Ever since I was a little kid, I always believed that education is a powerful tool. I knew if I wanted to be successful in life, I would have to do well in school. I still believe in the saying, “education is a powerful tool,” but these words hold very different meanings to me today.
From a young age, I have been heavily involved in extra-curricular activities. Over time, I started to dedicate more and more time towards them. That’s when I realized that school was becoming a barrier. I struggle with having enough time for these activities seeing as high school students spend about 6 to 7 hours every day at school and get an average of 6 hours of homework every week. I encounter exhaustion almost on a daily basis.
I’ve noticed that our school system portrays other things of life as minuscule or not of as much importance in a young person’s mind. We are taught from our childhoods that school is a big part of our life, which isn’t surprising because school takes up a lot of our time. Ever since I can remember, people always told me and children like me that our passions for music, dance, art, sports, etc. are just our hobbies. It is somehow “education” that is the center of attention.
While engaging in creative processes outside of school, I have come to notice the lack of it within our school system. Sure we have art, music and dance courses but even those subjects are very constructive, where the class is directed by the teacher. In a setting that is so rigorously controlled, is it really creativity we are learning?
Which brings me to the next point: our lessons. All of our lessons come from the dominant perspective. In a Eurocentric education system, we look at subjects from a western perspective. We learn about wars in history but rarely do we discuss the ongoing effects of colonization taking place today. We are taught about some of the racist incidents of our history such as residential schools but not the fact that racism is still a prominent issue in our society.
Pursuing this further, we are still allowing the education system to be misogynistic. Dress codes are influencing patriarchy. It is promoting sexism. There is minimal education on the LGBT+ community. If we have more LGBT+ education in our schools, these youths may feel safe and understood.
As said by Machale, “Just learning about different sexual orientation in health class isn’t enough, we should see representation in That’s in books in the library, that’s in math problems, that’s in social studies, that’s in all places in which human beings are discussed, not simply physical education or health information or sex ed.”
We look at subjects from a western perspective but we have to acknowledge there are many students of other backgrounds and they experience life from a different perspective. It is no surprise that different people have different learning styles, yet we are forced to conform to one way of learning which is sitting at a desk and listening to a teacher and writing down notes. Some of us are hands-on learners, some of us are visual learners. When looked at these factors it becomes clear that not everyone is able to thrive and bring forth their full potential in the school system.
Yes, education is a weapon, in a way that it teaches us to internalize thoughts and values that are not really our own. In a way that teaches us that is only one right way to be.
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