"When you want your people to build a ship, don't drum them up to go out and gather wood or give out instructions on how to build a ship, make them yearn for crossing the vast sea instead."
- Saint Exupery
If you are introducing your friend to football, do you start by explaining her the origins of the game, the history of the most successful clubs and players and tournaments? Or will you take her to the field to let her get a sense of how good it feels to kick the ball around and run on the grass and dribble past other players and score a goal? Or will you take her to a game at the stadium to soak in the atmosphere?
Either of the latter approaches I would assume.
Yet, we do the exact opposite in schools.
We introduce our kids to subjects and topics in the former manner and do everything but cultivate a yearning in them to go out and explore, be curious enough to want to figure things out.
We don't need teachers to instruct students anymore. Everything that a kid can learn in school, she can just as easily learn it sitting at home and in front of a computer. If the only difference between the two is that one is mandatory (school) and one isn't (learning at home), it is no wonder then that we are producing scores of graduates who don't care much about what they have just majored in and aren't really good at applying what they have learnt.
We don't need teachers to instruct students anymore. What we need them to do instead is to create that yearning for wanting to cross the vast sea.
Because, once they have that yearning, they have all the material that they need to get it done and they will figure it out for themselves, with a little guidance.
Same goes for parents.
Don't ask your kid what she learnt in school today. Ask her what she wants to learn about tomorrow.
Create the yearning.