Innovation in Education: Giving Power to the Children

Child holding stack of books with mortar board chalk drawing on blackboard concept for university education and future aspira
Child holding stack of books with mortar board chalk drawing on blackboard concept for university education and future aspirations

Education is a basic social right and arguably the foundation of modern society. It is, therefore, a domain where having outstanding results is incredibly important. While many still face the immediate challenge of having access to education--and this needs to be overcome--there is nevertheless a need to innovate in education and teaching in order to ensure the success of every student and adapt learning to the new technological and entrepreneurial era.

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The Limits of a Classical Education System
France is an example of a country where classical pedagogical methods are no longer working. While the country has successfully provided universal education to all of its citizens through to the university level, it has not been successful in creating a system that ensures the intellectual success of every person. Between 2003 and 2012, the percentage of students suffering from difficulties increased from 16.6% to 22.4%.

While the system aims for equality and intellectual rigor, the country, according to many, has failed in its goal due to the rigid and strict pedagogical system that prevents individual students from learning the way that suits them best. The French education system is thus the subject of much criticism and debate due to its inability to integrate pedagogical methods that are more inclusive and encourage the social and academic development of every individual.

While the system aims for equality and intellectual rigor, the country, according to many, has failed in its goal due to the rigid and strict pedagogical system that prevents individual students from learning the way that suits them best. The French education system is thus the subject of much criticism and debate due to its inability to integrate pedagogical methods that are more inclusive and encourage the social and academic development of every individual.

While many critique the French system's inability to provide the solidarity, support, and teacher access necessary for all students to prosper, the adoption of new and developing pedagogical methods could serve as a solution.

Solidarity and Personal Responsibility: Each to Their Own
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, in their critically acclaimed book Poor Economics explain how successful education programs are reliant on allowing each individual to showcase their talents and have the opportunity and encouragement to master the basics. While the authors are focused on improving education in the developing world, the education system in France, which punishes failure and creates distances between the best performing and the worst, is victim to many of the same problems that Banerjee and Duflo identify. Those who begin to fail rarely have the opportunity to recover.

There are, however, many countries, schools, and individuals that are taking steps to innovate in education by stripping away classical constraints and finding new ways to engage children and teenagers so that they can learn to the best of their ability. In the film Demain, the Kirkkojarvi Comprehensive School in Finland is highlighted for its philosophy of teaching children "how to learn" and "prepare them for life." "If one method doesn't work for a student, that means that this method is not fit for him," explain the makers of Demain.

There are also advocates for the inclusion of "Neuroeducation" in schools, a field of study that explores the interactions between biological processes in the brain and education with a goal to improve the learning process. Supporters of this type of pedagogy believe a better understanding of the cognitive functioning of the brain will allow teachers to improve how they teach and cater it to each student. Eric Gaspar a teacher of mathematics in France, runs the program Neuro-sup. The educational seminar informs teachers about the basics of neuroeducation in order to improve their understanding of how students learn. According to Gaspar, this helps put an end to the fatalism that many students experience when they find themselves unable to follow the curriculum.

Education for a Modern World
Furthermore, while improving learning, pedagogical methods, and innovating in educational models can improve general learning, it can also serve to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit. Monika Diehl, in her article From Entrepreneurship to Entrepreneurial Education in Lower Secondary School, explains that entrepreneurial education has become a priority for states that have "put forward a need for the future labor force to have skills and abilities to create work." She explains that "Entrepreneurial education is about "not serving" pupils with fixed solutions and lectures but to provide the prerequisites for them to take initiatives of their own." "This means an initiative shift from teachers to pupils, which also means a need for teachers to let go of control."

If countries are hoping to have a future where young people are innovating for social good, and making leaps in sustainability, it means positively encouraging each student to learn their way while accompanying individual growth.