A Revolution in Education?
All too often we hear the phrase “we need a revolution in education” which when unpackaged generally reads along the lines of “the system is broken” and then something to the effect of how the government needs to step in and fix everything. There are teacher strikes, various annual conferences and many other public displays to this effect across all tiers and levels of the educational system. No doubt, the system as a whole has a swathe of issues that absolutely need to be addressed and I wholeheartedly agree with the general sentiment put forth. However, I can’t help but factor in two caveats to the equation: individual attitudes and personal responsibility.
As someone who has been involved in music education for almost 20 years, it’s my belief that yes - we truly do need a “revolution in education.” But where I differ with most of my professional associates is that I believe the revolution needs to be one of approach and methodology or in other words, a revolution of the heart and mind. I’m sorry if that sounds corny or cheesy but let’s be clear: any “revolution” that doesn’t involve a shift in attitude and a critical examination of one’s motives and underpinning belief system is just a stop-gap at best.
Will more money really change a students, an educators or an institutions deep-seated philosophy of learning and education? That seems rather unlikely. A slick new government-funded marketing campaign or a newly generated report on the failing standards in education are all well and good but they can’t hope to undo a poor work ethic or a “near enough is good enough” attitude.
At AOMI, it’s our belief that your education is one of the most important things to consider in life. We take what we do very seriously and believe that details, high standards and a life-long approach to learning really do matter. Waving a student through a program of study “because they’ve paid their fees” and moving the goal posts to engage them merely as “clients of the business” have unfortunately led to the failing standards, half-baked teaching philosophies and ill-prepared graduates we see today.
One of AOMI’s core tenets is to “be excellent” and it’s an active philosophy we adhere to that guides our decision making process at all levels. Because without excellence, there can never be the kind of revolution in education that is required. Those making the decisions in our business are lifelong musicians and educators who place the students learning and the educational standards first.
Sadly, this contrasts with many institutions and organisations (both government and private) where management frequently undermine the educational process in favour of some kind of
kickback or bonus. No doubt you’ve read the horror stories plastered all over the media in recent years - they are hard to miss!
Sure, more graduates might equal more money and a profitable bottom line but at what cost? If the graduates and the institution in question have adopted the “everyone’s a winner” standard of teaching and learning (i.e. it’s unfair to fail a student) then sadly, excellence and an experientially-informed approach to the innate challenges of the music industry are the true “drop-outs” here.
Yes, something does need to change but it must start with you and me, in our own heads. Irrespective of the specific systems in place or the actual methods we use, true educational reform must be informed first and foremost by a love of learning that is backed-up and reinforced by real-world expertise in our field of knowledge. And of course, educators must have a genuine willingness to share this with eager students who likewise, are as interested in the process of learning as they are in the eventual outcome. Who’s with me?