“Because the carbon record doesn’t lie. And what the record tells us is that emissions are still rising: every year we release more greenhouse gases than the year before, the growth rate increasing from one decade to the next – gases that will trap heat for generations to come, creating a world that is hotter, colder, wetter, thirstier, hungrier, angrier.”
Tomorrow’s world will be a different place – with new needs and stresses placed upon individuals, communities and environments due to the changes in climate, availability of natural resources and the increasing human population. Developed countries and urban areas are due to experience increases in numbers which will alter the availability of resources and the landscapes of localities.
The person of tomorrow will be required to challenge the status quo and effect change. They will have to adapt to their circumstances and will live in a world where opportunities, unless created, will become scarcer. Where one’s growing awareness will build of either contributing to the problem of climate change, or will work towards a solution. As such, the person of tomorrow, the citizen, will need to be a risk taker and innovator, rather than one who is interested in security and a job, as we understand it today.
The education system is presently breeding a generation of conservatives interested in looking out for ‘number one’ only.
Carl Rogers believed the person of tomorrow, in order to live in a revolutionised world, would have to embody particular traits: openness, desire for authenticity, skepticism regarding science and technology, desire for wholeness, the wish for intimacy, to see life as a process-of-continuous-change, have a connected attitude with nature, be anti-institutional, trust the authority within, recognise the unimportance of material things and yearn for the spiritual.
For education to accommodate these needs, it would be required to focus upon the importance of cognition. Cognition being how a living organism interacts with its environment and which includes the entire life process – perceptions, emotions and behaviour. When a student builds, or constructs their learning experience the emergence of identity blossoms through the process of reciprocal co-creating — when a student builds their own experience*. We can all experience the coming into being of individual identity through relationship.
The present (dehumanising) model of education is focused on measuring quantity of outcomes rather than the quality of the process. When one begins to focus on the need of quality centred education one recognises education of a person is to be mapped, not measured. The implications of this shift in view mean the entire learning journey of the student would be reconsidered. Planning would change and would be personalised, tailored to an individual’s needs.
When education concerns itself with self-actualising its students, it recognises the need to diversify and change – to adapt to a new understanding. Away from the mechanistic Cartesian perception, “I have described the Earth and the whole visible Universe in the manner of a machine.” Towards an ecological perspective which understands the world as an animate presence and reunites it with our scientific understanding. Either way, change is happening. One can only hope educators and education get with the times and we reconsider the role of the student in our understanding.
*For more insight around this notion look into Aristotle’s builder when he discusses self actualisation.