I’ve just been reading a really thoughtful post about religion and education. I agree with everything she says, but something is missing. My personal experience of school, and indeed university, was looking for the ‘right’ answers to everything so I could get good marks. I was pretty successful in my educational life, but I didn’t learn that much. I was well into my 20s (ah, the shame) before I realised that I should be able to think about things for myself, and not just find and restate the ‘correct’ conclusion that someone else had reached.
Education is great. Education is vital. But teaching people how to pass exams is often what it comes down to – both for the students and the teachers. So, I have a new idea for the world. I think ‘logical thinking’ needs to be added to the school curriculum in every country in the world. Language, Maths and Logical Thinking – the three-pronged axis to Build Better People (oooh, sounding like a scary totalitarian state there).
The most basic human skill we need to hone, in order to negotiate our way through life, is logic – indeed, more so than reading or counting. I don’t mean the fancy logic of scary maths or dreary over-thinking philosophy, I mean the day to day rational thinking required to work through the possible consequences of potential actions, and choose those with the best outcomes.
Really important subjects like History, Geography, Religion and Psychology aren’t prioritised in schools these days. These are subjects that people need to know about to make sense of the world and they are sorely neglected. But incorporated into this revolutionary new core subject that will undoubtedly change the world, they will take on a new relevance and be given the importance they deserve. We’re talking about kids learning as a matter of course how to critically analyse situations, weigh up possible consequences and make sound decisions. What can be done to improve conditions in developing countries and what are our politicians doing? What makes people behave like that and what’s a useful reaction? Why did people believe their god wanted them to burn witches in the Middle Ages and would I have done it? What are the consequences of the Catholic Church calling contraception a sin and is it justified in their holy book?
Of course, the teachers won’t like it, because the kids will constantly talk back with their clever ideas. The parents won’t like it, because the kids will challenge every rule and give them good reasons. And I don’t think they’ll want to teach it in religious schools because they’ll be churning out atheists. But it will Build Better People. And the world Needs Better People.