Drama and Theatre Education
教育戲劇和劇場


The Problems of Our Education
我們的教育問題

Education has remained a big problem for all ages. Even in many western countries, education is sometimes criticised as being too utilitarian and inharmonious with demands of the progressing talents of society. In China, education problems are deeply rooted and it is hard to explore these problems further.

Influential British arts educator Sir Ken Robinson said that their education system cultivates people in the same way as we exploit the earth — with the utilitarian purpose. When it comes to today’s utilitarian society, such education is likely to help kids seek financially satisfying jobs in the future, but does not tap into existing personal values, recognise and pursue beauty or discuss about and develop insights into moral and ethical matters. As ‘subjects’ of utilitarian education, students are therefore denied the best things life has to offer.

Despite thirty years of educational reform in China, teachers still focus on imparting pragmatic knowledge which may allow the students to eventually earn a living. School education is college-oriented; the humanities are all but ignored and even art education itself tends to be empty, utilitarian, blind and vain.

In our result-oriented education system, the constant pursuit of test scores turns the art of teaching into something rigid and mechanical. In order to make the effects of teaching easily assessable, either in knowledge-based disciplines or in the humanities, students’ individual understanding and digestion of the world will be ignored and replaced by a single standardised answer, all while they are systematically ranked and defined as either good or bad.

In classrooms, students are often treated as ignorant, while teachers consider themselves owners and authorities of knowledge, transmitting information and imposing knowledge on students without dialogue. However, if students’ personal experiences, feelings and thoughts are unable to merge into learning, they are only passively involved in class. In fact, students should be the real subjects in teaching activities and teachers should act as the facilitators of interpretation. An education system in which students are not subjects and teachers only work as executors of education measures and deliverers of teaching contents not only runs counter to the real purpose of education, but also goes against the changeable relationship between teachers and students, teaching and learning.

Sir Ken Robinson believed that diversity of human abilities should be redefined and uncertain futures embraces innovation more. With high expectations of their kids, parents send them to school, hoping they will learn skills and enjoy a bright future. Actually, kids who used to be different from each other are undergoing a uniform transformation in the education assembly line. Their most valuable uniqueness, talent, imagination and creativity are being erased little by little rather than being developed further.

Our discussions about democracy are mainly conducted from a political perspective; however, far more than a political topic, democracy serves as the foundation of human civilisation and permeates every aspect of life. Education should also be democratic. Only by taking democratic measures in education can we truly carry out humanistic education and make cultivation of aesthetics, creativity and imagination possible; only in this way can children really learn to respect others and work in a team. In this regard, the fundamental contradiction between system and quality education becomes a big flaw underlying in our education.

教育古往今來都是個大問題,即使是“先進”的西方國家,他們的教育也被認為太過功利,不符合社會進步對人才的需求以及對人性的重視;而在中國,教育的問題根結很深,一旦追究下去,便是無力。

英國的肯·羅賓遜(Sir Ken Robinson)爵士是藝術教育領域影響頗深的一位學者,他說到:我們的教育體系培養我們的方式正如我們開採地球的方式,以功利為目的。在一個功利社會的背景之下,此種教育或許可以有利於孩子在未來謀取一份職業,但缺乏對個人價值的挖掘和激發,缺乏對於美的認識和追求,缺乏對道德、倫理的討論和感悟,學生作為受教育的主體“人”,其生命中最具靈魂的部分實際上是被蒙蔽的。

我國教改之路已有三十年,我們的教學重點如今仍放在那些以後可能讓我們得以謀生的實用主義知識之上,學校教學方向直指大學之門,有關“人”的人文主義學科遠沒有在學校得到足夠的重視,藝術教育本身,也往往是形式、功利、跟風和虛榮的。

我們的教育體制,則是以結果為導向,對教學成果評估的快速、精確、標準化的過度追求,使得教學方法機械而僵硬,教育目標異化為績效考核。這意味著為了使教學效果易於評估,無論是知識學科還是人文學科,學生自己對於這個世界個性化的理解和消化將被忽視,取而代之的是標準化的統一答案,學生在被狹隘的方式來進行排名和定義好壞。

在課堂上,學生常被當作一無所知的對象,老師將自己作為知識的擁有者和權威,在缺乏對話的情境下對孩子進行信息傳遞和知識灌輸;而如果孩子的個人經歷、情感和認知無法融入到學習中去,學習只能是處於被動狀態。實際上,學生才應該是教學活動中真正的主體,老師應該幫每一個學習者創造屬於他們自己的模式去解讀世界。當學生不成為教育的主體,老師也只是教育手段的執行者、教學內容的傳遞者,這種教育不僅違背了教育的真正目的,也違背了老師和學生,教和學之間關係可變的本質。

對於不確定的未來,羅賓遜爵士認為未來社會需要重新定義人類能力的多樣化,不確定的未來更需要創造力才能應對。家長總是對孩子的未來充滿期望,而他們所做的僅僅是將孩子送進學校以為他們在那裡學習本領為以後立足,事實上那些原本千差萬別、與眾不同的孩子只是被送進流水線接受統一化改造,他們最為可貴的獨特性、天賦、想象力和創造力不僅沒有被開發反而被一點一點地抹去。

當我們在談論民主,大多是從它的政治範疇來談論這個話題,而實際上它遠不僅僅是政治的,更是人類文明活動的基礎滲透在生活的方方面面,教育理所應當也是民主的。只有這樣,我們才有可能真正地進行人文教育,審美、創造力、想象力的培養才成為可能;也只有這樣,孩子也才能夠真正學會尊重他人以及與他人合作。而在這些這方面,體制教育與素質教育的根本矛盾成為我們教育的一個硬傷。


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