Educating in Nature

Ch 2 Leaving Home

The first day at school can often be distressing. Increasing the level of learning ought to be an enlightening experience for the child. But there is an aspect of what has been termed the double bind, the child is growing up and the parents don't want the child to leave home. Should the first day be so distressing?

I contend that it is so because of so many parental fears about children going to school. First of all the child is going to meet with all the horrendous behaviour from the other children. Second the child is leaving a nurturing environment at home and going to a school environment where the importance of nurture is institutionally minimised. And thirdly there are so many questions about what the child will be learning.

Let me consider that the behaviour issue is a symptom of the other problems in education. For example if the parent-teacher bond were working effectively behaviour would be improved. Whilst the behaviour and attitude of the students towards learning is the number one priority, addressing these without placing them in an appropriate context is a futile exercise. So let us begin by considering the nurturing environment. Despite the best efforts of many teachers to provide such, a contemporary school cannot be considered a nurturing environment. Can it be made more so? Yes. Initially by involving parents more in the daily life of the classroom, and secondly by changing the social emphasis on the home; this second I will discuss below. And where does one begin with an analysis of what the child will be learning? Because UK education has copied the US, children are having their futures determined by achievement in tests at primary school. Is this nurturing?

The real issue concerning such early distress is the fact that the child is leaving home, and all parties are aware that leaving home is a problem for children. It is so important to understand how serious an issue this emphasis on the home is for society. Western society more than elsewhere in the world lays little emphasis on the home as everyone is out earning a buck. Sadly our societies pressurise both parents to work in order to maintain the standards of living these consumer societies within the 1%-satrapy demand. Children even earlier than 5 years old are sent to kindergartens or nurseries or creches to enable these parents to earn their money.

And worst of all some parents value the job they do more than they do bringing up their children. For the 20 or so years that the children are living at home, parents are still conditioned to be more concerned with their own work than they are with their children. Imagine if society's emphasis was on the bringing-up of children and provided support for families to do this. Imagine a world where corporate profits were less important than the needs of the family in their home. There would be a big change in society, and many of our social problems would disappear. And in terms of education it would be a Godsend. Children's behaviour would greatly improve. The parent-teacher bond would be far more substantive as the emphasis would be more on the child rather than educating for corporate needs. In truth whilst social emphasis is on the corporate demands of the 15-satrapy, it is unlikely that education can improve as corporate requirements counter the appropriate nurture culture for good education. Corporate requirements also define the direction of our curriculum, both exam and hidden, leaving the demands for a good career as being the highest goal in education. How often do prospective parents leave school with a desire to bring up children - there are even attempts to re-educate the maternal instinct.

This corporate demand also reshapes our communities. Instead of there being an extended family network supporting the families to bring up children, nuclear families are often relocated due to career. This often isolates the nuclear family forcing both parents out to work and children into creches. In a sense the journey of this book could end here. Whilst western societies accept corporate demands as its benchmark education will suffer because the social emphasis is not on bringing-up the children in the home. Nature's law has been taken aay by the 1%-satrapy.

If I were to accept corporate requirements as legitimate education direction, I would be writing about tinkering with detail in the exam system or some other minutiae. But I have always fought this narrow-minded greed-orientated position to the detriment of my own career - but not my heart. But what did I begin the journey with? Student behaviour. Students behave badly in education because quite simply they know that the education system is not in their interest but for corporate interest. As such there are few corporate executives and they usually come from public school, and from the state schools we have the labour pool - the cheaper the better.

And this emphasis is why by the time most children have reached secondary school age they have lost contact with the natural drive for education. It is evident to these children that the system is not educating them, but is educating a select few who are training for the corporate ladder. Why does western society accept this?

Parents recognise this state of affairs, some even embrace it by sending children to boarding schools - the first step on a number of corporate ladders. This recognition is imparted to the children so that the first step into school is the first step on the path of alienation from nurture and the home. What do teachers do? Many try to ameliorate this. In primary schools they try to nurture but you cannot fight the tide. Throughout many teachers try to do the best for the children offering extra tuition, spending time with students and generally trying to fit the students into the system, but how can it work well? There are only so many corporate execs, so many lawyers, even a profession like teaching or nursing becomes the career choice of the "misguided who cannot embrace the corporate profit motive".

This is fundamentally so screwed up and unnatural it is amazing that any education occurs. What is natural about putting profits before people - before Nature? What about the corporate rationale that destroying the environment is acceptable collateral damage in the search for increased profits? I contend that putting the home first for bringing-up children is the first step in realigning to Nature's design, and the second is re-aligning the profit motive taking it out of the hands of corporate greed and firmly fixing it within a balance of Nature. It is perfectly natural to have a profit from trading but it is far from natural to have that profit-taking destroy the environment, the delicate balance of ecology that humanity is a part of. Such a position is completely alien to the corporate stance that the current paradigm of education has to be eschewed.

All of this brings us to the root definition of education - latin educare leading out. Whilst I have always worked in the corporate paradigm of education through exam systems and so on, I was actually taught at teacher training college that education meant self-realisation. Of course self-realisation is not possible for all within this corporate educational paradigm as the paradigm redefines educational success as the corporate ladder. But the educational process of self-realisation, focussing on the home with the parent-teacher bond and re-aligning our education systems to Nature's design - the Natural paradigm - are all part of the same process. These might be considered radical positions in that they might be considered to be introducing fundamental change but they are also radical in that they are at the root of the meaning of education. And that meaning of education has been lost because of the hijack by society's corporate paradigm reinforced throughout the educational process by the corporate hijacking for profit of key aspects of the education system.

But in this journey I am only looking at the meaning of education as Nature intended - no easy task as all my life I have been taught and have practised education completely differently - within the corporate paradigm.