Thinking is not enough!

By Cécile,
on 15 December 2015

The Dutch education system does not fit today’s challenges, let alone those we’ll face in 20 years. It is time for the profound development of Dutch education so our children can also enjoy the life we enjoy today.

As a child I experienced school as a big party. I learned easily, could concentrate well and had friends in my class. It was only when I started working that I noticed how biased my education had been from primary school to university. From the age of six there is a complete focus on the development of cognitive skills. Intelligence is generally still determined based on logical thinking and analytical skills. These skills are important in society, and have led to the high level of prosperity that we know. However, I believe that today’s challenges, such as environmental and resource scarcity, require more than just ‘smart’, rational thinking people. This movie explains it well.

So what should children learn? As well as the development of the brain’s left hemisphere, where logic, analysis, targeting and stored systemic thinking are controlled, the education system should focus more on the development of the right brain. The world needs creative, flexible and conscious people with empathy, who can see the bigger picture. Albert Einstein summed it up well: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” THNK, the school for creative leadership, sees the same dilemma Einstein did. THNK focuses on the development of the next generation of professionals such as the creative leaders who devise groundbreaking solutions to social challenges. Looking at the speed of change in the world, I believe we should focus our attention on the younger generations to really make a lasting impact.

A good response to these challenges is the creation of the Circular School (link is in Dutch); this school will educate children consciously and at the same time let them get the qualifications they desire. The founders believe in the integral development of children’s heads, hearts and hands. This school prepares young people for an economy that is changing very rapidly. In addition to the education system, this circular school also pays attention to its surroundings and the space in which the learning process happens. Being trapped in a concrete bunker for five days a week does not provide the desired close relationship with the environment and nature. The school helps children to stay in touch with nature, both their own and that of the world around them.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation stresses the urgency of a different education, calling the linear economy ‘more than an economic idea: it is a legacy of 19th century ‘mechanistic’ thinking’. In short, it’s time to change, to educate our children better and get them ready for the big global challenges they will face. Minister Bussemaker, can you see this bigger picture?

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