How we see the world. Act of closure by two higher secondary school students

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How we see the world. Closing presented by two sixth-form students

Eva Arnall, a student who has just taken the Baccalaureate examinations from the Cendrassos Secondary School in Figueres, and Júlia Callejón, another high school student from the Virolai School in Barcelona, share their reflections with teachers attending the “Educating entrepreneurial talent” Conference with regard to the challenges for the education system from the perspective of young people:

“We live in a changing and diverse world: “each to their own”, as they say!”

“We could define our world not only as global and unequal, but also a world undergoing constant change and innovation. That’s why we think that our world needs innovative, enterprising, competent people who are able to adapt quickly to any change that might happen.”

“We also live in a demanding world. You need to be increasingly qualified to get a job. Qualified not only academically but also in many other aspects.”

“And who teaches us all this? Who teaches us to be entrepreneurs and to be people open to constant change?”

“How should we prepare for the reality awaiting us outside the classroom?”

“When faced with so many questions and uncertainties, we think it is necessary to ask what education can do to help young people to choose our own path.”

“What role does education play in all this? Is it really up to the task? Or, more likely, is it lagging behind everything? What should it do to help us fulfil our wishes and resolve our concerns?”

“We all know that the most important thing is to have a good educational foundation. Students need good primary and secondary teachers as you are part of our lives. Most of you are a role model.”

“You should remember that you are truly important because you leave a mark on your students. Students, during some periods of our lives, spend more time at primary or at secondary school than at home, with our parents. You are therefore a major figure in our lives. You have more power than you think.”

“Here are some ideas and some values we would like you to get across: it goes without saying that the job one chooses should be totally vocational and more so for professions associated with education. When we asked our classmates how they thought a teacher could best attract the attention of the class, most of them answered that what they should do is be passionate about what they teach. They should show that they are truly interested in entrepreneurship, which is precisely what this conference today is about: learning to be an entrepreneur.”

“What good is it for a person to be an expert on a topic or a subject if he or she does not know how to convey this knowledge? Students prefer clear, orderly things to build a good mental outline and to be able to associate ideas quicker. Holding attention is essential.”

“Many teachers say: ‘students come to class unmotivated and disappointed right from the beginning’ but obstacles like this are, to a large extent, your responsibility.”

“If you come across to the class as pessimistic, tired, and reluctant... what do you expect? Do you think we will pay attention to you? Of course not! If you come with positive energy you will encourage students to be more motivated and eager to learn.”

“It is also very important for us that a class should be dynamic: we prefer more practice when it comes to learning and not so much theory. We are fed up with theory!”

“We need to learn more skills to help us understand the world we live in. We want more examples during teacher explanations so that we can soak in reality and understand what it is you are telling us. Very often we could be described as acting like robots, as what you are teaching today is to get a good mark or to try and get the maximum grade.”

“And what good is that? We are not comfortable learning like that, and it means we forget things quicker. We have an education system geared towards students obtaining the best qualifications. Don’t you think that learning skills is better, for lessons to have a good foundation and for us to be able to be critical of society and of the world that surrounds us?”

“Most of us only know complex concepts that in real life are of very little use. We all need to have what is known as a critical spirit.”

“Another significant point is fear. Many students are afraid of what we will become in the future. How is that? You should teach us to deal with any circumstance, even those we are still unaware of. What is the use of studying integration by parts, the voiced alveolar fricative, Espartero or the Poem of the Cid, if later we do not know how to cope when faced by an obstacle in everyday life?”

“This is why it is really important for you to explain so that we truly understand, to help us build our critical thinking, above all, show us not to fear all that is to come.”

"A classmate also suggested the idea of taking full advantage of class hours. At the moment class time is reduced to explaining theory, which you can find anywhere on internet, and then, when it’s time to put it into practice, they make you do it at home so if you do not understand, then you have to wait for the next day and with a bit of luck they will explain. Surely it would be a lot more practical to do this the other way round.”

“More skills classes are needed in which multiple intelligences of the students are taken into account. Lecture type classes should be reduced and given only when necessary. The general academic level would rise in this way.”

“Why do we memorise things if we already have all of this information in books or on the Internet? What good is it to show you have good memory on paper? You need to teach us to reason with information and test it with skills.”

“Most of the time, primary and secondary teachers want to reach the end of the subject in hand. They have to complete the syllabus. Time breathes down your neck and you do not know how to finish explaining everything left. You therefore opt to do it in a hurry, but we prefer to go slowly and digest it well.”

“Lastly, we would like to state that primary and secondary schools often have a widespread tendency to encourage students to pursue higher education. Perhaps a person who wants to study a degree is still more highly valued than a person who wants to do vocational training and this should not be the case. Everyone has their own specific skills and they are all valid if promoted properly.”

“One thing should be made very clear. From a very young age, you should teach us to be free and not to be conditioned by society. Perhaps this is one of the most difficult challenges to rise to, as we are all part of an influenced citizenry. We should nonetheless be able to let people decide. Each student should be able to be critical and to put their values into practice when faced with a decision about their lives.”

“In short, education needs to change and not only as regards changing the laws and regulations governing it every three years. Financial and personal effort is required to reappraise our education system.”

“We think we are on the right path, we trust this is the case, because it is now that future generations need to be able to adapt to this changing and diverse world, to adapt to the demands of life and to be complete people. School plays an essential role in students themselves developing the skills that will truly help them to progress, however much they have studied. Entrepreneurial talent can also be taught and it is in this sense that we should work together.”

“We hope that when you enter the classroom, when you address your students, when you prepare the subjects and exams, you think of these ideas that we have attempted to express openly.”