top of page

Contemporary Education Debate: Slow Down Or Accelerate?

As education systems return moderately to a routine and extensive parts of our lives

After overcoming the greatest crisis of recent decades - the Corona plague,

We educators are required to recalculate a new route, as this post will address in short.

I would like to address two concepts -
Slow education- emerging from the global slow movement.
Humanistic education - sees the child and the adult as partners interacting in the educational processes.

The fast-paced era.

We all live in a fast age, eat fast food (also healthy-fast), receive services at the click of a button in the app (hungry? order now!). We also change professions more frequently. Some of our friends lose their jobs to artificial intelligence. Our children, our friends, and co-workers might complain of general boredom and a search for thrills. For example, birthdays of young children have become fancy party productions, and this has, in turn, become a "wedding" in which only the bride is present. The culture is full of examples also of dissatisfaction with appearance and fear of aging (manifested in a beauty industry that sells illusions - eyeglass removal surgeries, Botox for girls 30). And the list is getting longer.

It is not surprising that some see the fast-paced age as a risk and seek to stop, observe and slow down.

How much to slow down? A good question!

In this Ted lecture, Karl Honora talks about his insights from the Covid 19 period. He speaks positively about the slow activities and paradoxes inherent in slowing down in our fast-paced time.

He talks about the concept of time in visual images.

While in some cultures, time is round, western society represents time as a straight line.

Another character he mentioned: Western culture requires everyone to be busy at all times and be efficient.

This atmosphere must have an impact on us as human beings in all aspects of our lives.

For example, when referring to the learning process as a straight line - we use the terms "sufficient" "material" in our schools.

And what is the relationship between "knowledge" and "time"?
Should the education system squeeze as much knowledge as possible in a unit of time?
In my opinion - no. I call for considering a different approach today.

I want to link Karl Honora's lecture to the word "meaning" in education.

Following the Covid 19 crisis, many teachers around me are rethinking concepts such as happiness, satisfaction, and self-fulfillment. In addition, many of them reconsider the path of human society—specifically, the development of Israeli society as a collection of communities living within our country.

When I talk about meaning, I am referring to the social-human aspects of our lives.

Many activities contribute to our happiness. Most of them are social activities.

Therefore, as education systems respond to the slow movement, it is essential, in my opinion, to engage in the search for happiness as the value inherent in human action and self-awareness via dialogue.

I paraphrase the work of Martin Buber.

I see massive support for this perspective in OECD 2030 education.

Well-Being is one of the most central concepts in the OECD's compass for education.

Education systems must address students and all education system employees' happiness and self-satisfaction. In addition, the OECD organization adds the concept of Agency (the ability to set a goal, reflect and act responsibly to achieve it) which aims to give all women in the system the ability to be initiators and proactive instead of being activated by the system.

In the following video, you will be impressed by this leading concept.

If you accept the concept presented above for learning today here with us, it is also essential to address this question-

What is the role of educators in this age?
For example, the compass adapted to the Israeli education system focuses on imparting knowledge, skills, and values.

What do we know about human knowledge?

True - it develops rapidly, exponentially.

I came across a lecture by mathematician Sam Arbesman on the change that human knowledge is undergoing and the obsolescence of human knowledge.

The lecturer begins with a description from the film "Men in Black" and a quote from Tommy Lee Jones after Will Smith encountered an alien for the first time. Jones told him - "1,500 years ago, everyone knew our planet was the center of the universe, 500 years ago everyone knew our planet was flat, and 15 minutes ago you knew we were alone in the universe."

This fascinating lecture informs us that knowledge depends on measurement abilities and the progress of scientific research. Unfortunately, the skills to study and measure using technology are so sophisticated over the years that seemingly solid knowledge quickly becomes out of date. The lecture contains several familiar examples.

In such an age, it is essential to understand that knowledge will change.

And our students are the ones who will develop the research that will help it change (Who else?).


The answer to the question - Is it necessary to deliver knowledge? is clear

Deliver but not necessarily in the way done in the past!

It is better to teach students how to critique and evaluate knowledge, understand how scientists came to this knowledge (also referring to the humanities, arts, and philosophy) and challenge understanding in the future using scientific tools.

So far, we will conclude-

The value of happiness and a sense of satisfaction and ability are essential. It is also vital to engage in knowledge in a critical and adapted way.

If so, we must ask-

Should the education system teach students to slow down or accelerate?

On the one hand, to effectively process new knowledge, it is necessary to let the mind meditate and allow respite and even sleep. But, on the other hand, these promote qualitative cognitive processing of the information learned according to the latest cognitive research. See more in a previous article I wrote.

Here is the paradox of slowing down that that neglects the quality of life and aim to process information effectively :)

Is it possible to avoid this paradox?

I claim we can.

We must perceive education as the overall relationships between adults and children within specific social frameworks. It begins at home, continues at kindergarten and schools.

And in general, you might be interested to know-

How to slow down the learning session? And why slow down?

I found the answers to these questions from Dr. Orit parnaphas.

I recommend reading her article "Learning Slowly" on the excellent slowdown website written by Amit Neufeld.

In the article, Orit presents several ideas for educators who want to slow down, observe together with the learners and motivate together deep learning, which emerges from them, which allows the resonance of thoughts, construction of routines that will enable, will be and research that stems from the learner's reality.

For example, you can practice project-based learning.

The slowdown in education is gaining momentum, leading team members - Dr. Orit parnaphas, Mika Daphne (Foundation for Educational Initiatives), and Dr. Anat Shapira Lavie. The Foundation for Educational Initiatives sponsors this movement, and there is also a new website for those interested -

What do you think?

Is eye-level education possible in the 21st century?

Will it incorporate the ideas of a slow learning session? And will it include a preoccupation with the nature of knowledge or the nature of interpersonal relationships?

Sign up for the site forum now and join me for a thought-provoking discussion.

Good luck, 21st-century teachers.


bottom of page