Teaching to discover: how school should be according to David Edwards



David Edwards is an eclectic Harvard University professor: his interests range from cell and tissue bioengineering to school system planning, design and contemporary art. He raised from the columns of Wired US a highly controversial issue: what if today’s school system is preparing kids for a world that has already changed? Edwards indeed is referring to US schools, but I reckon that his considerations could easily apply to Europe as well.

In the future, on a resource-hungry, overpopulated planet, to achieve good grades at school will be just not enough. There’s more to it: it could possibly be completely useless. We need to think beyond: what Edwards is suggesting is that we should acknowledge the importance of moving on even from ‘learning by doing’ and to instead focus on ‘learning to discover’. We should be capable of building an education system that promotes and supports our kids’ process of discovery.

Because in the future the planet will undergo many changes and a radical paradigm shift will be absolutely necessary. The future of law, medicine, philosophy, engineering and agriculture will need to be rediscovered. And we cannot expect kids educated following a 10, 20 or 30-year-old school system to do that, explains Edwards. We need to set the basis and the conditions for them to be able to change the world, starting from now.