How Education Is Turning Us Into Consumers

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By Rob Howe, Truth Theory

I’m about to rip into the education system. You may be asking,

“Who is he to critique the education system?”


“Why should I care?”

Well, professionally I’m a qualified English Teacher and presently work in a school which is enforcing the dogma of Ofsted.

I dip in and out of teaching whenever I need an income to meet my living costs, but favour listening to the calls of my soul. Presently I am co-founding a charity, which aims to educate, meaning here to draw out from within one’s truth and potential, rather than mould those who engage with it.

I’ll share more about the moulding nature of education later on. But first, it’s important I start from the beginning.

Modernity is looking at life through an outdated lens. Collectively we are misdirected and we’re beginning to notice. Many of us have been building our lives upon a set of values which do not serve us. One could argue our misdirection is a result of social engineering. One need only read Edward Bernays to glimpse the truth in the claim.

The insanity of our modern lifestyles is beginning to manifest itself in the increasing deterioration of our personal and collective mental health, our addictions and isolation.

The challenge of our time and what we shall be remembered for by our children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s children is the climate crises and the 6th mass extinction of life upon earth aka the anthropocene.

The anthropocene is a geological term and can be understood as the carbon footprint made by humans upon earth. It is rooted in the fundamentally flawed Cartesian perception of the world which sees the mind and body as separate. The anthropocene exists because central to it is the belief and view that humans are separate from the earth. We believe our planet is a resource to be capitalised upon. The value of growth inherent in Capitalism fails to recognise the finite resources of our planet.

Our future depends on telling a new story based upon connection, but again, I shall write more about the solution in future posts.

You may be asking, “What has education got to do with the anthropocene?”

My reply, “Everything.”

The purpose of education is to produce consumers and workers. The education system perpetuates the old story of disconnection which is central to the problems we face.

It’s not all bad. Education does teach us some important skills, however the leaders do not recognise what our personal, collective and planetary needs are, and so are unable to tailor a curriculum to respond to them.

The incompetent leadership of education is manifested through performance management which places its focus in the wrong places in unproductive ways.

Whilst this is the case, everybody suffers.

Formal education doesn’t concern itself with recognising every individual as a unique being with infinite potential and possibility. It fails to acknowledge every person’s uniqueness and doesn’t allow its students and teachers the freedom to explore, discover and grow.

Instead education rigidly defines success criteria and expects every student, regardless of their unique blend of intelligences, to ‘do well’, meaning here to achieve their target grade. Anything beyond that is deemed a failure.

Currently education is failing because:

It does not create citizens who are aware of the global context around them

It fails to nurture the competencies and outlook central to thriving

It continues the narrative of separation

I will continue exploring the effects of education upon us personally in the next blog. I will also begin exploring alternatives which already exist.

I am Rob Howe an author, poet and educator. Presently I’m living the new story which is a regenerative tale, based on connection of the self, others and our natural world. I am helping to build a future which values the flourishing of all life as its highest priority. To read my book ‘Being An Explorer’ click here.

Image Credit1: Copyright: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo

Image Credit2: Copyright: oneinchpunch / 123RF Stock Photo

I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here

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