ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN DE MODE DECEMBER 2023 VOL VI. ISSUE XXXVIII | LITERATURE
Article Published on: 04TH JAN 2024 | www.demodemagazine.com
"ACADEMIC REVOLUTION" - BY AUTHOR JUSTIN LOUIS-JEAN & PIERCE MORTENSEN
Academic Revolution is an award-winning analytical book on the Canadian school system and the psychology behind education. This book targets seven major problems in the education system and highlights solutions to each problem and is to be read by anyone who's involved in the education system since no matter if you are a student, teacher, parent, or educator we all have a role to play to better the system for everyone.
• Problem 1: Old Age Values • Problem 2: No Room for Autonomy • Problem 3: Inauthentic Learning • Problem 4: Can't Find Your Passion • Problem 5: We all Learn Differently • Problem 6: Lecturing • Problem 7: The Inevitable. The Unexpected. The Pandemic.
"Academic Revolution" by Justin Louis-Jean is a compelling exploration of Canada's education system, dissecting seven major challenges and proposing transformative solutions. Louis-Jean adeptly dissects complex issues like "No Room for Autonomy" and "Inauthentic Learning," stressing the need for student autonomy and authentic learning experiences. The book scrutinizes outdated ideologies, advocating for a personalized approach to accommodate diverse learning styles. Its emphasis on inclusivity and adaptability is a departure from the traditional model, offering refreshing insights. The central theme, "We all Learn Differently," underscores the importance of recognizing individual learning needs. Seamlessly blending educational analysis and psychological insights, the book targets educators and policymakers, providing well-researched content and practical solutions. It doesn't merely critique the system but offers a blueprint for transformation, inspiring readers to join an educational revolution. "Academic Revolution" prompts readers to reconsider education's future, offering enlightenment, inspiration, and a call to action for change.
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JOURNEY OF THE AUTHORS JUSTIN LOUIS-JEAN & PIERCE MORTENSEN
Pierce is currently 21 years old and from Canada as well. Before that, he attended the same art school as Justin. He now studies Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa. Because of his heavy implication in science and literature, when Justin came to him with this project he was on board since he also had a problem with the current education system he had a lot to say on this topic. Pierce was a big factor in the success of the book, especially for the research about the need to reform education. After a year, the book has won an award and has been placed in the top 5 in the education category in the International Book Awards in 2022.
Justin is currently 22 years old born in Canada but his roots are Haitian and Trinidadian. Before that, he attended an art high school where he wanted to focus on writing but he was declined so he decided to focus on this book. While in high school he started writing this book and when he met Pierce and told him about the project he was on board. He graduated college in 2020 during the pandemic which he talks about in this book about his college experience. That experience, demotivated him to attend University for now and decided to pursue his passions instead. He always had a passion for writing, but this topic came through from multiple inspirations, and lots of research about the need to reform the education system, including his own experiences over the course of his academic journey. After a year, the book has won an award and has been placed in the top 5 in the education category in the International Book Awards in 2022.
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW OF AUTHOR JUSTIN LOUIS-JEAN & PIERCE MORTENSEN WITH DE MODE
Q: 'Academic Revolution,' addresses seven major problems in the education system. What motivated you to delve into this critique?
A. First and foremost, I had a passion for writing so it wasn’t like I was going to start from scratch, since it’s something I enjoyed doing from the start. Afterwards, I remember watching a bunch of videos complaining about the current school system, therefore I felt the urge to jump to action and start writing. In fact, the chapters of this book were inspired by a video called “6 problems with our education system” and when I was looking at that video, I found myself relating a lot to what they were saying so I started writing about it. When it came to the 7th problem, it was brought up to me by Pierce, who said that showcasing the pros and cons of online learning and in-person learning could be beneficial and showing how the pandemic shaped our reality and how we had to adapt to the situation.
Q: As someone who hasn't pursued a university education, how did your personal experiences influence your insights into the flaws within the education system?
A. In the book I talk about how despite being in the program that I chose, since it was during the pandemic it wasn’t fun so I decided to not pursue a University education. Also, being completely drained from online learning though college gave me a negative view on university so I decided not to attend. And decided to pursue my passion for writing.
Q: Could you elaborate on the issue of 'Old age values' within the education system and how it impacts modern learning?
A. This chapter is one of the big ones since it explains how the industrial revolution shaped the way that school was structed. Long days with long hours, mass production and quick learning. That is used as a filter to weed out those who can’t keep up with the fast paste environment, and in the corporate world if you don’t do your job, you’re fired. Given the nature, those who would be able to keep up but would require some extra assistance can’t benefit from this since the school system sees them as something less then.
Q: 'Inauthentic learning' is one of the problems you highlight. What are your views on reshaping the learning experience to make it more authentic?
A. I said this in the book, the classes that we learn in school have very little application to students apart from the test and might not be of use once they reach adulthood. On the other hand, you have classes that aren’t taught in school that would be very beneficial to students to ease their path in life. For example, you have algebra that could be very useful to calculate variables such as prices and that could be a keyway to understand finances.
Q: You've co-authored this book. Can you share how the collaboration process shaped your perspective on the education system?
A. First of all, he’s my friend and working alongside him was amazing. I think that when you are teaming up with your friends and have the same goal in mind with maturity as well, it makes the task a lot easier to handle because there’s that previously existing friendship and trust. It was through one of our lengthy discussions that he told me that he wanted to write a fictional book but had a hard time figuring out where to start. So, I told him about my draft for this book and since he was a student with a lot to say we decided to partner up for this project. As they say, two heads are better than one and overall, it made the book that much more worth of a read.
Q: You mentioned 'finding your passion' as a key problem. How can education systems better guide students in discovering their passions?
A. Removing the expectation that you need a certain grade to pass your class, since all that grade means is your ability to memorize a certain amount of the material learned and put it on the test. Removing that expectation means that there’s no pressure to learn and it gives more freedom to students to find what they like/don’t like and once they do, they also find what they are good at vs not good at and once you do that, you know more about yourself. The example I used in my book was with me, once I got to 11th grade and found a liking for psychology I then used that to gear myself towards social work. And then in 12th grade English class, I was able to research about social working in college and what pre-requisite I would need to get accepted into the program. Instead of cramming into our heads all these classes in case they are pre-requisites to any program in postsecondary, have the students search up what might be a pre-requisite for them and let them do the rest
Q: What changes or solutions do you propose to make education more adaptive to diverse learning styles, as indicated in 'We all learn differently'?
A. I think it would be hypocritical if I provide a one-sizefits-all solution when I advocate that it’s all about the students’ abilities and what suites them. However, what I will say is that we have to switch up the learning environment and by doing so, different students will shine and by doing so they all help each other.
Q: Where do you envision the future of education based on the solutions you've advocated in 'Academic Revolution'?
A. #NOTE: Teachers and educators know that school is a part of life and not the other way around and there’s no time limit when one could learn something. Once that is understood, we could start by making what’s being taught in school more applicable to life outside of school, and learning will become more general. Since it will be more general, you will have people from all walks of life wanting to learn from each other and that will unify the classroom since everyone could learn from everyone else as long as their open to being taught.