Schooling the world, a documentary

So I just finished watching the documentary schooling the world, which is about how the modern (western) education system has ruined cultural societies and is actually anti-sustainable living.

It was an interesting look into another view of education. Americans focus so much on getting better education and the need for every child (American or not) to receive better education. Do we ever question what that better education causes or why it was instituted in the first place? Do we ever look at what has happened as a result of western education that was instituted as a part of colonization?

This documentary doesn’t make a solid, cohesive argument. It seems to indicate that isolated, agrarian societies are ideal, while trying quoting those interviewed as preferring many positive things modern education has brought (improved medicine). In so doing, it weakens its own argument. When we look only at negative things that western education has affected, of course it will sound bad. But when we look at all the positive things, as well as the rate at which more positive things have been introduced, it is hard to say the good doesn’t outweigh the bad.

Yes, we need to continue to have familial interactions; yes, it is not ideal to have people end up living in slums. But at some level we have to accept that western culture is here to stay. And if it is not, we’re not here to stay, either. Western education needs to acknowledge that the informal sociocultural education argued for by Vygotskiy is beneficial to positive living and should be practiced, and certainly teachers who teach through shame, as demonstrated in the video, need to be silenced. But focusing solely on learning what my grandfathers knew would have made me good at chemistry and carpentry. I would have never learned about sports (or had time to) and I would have missed out on something that has played, and will continue to play, a major role in my life. If I learned only what my father knew, I would be a tile-setter, down on my hands and knees every day. I might have learned to love that, but only if, somehow, I had learn about art and creativity as well. That’s unlikely; I learned to aspire to those heights through the western education system.

It is perfect? No. Does it cause shame and hurt people, yes. But it still is bringing the entire world out of the dark ages of sickness and intellectual blindness faster than anything has done before.