Control Systems: Education and Training

3j. Education and Training

Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and  more individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself, educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”

Doris Lessing

Another ‘myth making machine and social control institution’ is the education system. Our education system is failing both our children and adults. It has become so focused on ‘economic outcomes’ that we have forgotten what education is actually for. We are spending all our resources on teaching people what to think when we should be teaching them how to think for themselves.

Hegemony in education

Our educational system is presently lost. Education has largely been replaced by systems of indoctrination. Just how has this come about?

An educational system which exclusively aims to transform people into commodities for consumption on the labour market must treat them in turn as passive consumers. The curriculum will consist of objects to be possessed in the form of facts and skills rather than objects of thought: situations, problems and issues which are capable of challenging, activating and extending natural powers of being”.

Eliot J. Action Research for Educational Change. OU Press 1992.

So where has the system become lost? Why is the educational system still based around ‘the transmission of knowledge’? Knowles gives us a historical context for ‘pedagogic transmission’. He states the Greeks invented ‘Socratic dialogue’ as an aid to learning, where a member of the group would pose a question to be explored by the ‘group mind’.  The Romans were more confrontational and developed polarities in argument which we can still see in our political and educational systems today. In limiting options to pro’s and con’s, left and right, black and white, in or out (Brexit), Republican or Democrat, we keep people in conflict.

Starting in the seventh century in Europe, schools began being organised for teaching children, primarily for preparing young boys for the priesthood, hence they became known as cathedral or monastic schools. Since the teachers in these schools had as their principal mission the indoctrination of students in the beliefs, faiths and rituals of the Church, they evolved a set of assumptions about learning and strategies for teaching that came to be labelled as ‘pedagogy’…This model of education persisted through the ages … and was the basis of organisation of our entire educational system”.

Knowles M. The Adult Learner, A Neglected Species. Gulf. 1990.

It saddens me that the following extract from Lindemann (found in Knowles) was written as long ago as 1926:

We shall never know how many adults desire intelligence regarding themselves and the world in which they live until education once more escapes the pattern of conformity. Adult education is an attempt to discover a new method and create a new incentive for learning; its implications are qualitative not quantitative. Adult learners are precisely those whose intellectual aspirations are least likely to be aroused by the rigid, uncompromising requirements of authoritative, conventionalized institutions of learning”.

Lindeman E.C. The Meaning of Adult Education. in Knowles.

No wonder so many people are put off education at an early age.

David Icke, much ridiculed because of his far-fetched claims, asserts in his book ‘The Robot’s Rebellion’, that the system has no intention of educating people, it exists to turn out fodder for the system, ‘to become the next generation of robots’. Although great teachers exist within the system and attempt to lessen the indoctrination, they are subject to the limitations of increasing government control.

This is their [the government’s] way of finding some illusion of security in a mythical 1950’s utopia in which everyone had their place and everyone knew what it was. This back to basics policy when applied to education, puts an emphasis on ‘talking at’ teaching, and expansion of tests and exams and, to quote one former Education Secretary, a return to teaching a fear of God. Give me strength”.

Icke D. The Robot’s Rebellion, The Story of the Spiritual Renaissance. Gateway Books 1994

As the government once again take control of our curriculum for an ‘upgrade’ many teachers must be considering whether it will be worth all of the effort. But now more than ever we need our education systems to turn out non-conformists who are able to think for themselves and create real alternatives. They need to question the irrational values of corporate consumer capitalism and find alternatives that actually work and they are not being given even the most basic tools to do this.

Cut and Paste Education

Some say I should be in school, but why should any young person be made to study for a future when no one is doing enough to save that future? What is the point of learning facts when the most important facts given by the finest scientists are ignored by our politicians?

Greta Thunberg, 1 Swedish student.

Cutting and pasting essays from the internet is a wholly rational response to an education system that is now an indoctrination system. The word ‘education’ has its origins in the root word ‘educare’ – meaning to ‘draw out and extend’. Modern education no longer does this. It imposes a curriculum on students that has its basis in making us look economically superior to the Germans. The purposes for modern mainstream education are built around economic objectives and are not about the development of human beings as individuals, their potential, values and identity in a changing world. Real education starts where you are – it is grounded in real, personal and lived experience. Real education gives you the tools to reflect on your own experience and make your own sense of it. It helps you to adapt to a new reality in the face of changing circumstances.

In contrast to this, much of our modern education is remote and distant from the real experience of students. It consists of predetermined material, often with extreme bias, which is tested by processes of examination, one of which is writing essays. Successful schools and colleges are now little more than ‘exam factories’, their main focus geared towards turning out the maximum amount of qualifications to secure future funding from the government.

A focus on industrial outputs has destroyed education in this country. In reality about 60% of the information we will need as individuals this time next year, does not yet exist. Yet we are still imposing on, rather than listening to our students. Where are the skills of learning how to learn in the curriculum, the skills of creativity, adaptability and versatility? Where are the skills of self-maintenance, of invention, innovation and self-motivation? They don’t seem to be required in an ‘education’ system that seeks conformity. These are essential skills for an economy that is now essentially bankrupt. These are the skills our children will need for the 21st Century. We are imposing useless indoctrination on our students that has little to do with their lives and even less to do with the future we have made for them. Nearly everything we are imposing on our children through a government imposed curriculum, is a preparation for a future that no longer exists. It is no wonder truancy rates in the UK are the highest ever.

Many of the students recognize this. They see schools and colleges as hurdles they have to jump on the ‘way to a life’ their parents don’t seem to be questioning. They know, at a diversity of levels, from ‘an uneasy feeling’ (cognitive dissonance) to real political insight, that most of what they are ‘taught’ is useless in the context of an economic system that is doomed to failure for committing the idiocy of using its capital assets as income.

The students on the whole know that teachers and lecturers are so busy and stressed with the system that they don’t have a hope in hell of catching them cutting and pasting their studies. They want to get on with living their own lives, where in fact they learn far more than they do in the sterile centers of indoctrination and imposed conformity that our schools and colleges have become.

Current theory suggests that regurgitating material from one place on the internet is regarded as ‘plagiarism’ but copying from ten is ‘research’. This is nitpicking when the whole concept of how we learn and the whole technology of learning has so radically shifted. Cut and paste is a rational response to a system that keeps on regurgitating the same old stuff in a reality that has utterly changed.

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