At a recent presentation I gave at a school in London I met a quite articulate 16-year-old girl, who later offered the following commentary on my talk via this email to a former teacher who was also at the talk:
“Marc Prensky’s seminar/ Powerpoint really stuck with me–the education system has been something that’s been eating away at me. It’s a system that can never be perfect, but at the moment just isn’t enough. And it saddens me how if you ask a child what the most important thing is in the long run, they’ll respond ‘education’ or ‘career prospects’, and while these are important ideas, the bare minimum will say their mental health. Mental health, creativity, these are all things that schools don’t show enough. And too many people are settling for the system we have today, just because it worked for them. It could be worse, we could be America. But what Ashoka is doing, and what Marc’s books and seminars are looking to achieve are so important and inspiring.
Quite frankly, I’d thought the only way the government would change is when my generation takes the chair. Because the only people who truly know what it’s like to be under this system are the people who are living through it, five days a week, 6-9 hours a day.
What you are all doing really gives me hope that one day, maybe even soon, education can mean something again. And that depression and anxiety and fear of failure and insecurity won’t just be “teenager things,” and dismissed as such.
Please can we listen to these kids, and take their ideas about their own education seriously.