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School Days: Don’t chop down the tree of knowledge

Regulars | By Sophia Waugh

Sophia Waugh on the need to encourage curiosity

The current buzz in education is all about how our students are going to be working in industries that have not yet been invented. In other words, we can’t prepare them for what is irritatingly called ‘the world of work’ because we can have no clue about what that world will be. They tell us, as though it is new, that the schoolchildren of today will have something like a thousand jobs before they retire (aged approximately 96). And, as a result of these ‘facts’, they conclude that we actually have no idea at all how we can help them. The answer seems to be to stop teaching them knowledge and to begin to teach them ‘transferrable skills’. It seems to me that good writing and communication are as transferrable a skill as any on the planet. That being able to read, understand and extrapolate from a piece of writing...

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