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Education That Endures (ETE)

Education that Endures (ETE) concept .

Education that Endures is the education that remains effective and relevant in spite of challenges resulting from changes in the environment. 


I acquired all my formal education, that is, primary and tertiary education, in Zambia. I have a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Zambia. However, due to the circumstances I found myself in, I ended up doing work that is different from that I was trained for at college and in a language I never learnt at school, and a country and culture different from the ones in which I went to school. Everything suddenly changed except for one thing, my education. In retrospect, the education I had acquired had prepared me for the changes, only that I had not realized it until much later. Had I realized that I had the necessary education but only that I had to think about how I could apply it under the then prevailing circumstances, I was not going to go through the stress and frustration I did as I was searching for something “right” to do. I was stuck because I did not know the four right reasons why we go to school. 

I think it is now even more important than ever for younger generations to understand the right reasons why they go to school. This is so because, in the near future, they are bound to find themselves in circumstances very different from what they think they are ready for. It will not necessarily be as a result of them moving to a different country like I did, but rather as a result of change coming to their country and community. The rate at which business models and whole businesses, for instance, are changing is alarming. This means that at one time in the future, may be soon, knowledge that is being acquired will substantially change in its application, if it does not become obsolete altogether. This possibility makes it necessary for the young to undergo an education that will endure. An education that endures is that which provides the right mindset and skills that remain relevant despite rapid change. It is an education that will produce graduates that will create jobs rather than look for jobs, because most jobs will be taken up by technology or will simply disappear. British author, speaker and international advisor on education, Sir Ken Robinson, said and I quote, “We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it's an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.” 

I entered the education profession as an outsider. That is, I was not schooled in the school of education, but rather in the school of engineering. My background made me start questioning a lot of conventional methods, practices and wisdom in the school of education. In engineering design, things are looked at first from the first principles and empirical analysis. I brought this approach in education. For instance, when I started teaching English in Japan, I noticed that it was, and still is, common practice to make children memorize English words, expressions and grammar rules. The problem I had with this approach was that it was not helping children to speak English. In my search to find a solution, I resorted to the first principles and empirical evidence. I asked the simple question, “How did I learn my mother tongue?” and “How do children acquire language?” The answers to these questions helped me develop an effective approach to teaching not only English but other subjects to children.

I teach English in an environment where students generally have very limited class time (one hour per week after school at most) and have no other contact with English outside the classroom (their parents have either minimum or no English ability at all).

The ETE approach aims at  creating the entrepreneurial mindset and habits that foster innovation and resourcefulness in both the teachers and students.  The concept was born from the combination of engineering background, teaching and entrepreneurial  experience and studying various teaching and learning methods and characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

The ETE concept and EASE tool have helped achieve exceptional results in teaching different kinds of students, including children with special needs under the Oasis English Schools program. The  classes at Oasis English Schools combine students of different ages and English abilities. Thus it has been necessary to create individualized curriculum and achievement goals for each student. The two Oasis English schools, which are under the umbrella of TEEBS, have a total of more than one hundred and sixty students. The EASE tool has made it possible not only to overcome the limitations the environment poses, but also to meet the needs of every single student. Slow learners are not put under undue pressure and the fast learners are not slowed down at the mercy of those that are not as fast.        


Why is the ETE relevant?   

The ETE approach is relevant because of  the following reasons.

1. The constantly changing work and business models in the market place.

2. The changing objectives of education.

3. The changing role of the teacher.

The Four Themes of ETE

1. Health. (staying alive and healthy)

        2. Leadership. (people skills)

                 3. Economy. (managing resources)

                             4. Innovation. (making life more convenient and efficient)

Characteristics of ETE.

1.Deeper (quality)

                   2. Faster (effective time management and resilience)

                                  3. Individualized (relevant and suitable to individual learner)

Video: The Four Reasons Why We Go To School.

Recommended Reading and Other Resources