From the moment we emerge into the world, people begin speaking about us, and for us. Eventually we get to a place where we can take over the storytelling, yet despite this independence we can (with some digging, some gentle brushing away of the dusty layers covering what’s hidden) feel the vestiges and remnants of all the said things about us (for us, to us) when we talk about ourselves. Those underlying architectures inform our own sense of self (our innate value, or lack thereof; our potential for doing great things, or lack thereof); they quietly (often invisibly) permeate our interactions with others and serve as a filter for how we experience the world.
We enter formal schooling as small children, and leave as (young, still forming/fomenting) adults. Problematically, many of the ways that the people and apparatus of education speak and relate to students remain consistent throughout those 13 years; students receiving direction, input, guidance, feedback, critique, consequences, rewards, recognitions – yet, conversely, students rarely having the opportunity to give feedback of their own (why open Pandora’s Box?) or to provide direction to teachers and school leaders. Children follow set pathways from birth, yet often I notice how we as adults perseverate on the moments they don’t – and on the relatively few young individuals who do not comfortably conform to the many limits and boundaries our structures (and attitudes) impose.
Was Socrates perhaps being a bit tongue-in-cheek?