There is a current challenge in our society and economy that needs to be seriously dealt with…
I stand firm to say that the battle of conformity has been an age long battle. Everyone tries to conform in order to fit in and seem like a member of the crowd, while others who try to seek nonconformity to show their individuality always attract attention and negative agitation….we mostly tag it “bad” or “wrong”
Furthermore we tend to get so used to doing things one way and never even consider the possibility of achieving better results in a different way.
Many individuals who have caused change and transformation in the world or made a great impact were non conformists who were not afraid to go against the grain and chose to try other means and options to solve problems and achieve better results….that’s what births innovation and creativity.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SOME NON-CONFORMIST
Examples of such people are;
- Albert Einstein
- Martin Lurther King Jnr
- Walt Disney
- Mary Slessor
- Mother Theresa
- Maria Montessori
A lot of people are still beneficiaries of their innovation and creativity long after they have died. Even the Bible teaches that we should not conform to the world but to constantly renew our minds; this seems to be a difficult advice in our generation where crowd pressures have unconsciously conditioned our minds and feet to move to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo.
Many voices and forces urge us to choose the path of least resistance, and bid us never to fight for an unpopular cause and never to be found in a pathetic minority of two or three.
In a sector such as Education, the degree of increase in knowledge and benchmarking has the tendency to throw the school industry in disarray. We already find some people frowning at certain issues in the name of “Standards”.
I personally question some of our so called standards;
Why can’t ALL schools shut down to celebrate World Teachers Day?
Why can’t ALL Teachers dress in Ankara Suits and blazers all through the week?
Why can’t we compose some new Nigerian Nursery Rhymes; Mary had a little lamb is no longer news and society has positioned London Bridge not to fall down!
These battles can be endless;
- Choice of uniforms
- Standard and quality of teaching
- Teacher salary
- Student Performance
- Resumption Time or Closure
And much more!
We want innovation….it can only happen when we begin to act as non-conformists, seeking alternative ways for better results.
In Finland, the functional thing their early year’s children do in school is to play, play and play. Playing has a major effect in the growth and development of a child’s learning space and pace. But in this part of the world, we hinder our own children from playing because we consider it to be “unserious”. In fact, our parents will jointly facilitate the shutting down of the school because it means school fees has been a total waste and the schools are heartless.
As good as standards are, they don’t justify rightness until they have been tested and proven otherwise across all possible dimensions. Objectivity is very important!
While the battle for conformity continues, we must understand that it is only contextual and should derive its meaning from the situation on ground.
WHAT THEN IS THE BALANCE
Conformity will never be a perfect gauge for equilibrium, hence, in our quest for transformation, we must understand that people will eventually conform…but at their own pace.
Observations of emerging trends within schools tend to trigger sensationalism in our reactions. Therefore what should our response be?
We must be reminded that creativity evolves and thrives with culture and as we drive towards growth and development, we as professionals and experts must indeed be careful not to swing in the wrong direction and position. We all must understand that certain key factors must indeed be understood;
UNDERSTANDING THE KEY FACTORS
The transformation we would witness would emerge from educators, professionals and stakeholders with functional mindsets. Our journey would be adventurous once we decided to change our disposition to that of a growth mindset. A growth mindset would challenge the status quo.
Our Common Denominator
As a sector, we need to find our common denominator such as;
- We want growth and development in our schools and education
- We want our schools to succeed
- We want our students to have proper learning
- We have to train our students in a way that would give them advantage in the open market locally and globally
- We don’t want our system to be behind but also to stay and be ahead
There are so many common denominators. If we can identify them and agree as one voice, then we can all work towards achieving those common goals. There is no rule as to the “how”. As long as it is legit and sustainable, result is all we want.
Forge ahead with our goals and focus
With our identified goals in focus, we should be working out blueprints on how to achieve them. Our fear of not being left behind should be our driving force to stay ahead by creating practical and creative ways to achieving the results we want.
Private schools should not be doing the same thing we have always known them for. Let’s do things differently!
We should proceed to judge things through objectivity and not just conformity. What we should find instructive before we consider or tag anything as bad or wrong, must be to first to consider the essence behind such and test it. There’s a difference between being an advocate and being an agitator; we should ask the right questions at all times.
Conformity has its place and can be a useful tool. It can also hinder and limit us based on reality on ground as well as our approach.
In fact we must realize that it is conformity that has led us to the point we currently find ourselves. However, transformation can happen gradually and at a different pace for different people.
It is in our hands to make the transformation that we want in Nigeria’s Education Sector!
“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.” – Christopher Morley