The future of education is very uncertain. One thing that is not uncertain, however, is the ability THOUGHTS have on the power to change the way things are! If you think about it, a “college” is not a building or property! A college can move to another building or location and it will still remain a college. A “college” is not a person! The president or head of the college can retire, yet the college still remains. The third thing that a “college” is not: it is not a student. Students come and go…so if a “college” is not a building, it is not a president, and it is not a student, then what is it? A “college” is a thought! That’s right, we have the collective power to change what the concept of a college is!
Steve Jobs once said, “Everything around us that we call life was made up by people who are no smarter than we are, and we can change that, we can influence it…Once we learn that, we will never be the same again.” I am not sure about you, but when I internalize that concept I really do face the world in a whole new way. Isn’t that what education is supposed to be all about? In one of my favorite movies, Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams’ character, John Keating says to the Headmaster, “I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself?” Again, thinking and having thoughts can be so powerful that they truly can change the world. Slave owners would not allow their slaves to learn to read. Why, you ask? Because they did not want them to learn and have their own thoughts, because they would question their authority. Questioning “why” things are the way that they are is powerful in itself. In our society now, we have sunk to a dumbing down of ideas. Movie themes are being regurgitated every few years because there are not that many new ideas. Television has turned into a wasteland with all of the reality based shows, where we stay up for hours to watch people act foolish. The onus is on us, as educators, to reinvigorate society and the younger generation to have original thoughts, to be ok with thinking outside the box. When ideas stop, economy stops, creativity stops, learning stops, new technology stops, everything stops!
We are one thought away from a great reformation in this world. One thought away from the cure from cancer. One thought away from the next new invention. One thought away from writing a book. One thought away from solving the world’s hunger problem. So I challenge every educator, every person who may read this…DO YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO THINK?!?! Because if you can think, you can change; you can move; you can evolve, you can grow. Everything begins in the thoughts you think. If you think little, you go little. If you think big, you go big! Necessity is the mother of invention; therefore, we need original thoughts. Educators must do a better job of challenging the status quo and encourage creativity and original thought. I want to leave you with one last John Keating quote, “Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try.” So, get your students standing on top of their desks in order to change their perspectives on how they view the world.
Rich Flotron the 2016 Region III ACTE Fellow