What mattered to you when you were 17?
My guess is, if you were anything like me, you weren’t all fired up about the state of the education system and what needed to be done to make it modern and relevant. Well, truth be told, we probably all had some opinions about the education system, but they weren’t for public consumption and we certainly weren’t writing books about it, doing TED conference speeches and debating with some of the most prominent educators on the planet.
Now, meet Nikhil Goyal – most certainly not your average 17 year old. I have no idea what credit (if any) India can claim for shaping Nikhil’s ideas. I know he’s a student at Syosset High School, New York. Over the last year, I’m not sure how much time he’s been able to spend in school judging by the amount of travelling, interviews etc. he’s been up to.
Here’s where his early ideas emerged, at a TEDx event – Global Learning School. There, he was one of a number of articulate youngsters sharing their thoughts about education:
Most recently, i was impressed by what he had to say about creativity, why the existing education systems are not helping young people to develop it effectively and suggestions and ideas for what can be done about it. This was an article he wrote for the Mindshift website;
Mindshift Article - Why Learning Should be Messy
Whilst I guess a lot of people will see the sense in the kind of 'messiness' that Nikhil's advocating, the average Indian parent would go feel pretty uneasy at the thought of such 'messiness' when there are Indian board exams down the line. I believe the Kunskapsskolan approach is going to offer us the best of both worlds. Core 'step' subjects will include English, Hindi, Maths and third language. all other subjects will be studied thematically, with lots of hands on activity to really enable children to explore the subject in depth. As they explore the themes obviously their language and communication skills come in to play here as well.
The gist of Nikhil's arguments, like those of Sir Ken Robinson and others, is that the existing education systems exist more for the sake of the system than the learners. Many of his ideas are really along the same lines as the film trailer for 'We Are The People We've Been Waiting For' that I re-posted recently. These are important matters. These are things that are going to have a fundamental impact on the world our children grow up in in the future. maybe we should really be marveling that there aren't a lot more Nikhil Goyals. Has the system really so brutalised the minds of today's youth that they accept all the nonsense that passes for education without challenge?
Here's some more of Nikhil's thoughts and ideas;
His writing for the Huffington Post: Huffington Post - Nikhil Goyal
His own website on WordPress: Nikhil Goyal
Forbes Article: Forbes - This 17 Year Old
Later TEDx presenation
Education Revolution – Teacher.com