Thoughts

Learning to be a student, again.

What’s a thing every human on our planet has in common?

We all were students at one point in our life. Whether it was learning to walk when we were little or the formal education some of us were lucky enough to receive during childhood. Whether it is a math concept you learned in high school or learning how to speak a new language when you were six years old. Being a student manifests itself in many ways, yet most of us fail to recognize that opportunity. Life is filled with opportunities to learn. Opportunities to grow. Opportunities to explore. No matter in which part of the world you were born, you have opportunities around you that allow you to be a student — a student of life.

Isn’t it strange that although some of us were gifted with privileged education in western countries, there are so many other people in developing countries who never had the same chance? What’s even stranger is how many children growing up in countries like Germany, the United States or Canada take formal education for granted and view it as another duty they need to fulfill. Another standard set by society that they cannot escape. So many kids sit in classrooms around the world and hate every minute they spend listening to their teachers. What is he/she supposed to teach me? Meanwhile, children that don’t enjoy this privilege would be fuelled by gratitude if they were given the same chance.

I’m wondering whether unconditional access to education is negatively correlated to the passion for learning? From my standpoint, it may well be the case. We have gotten too comfortable with the status quo. We don’t have the inner desire to enjoy and explore anymore. No inner drive to ask questions about the world around us.

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” — Chinese Proverb

I do believe that the educational system in western countries is broken to a degree. The moment students view education as a burden rather than an opportunity is the moment change is needed for a better way to education. Besides making world-class education available to everyone in the world, we need to rediscover the joy of curiosity. The joy of asking questions about the world around us. The joy of being uncomfortable and finally finding resolution in the form of understanding. That’s what education is about. And that’s what being a student is about. When we were born, we were all students. Students of life. But when we get domesticated by the people around us, many of us forget what it’s like to be a student. The lightness of discovering the world and asking questions. And our job should be to find a way how we can reignite the curiosity of learning in each and every one. We need to learn to be a student, again.

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