Ever found a loose thread on a piece of clothing? They can be impossible to leave alone. They sit there, nagging to be pulled. And sometimes once you start, you can’t seem to stop and the whole seam unravels before you’ve had a chance to catch up.
That’s what happened when I was hit with a question; why is school 12 years long? Why is school 6hrs a day? Why is it 5 days a week?
What do you think came first… how much was thought to be important to impart on a growing generation or how long they had to fill up? And what does that say about the content and purpose of schooling…
Why has school hours not changed much in the last few decades? Has efficiency not improved at all? Has the knowledge and skills one would require as an adult not changed at all? And if it has, shouldn’t that affect how long one must be educated for?
If you were focusing on what a child needs ideally, would you have ended up with these figures? Not what society needs a child to be but what a child actually needs independent of that. Would your content be different to the curriculum school’s currently serve? Would your delivery?
Is there room for how you envision ‘education’ in our current version of society? Is the lack of space a reason to discount it’s viability or perhaps a reason to discount current social constructs?
When reform is discussed it is always within the boundaries of current structures… fitting into the schedules we already have established, into the financial confines we have created, assessed by original aims. But it doesn’t need to be, we can go deeper. Change can be bigger. I think it needs to be.
Why has our working hours not changed much in the last few decades? Efficiency has definitely improved, our production levels are so unimaginably higher than any period before but do we need more?
Why do we continue to fill the space? When we could reasonably satisfy the needs and even wants with far less time invested?
Why is school 12 years long? Why is school 6hrs a day? Why is it 5 days a week?
Do children need to be this busy? Do they need to be this occupied? Do we?
Threads are waiting to be pulled, seams are coming undone. We could keep trying to mend them, only to watch them continue to fray and tear in the areas they could never fit.
Maybe it is time to sew something completely new.