“We live in an age where much of our establishment is now under question and rightly so. Long held traditions, religions and major institutions are being scrutinised, yet are enough of us asking the fundamental questions? What is the true purpose of our education system? Why do we sit at desks for much of the day at school for over ten years? Are we teaching our pupils the life skills they need?
We ourselves are the product of a post-industrial model of education, so it's not easy to imagine an alternative to this mind-set. Yet, if we continue to inquire, we begin to find answers. At Drumduan we are living with these questions and implementing many of the answers, with passion and with practicality. The emergent future and the health of society will be defined and shaped by the very same young people who come looking for their answers at our schools.”
Krzysztof Zajaczkowski, April 2015.
How do we meet the emergent future?
The question comes towards us socially, economically, and ecologically. The answers are not easy to find nor solutions easy to achieve in the short term, yet there must surely be a simple answer to this natural question. We believe the answer lies in the right education of our young people. An education that is not driven by economic and political agendas to simply produce 'good workers' but to build up the whole potential of the human being; the mental, emotional, and practical aspects.
Our education system has, to a large extent, become practically and emotionally barren with an almost obsessive drive to fast-track children through literacy and numeracy, facts and figures at the expense of the infinitely broader capacities of the young person. The work of the head, the heart and the hands must be constantly held in balance if we are to develop healthy and resilient adults capable of making wise choices for themselves and for the world.
Can we shift our projections and expectations of how the student will perform at the exam desk, to how he or she will cope with life at say 50 years old?
A further question is, what is the role of the teacher and ultimately of a school in light of the fact that most information can be accessed through the internet today? Surely it is to inspire life long learning, to awaken hidden potential, to facilitate right action in the world, to develop free thinking through thoughtful debate, to guide hands in the transformation of materials into beautiful and life enhancing products........to help the young person meet the emergent future.
How do we achieve this at Drumduan School? We try to create breath and breadth in the curriculum and in the structure of the week. Multi-sensory activity is of paramount importance at the school as we see these five senses endangered through the contraction and potential isolation of the iphone and the earphone!
To counter the fragmenting effect of an over saturation in digital technology, the school potentises the practical aspect of learning and raises the experiential level of the lessons. Strength of will and courage are terms not often used or virtues recognised today. Are we serving the students in these areas by sitting them at desks for most of their school and college life?
One of our tasks is to help the adolescent to find the ground beneath their feet, rooted in the reality of the practical life before they go out into a world of increasingly virtual reality. At Drumduan we strive for academic excellence while recognising the importance of artistry and for the physical and practical needs of the student. If we wish to see resourceful, adaptable and resilient human beings capable of empathy and compassion for other human beings then our education system must address these areas.
Drumduan School provides a balanced curriculum with an emphasis on experiential learning aiming to impart meaning and purpose to the lives of young people in their journey towards independence.
Krzysztof Zajaczkowski, October 2014