Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Today´s educational system : Or how to become increasingly uneducated

It´s no news that more and more people have now got access to basic and even higher education. It´s true, the world is becoming more and more knowledgeable, however, what kind of knowledge, or better still, what style of learning is going on during  lessons? 

Well, as far as teaching and learning methods are concerned, not much has changed over the years. There´s more teamwork, more outdoor activities, more "dynamism", ... but what about school kids learning how to learn? No, I´m not trying to sound mystic or anything like it. What I´m trying to pinpoint here is the clear lack of what I have described as "multidimensional", or rather "multidivisional" learning.

Multidimensional learning is about tackling one topic, one discussion, from different perspectives. Duh! you might think, that´s a pretty obvious statement. Everyone knows how vital source contrasting is to reach a final conclusion. Still, very few people actually DO this. So, what happens in schools then? Well, what basically happens is that the teacher provides her/his pupils with bureaucratic tools to reach the "one and only" right solution.

Teacher: So, kids (showing a picture of a house), a house should always have a roof at the top to be finished.
Pupil 1: What if the house has a terrace instead of a roof, would it be finished then?
Teacher: (Clearly upset) Of course not "name of pupil 1"! For it to be a correctly built house, it needs a roof to be finished.
Pupil 1: (Looking sadly at his picture) I understand Miss.

I know this is a silly and cheesy example, but I think it pretty much illustrates the idea of how the current educational system works. There seems to be no room for critical reasoning, for questioning, for "out of the box" thinking. Kids grow up to be black and white decision makers, right or wrong debaters, and all the potential stored inside of them is locked up, hidden away, and sometimes, ostracized. Facts, whether historical, scientific or artistic are just the grounds, not the roof. Knowing what Descartes thought, or what Martin Luther King fought for is not finishing a house, it´s just placing the cement for robust walls to rise.

Challenge your pupils to think for themselves, to question the truths and lies that form our cities. Life is made to be questioned, to be differently perceived, to be complexly expressed, to be changed and to be lived. The best teachers, the most renowned masters are those who teach their students to be daring, to be brave, unaccepting and flexible. Life´s too rich to be sold in single branded packets. Happiness is not a product to be bought as a one sided parcel. Happiness, Success, Gratification, Love, ... those terms which marketing campaigns use so freely are not one dimensional, they´re movable and subjective.

I dream of an educational system that motivates, that strives to make the best cement ever. One that raises hopes, drowns fears, and frees mistakes and failures of its bad name. Children will be lost, in a maze of questions, doubts and confusion. Darkness will appear, but none of them will fear, because they will have a torch to light their way, their chosen path, and they will cross the maze in pure joy, looking back to see their footsteps deepen in solitude, realizing no other child will walk along this route. It is unique, and it will lead anywhere they choose their home to be.

"If I had all the answers, my ignorance would be unquestionable" Smartynats

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why Gaga's dance moves and lyrics speak louder than jerks

Have you ever heard of Lady Gaga? If the answer is no, all my love goes to you, because it means you've just lost your internet virginity, so if I were you, I would click on the left hand corner button which says next blog, where you'll probably find more interesting things, like how your avatar would look like, or how easy it is to win an Ipad.

If your answer however is yes, please bear with me. During the next few lines, I will try to explain the answer to the extremely long title of this post. Stefani Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga)has managed to achieve in 3 years what took Julius Caesar 51 years, make history. With this I´m not trying to compare Lady Gaga´s achievements with Caesar's, just highlight an obvious fact.

Lady Gaga is undeniable an icon, be that good or bad, but an icon nonetheless. Now, how many people do you know who can say that of themselves? None, right? That's my point. In a time when being original and the market leader has become an obsession for wannabes and a nightmare for big corporations, a 26 year old singer/pianist/songwriter/... has left us all in awe with her charm and magnetism.

If you're not a big fan, or actually, if you simply can't stand her, don't leave this page still. I will now try to delve into the forces that have caused this phenomenon to arise from a sea of popping heads. Everyone who has heard of her, has at one point asked themselves ; "why her?". Well, like everyone else, I don't have a definite answer, but I think I'm not too far away from it.

What is the secret? the secret, like with any food recipe, is mixing the right amount of ingredients. Those ingredients are: "talent, hard work, knowing the right people, intelligence, ambition, social skills, malleability, marketability, adaptability, charisma, and having a big team of compromised, discreet, hard working and ambitious people working with you and for you".

If combined in the right doses, we might be in front of a new world sensation. But, the hard thing is not making sure someone has the perfect combination, what's crucial is to survive in the medium to long term in a display cabinet. All of the above ingredients can be developed, but being prepared to deal with all the consequences that come with fame, fortune and power, that's a tough one.

Stefani Germanotta, ticks all of the above requisites, which is why today we all know her as Lady Gaga. Her family plays a vital role in this too, but I don't want to bore you with annexes. In Stefani's case, there is one ingredient which in my opinion overpowers the rest; ambition. Is being ambitious a bad thing? well, it depends on what you ambition.

Fortunately for us, her ambitions are, like that of some great leaders, of a social nature. Her ambitions go way beyond her music career, Stefani works and fights for a change, a global change. And she is lucky, because Lady Gaga is in the perfect position to carry that out. Through her lyrics, dance moves, videos, interviews, concerts, tv appearances,... she is causing a massive impact.

If you were just analysing the first layer, your conclusion would be : "she´s an attention seeking wh***". But like a chocolate coulant, the best part comes after getting rid of the outside coat. Dig deeper, and you will find something much more interesting. Underneath all that make up and chopped raw meat, lives someone trying to infuse air and scent into many souls.

People from all over the world are changed by what she does. They look at themselves in the mirror, and see beyond their spectrum, they perceive the light and potential stored in them. Those lucky to be touched by her actions are not ashamed of their insecurities and fears, they celebrate them! They are fortunate to have someone showing them a new meaning of love, respect, and most importantly of tolerance.

For those who accuse her of just being an illuminati puppet, and manipulating the crowds, of indoctrinating teenagers, of controlling their actions and inundating their thoughts, I ask: "is pointing in the right direction manipulative? Is showing the true meaning of respect manipulative?Is freeing political slaves from their chains manipulative?" If the answer is yes, then, I for one can't wait to become a Gaga puppet.

So Gaga, keep on living your dream, and fueling your little monster's fantasies!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Orgullo Galego

I know what you´re thinking. This girl can´t make up her mind as to what language to use in her posts. Indeed you´re right, but only up until "what". Today I have decided to write a special post. Because today, in fact, yesterday before falling asleep, I realised I´d never had the chance to express my gratitude. So now, keyboard in hand, I shall proceed to honour a man who changed my life before I was even born.

This gentleman is my grandfather, Pepe, who just turned 90, but whose spirit and desire to keep on learning could easily beat that of a high school nerd. I guess, now that the introduction is on the table, or rather, the screen, it´s time for me to explain what this fuss is all about.

Pepe, José, El Galleguiño, or simply Abuelo is the breathing example of that Spanish saying " Lo bueno siempre viene en frascos pequeños". Born and raised in the solitude of the fields in Candai, he soon realised his potential was too big to be an exclusive treasure of his cows, so before his neighbours had time to get his hopes down, he fled to college.

There, not only would he feed from books and lectures, but he would also fall into the claws of an equally brilliant intellect, that of his wife to be, Lola. And so, time went by, and El Galleguiño, like a more tanned version of El Quijote, fought tooth and nail to bring down the walls of prejudice and jealousy he encountered along his way.

He walked down the road less travelled, picking up gems along the way, that would turn his world and that of those around him upside down. Pepe then discovered spirituality, the mother gem, and bought a one way ticket to the land of ॐ. Carrying a light backpack, he made his way through pebbled alleyways, collecting pieces of truth along the journey.

With a will and sacrifice only reserved to the most select creatures, he made history, and was so good at it, he made it in a silent, almost imperceptible way. So now, here I am, in my early twenties, trying to bring down my own barriers, only now, it´s easier, because I´m carrying the most powerful weapon known to humankind, herdanza.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why Spanish young adults choose to be future losers

Through my short existence living in Spain, I have come across youngsters from different sizes, colours and backgrounds who all shared a common trait. This being the desperate longing to fail. I know this might sound very matter-of-factly, but let me proceed. 

It seems like it´s politically incorrect, or culturally wrong to publicly acknowledge one´s own dreams, because we might come across as arrogant brats, and what´s even more troublesome, we´ll have to deal with the pressure of having to achieve that which we long for and aspire to obtain. 

So, instead of proudly announcing our inner ambitions ; " I want to be a successful stock market broker", we choose to remain silent, look towards the floor and utter some silly expression like ; " It must be really cool to be a stock market broker, but it´s extremely difficult, you have to be crazy to try and become one".

NO! Stop lying! you know you want to be a stock market broker, so why not admit it, why not proudly shout that out loud. The first step to success in love, work and life as a whole starts by openly admitting what your dreams are all about. 

Only then will they sink in, and help you realise there´s nothing in this life which cannot be achieved if one is convinced. So, go out, gather with some friends, and share your ambitions with them. See how that little flame of hunger to succeed becomes a raging fire as you start to believe in your dreams.

If gays can be out, proud and loud, so can stock market broker wannabes!!