his TED talks, “How school kills creativity” that has inspired me a lot and made me think how the ideal primary school (if such thing can ever exist) would look like.
If you think about it, in every country in the world schools focus on certain subjects. Math and languages are the top focus, then the humanities and then the arts. You know what happens when you only teach a child math and language and not really dance, music or drama? They develop only one side of their brain, using only 0.1% of the other side. What a waste of the human brain capacity is that? How can a person grow to become cultivated and multidimensional that way? And why all kids should be good at math and languages? What happens with those that have a special talent in dancing or singing? How are they going to discover and develop that talent? To take it one step further, why should all kids be educated to become professors, doctors and lawyers? Why can’t children develop alternative skills for their future career?
Based on all of those thoughts, I have pictured the ideal school as a place that fosters creativity and curiosity. It would be open, well lit and colorful. There would be a wide range of subjects taught, from language and math, to history, arts and crafts, drama, music, technical skills development etc. all taught with different kinds of methods, from visual demonstration to role-playing. It would bring children close to technology, without alienating them between each other. Recently I read an article about a school in Sweden, that visualized all that I have ever dreamt of the ideal school and could be very well summarized in the featured picture.
If you had one thing to change in the current status in Education, what would it be?
As I am currently an undergraduate student in a Greek university, college education in Greece is the one I am more familiar with. I am extremely satisfied with the department in which I am studying and the knowledge I gain through the curriculum. However, during all of my university years, there has been only one thing bothering me a lot in my university: student political parties. When people first think about it, they often consider them as something separate from the educational system, just because they are not an active part of the curriculum. If we consider more carefully though, there is a whole story of creating mentality and culture lying underneath this situation. Apart from the practical problems caused by them in the everyday life of a student, what kind of attitude will someone develop, when they are used to passing courses the “easy way” or is being promised that there is a job waiting for them if they join and work for a particular party? And why joining a student political party has become the most obvious extra-curricular activity for students? Here in Norway, where I am actually spending this semester, there are no such parties. Students are involved into about 60 different unions, with topics varying from sports, music and drama to entrepreneurship and third-world aid. They live impactful experiences and create stories. This is how I would like to see education being changed, first in my university and then all over Greece.
What is your vision for Education?
Having experienced three different educational systems in Europe, the Greek, the British and the Norwegian, my attitude towards education is often changing. What constantly remains the same though, is the bigger picture, which can be boiled down to three words: teamwork, creativity and learning. Can you imagine what kind of individuals a society would create if the schools and universities were emphasizing on those three attributes? Well, I have pictured those students as self-confident persons, who are curious about what is happening around them, are always searching for opportunities, care about others and always innovate.
If you think about it, people of our generation are going to change in average 7 jobs in their life and approximately 3 fields of expertise. The next generation will probably have to do 2 or 3 jobs at the same time. We are being educated for a future that we have no idea how it is going to look like. Is the education provided to students today enough?
Please share with me something about you. You choose what:)
This is something totally random that I started doing when I came in Norway 4 months ago: I try something new everyday! And thus, I have lived totally unexpected experiences, I have talked to random interesting people, I have tasted strange food, I have been to the most extraordinary places, I have created some of the most unforgettable stories…Give it a go, too!
What is the School we would like to create for ourselves and the future generations? Sometimes we need to stop complicating things, try a new thing every day, work together and start from the basics: the classroom, the teacher, the student and the class itself. What do you think?