Why should character be taught in schools

Richard David Precht: - We need an educational revolution!

Children who start school today will retire in 2070. What education will you need for your life? What do they need to know and what do they need to be able to do? Which challenges will they have to master in their coexistence and which ones in their professional life?

As obvious as it is to ask these questions, and as important as it is to answer them, our schools, our teachers, and our education policymakers are not concerned with them. Children today learn almost the same thing in school as the generation of their parents and grandparents. The old languages ​​have become a little less important, the foreign languages ​​more important, biology lessons today contain more and different material - but those are the most important differences. Even the school reading is almost the same as it was 40 years ago: Goethe's “Werther”, Max Frisch's “Homo faber”, Friedrich Dürrenmatt's “Physicist”. But do these books really deal with the problems, worries, fears, dreams and longings of our children?

The "educational impostors", as the psychologist Thomas Städtler calls them, pack more and more material into the curriculum when in doubt, without clearing out the old material. The result is what the education expert Reinhard Kahl calls "bulimia learning": feed quickly, quickly give up again in exams and then quickly forget. A German child goes to school for more than 100,000 hours by the time they graduate from high school - but by then they have already forgotten most of what they have learned. The results look even more devastating a few years later. Which adult can still do the material they learned when they were 13? What is Ohm's law about? What is the content of the "Golden Bull"? As an adult, who can still use the “theorem of height” in geometry?

In the OOctober edition reports to Cicero why Steinbrück should challenge Angela Merkel and what opportunities he has. In his cover story, Cicero editor-in-chief Christoph Schwennicke traces how the K question turned from an outrageous idea to a fact for Peer Steinbrück himself and what calculations of party leader Sigmar Gabriel is behind the decision.The magazine is available in the online shop or at the kiosk.

Certainly, all of this is important educational material. But as it is taught and learned in our schools, hardly anything sticks to it as a rule. Because, as Confucius already knew: “You forget what you get explained. You remember what has been shown to you. But you can only do what you have done yourself. ”Do it yourself, that is, in relation to the school material, do it with curiosity and enthusiasm, but not repeat it out of duty.

What is the point of studying 100,000 hours when so little of it is remembered? What a tremendous waste of time and energy is here? How much innate curiosity does the school destroy? If our schools were companies, they would have been bankrupt long ago. They are way too inefficient. If our schools were states, they would have imploded long ago. Failed because of the resistance of its citizens.

The demands of the future world of life and work call for creative problem solvers and not for heads that are filled with dead knowledge like files. But instead of treating children as individual racehorses, we train them to be patient posthorses, as the mathematician and management consultant Gunter Dueck warns. Our schools not only prepare poorly for life, they even purposefully destroy the potential for curiosity, enthusiasm and creativity that will later be needed for a fulfilled life.

Page 2: "Life is more than just preparing for an exam"

After all that modern developmental psychology, learning theory and brain research know about learning, one can conclude: Just as our schools believe that knowledge is imparted - that's not how learning works. But why are these findings barely taken into account in our schools to this day? Why are we still training post horses instead of strengthening the racehorse's character and skills?

The answer is probably quite simple: Because our educational system itself is largely non-creative! The number of enthusiastic, curious and creative people among German teachers is very manageable. Not to mention culture bureaucrats and cultural politicians. Instead of thinking about a completely new way of learning, there are still age-old friend-foe lines of supposedly “left” or “right” educational policy in public debates. It is about "left" comprehensive schools against the "right" educational privileges of higher earners - but it is hardly about the question of what is happening in our schools in terms of content. Who is changing our curriculum? Who turns our classrooms into architecturally successful learning spaces? Who will abolish our completely absurd teacher training, which forces the trainees to achieve the same hard-working conformism that they will later demand from their students?

On the other hand, what is a good teacher? Wilhelm von Humboldt would have answered someone who would like to continue learning himself. What are its main requirements? Expertise? Didactics? No, the most important prerequisites for a teacher are 1) that he likes children and 2) that he is a person you like to listen to and who inspires others with his own enthusiasm. In contrast, everything else is secondary. But: How many such teachers do we remember from our own school days? One, two, or at best three.

A good teacher accompanies his students on their journey of discovery through the fascinating world of knowledge, belief and opinion that is called culture. And only what is learned with curiosity becomes important and meaningful to our children. And only what is important to them arouses their creativity and spurs their willingness to perform. A good lesson, says the brain researcher and education critic Gerald Hüther, is one that preserves the enthusiasm innate in all children instead of destroying it. “Life is more than just chasing good grades. Life is more than preparing for an exam. Children can do more than peer at testimonials. We humiliate them if we only reduce their performance to the grades achieved in school, ”writes Hüther in his recently published book“ Every child is gifted ”.

The Federal Republic of Germany has experienced innumerable educational reforms up to the most recent misconduct of the Bologna Process and the extensive abolition of the 13th school year. What is coming up today is not a new reform. Our schools don't need to be reformed. You have to be completely different than before. We need different teachers, different methods and a completely different way of living together in school. In a word: we do not need any further educational reform, we need an educational revolution!

In the OOctober edition reports to Cicero how the decision came about that Steinbrück should challenge Angela Merkels and what chances he has. In his cover story, Cicero editor-in-chief Christoph Schwennicke traces how the K question turned from an outrageous idea to a fact for Peer Steinbrück himself and what calculations of party leader Sigmar Gabriel is behind the decision. You can also read at Cicero Online: Peer Steinbruck. The right and logical candidate for chancellor

Cicero has brought it forward to the October edition and will be available in stores in Berlin on Saturday as well as in Hamburg and Frankfurt next Monday. The magazine is now also available in the online shop.