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WTF's Up With Our Education System?

That's exactly how I feel right now. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and realizing just what I want for my future. Now as I said in an earlier posting, I had written about this subject in our school newspaper, but I couldn't express myself as well I wanted to without offending too many people. But since this is my own blog, I'm going to write what I feel like.

The system SUCKS.

I sometimes feel ashamed to say it, but at one point I really enjoyed school. It was a nice blend of social and educational experiences. Now I just go there because I have to get through it. I use the social aspect of school to dull down the pain of sitting through classes. Sometimes I feel like I'm actually getting dumber as I sit there and soak in random pieces of information. Now, we can all memorize a few formulas and use them on the next test, but really what good does that do? Most of the time, we don't even know why we use a specific formula. Even more unfortunate is the fact that most don't care at all. Marks on a test are used as a scale for success at school. In reality this isn't the case.

Some students work very hard and build very good work habits. Others are lazy (like me) and don't try all that hard. However, dedication and hard work don't necessarily translate into better marks. Trust me, I know first hand. The system emphasizes testing much too strongly. Tests are about as far away from real life application as it gets. When I think back to all the things I've learned in school, it's only the things that I've applied to life that I retain. Other things, like some insignificant formulas I learned last year in physics, don't even break through enough that I realize I forget them. What does that tell you? How successful was I at learning? Not very; too bad my grades would make you think I assimilated it all very well.

We're seriously at risk of being turned into mindless zombies. We tend to have a habit of doing things at school for the sake of doing them. The teacher presents us the lesson for the day and we proceed to sit there and do problems over and over. Almost no thinking is required. You only need to know the formula or pattern and then you just start givin 'er until it's all done. Then on the tests, regurgitation is what is required of you. Forget a formula? Too bad, because you never understood where it came from or why it is used. Deriving things (otherwise known as logical thinking...) is rarely done in class. It's just not part of the curriculum. The teachers need to get through a set amount of material in the course of a semester. The material doesn't involve the students actually understanding. As long as it is covered , it's fair game for exams.

And therein lies the problem. Indirectly, our creative thinking abilities have been stifled through high school. There's no longer a need to think outside the box. There's no incentive to. A person who follows the curriculum word for word and a person who does a whole lot more and tries to discover for themselves may get the same thing on a test. And in the end, that's what shows up on that transcript. We're going to run into some serious trouble in the future when we suddenly find ourselves with a lack of creative thinkers. Leaders need a vision. Doing questions with numbers slightly changed or writing out definitions over and over creates only double vision. During those long classes I find myself concentrating more on staying awake than the lesson being taught.

I had a nice chat with a few friends today. We all agreed that the landscape of education has been changing... for the worst. Going to university used to signal that you were a bright student or a hard worker. Now everyone and their pets can go to university as long as you have money. Bachelor degrees don't seem to mean much at all since so many people have them. It's like you need your Masters or Doctorate to really get into the industry. And you wonder why those big executives are getting paid millions of dollars. It's cause there's so few of them who are truly successful. I'm starting to see just why they're in such high demand.

Now I'm not beating teachers over the head. In fact, I feel badly for them. They're very much caught between a rock and the school boards (har har). They have very little flexibility if they intend to complete the stated curriculum. However, I can say that some teachers do make more of an effort to appeal to students in their teaching methods. Those teachers think creatively and in turn help their students do the same. I am truly grateful for them as it is that group that can inspire some young adults to look beyond the defined limits of our education system.

Charlie.
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Blogger Will wrote at 5/12/2005 9:13 PM

Well Charlie, if you would like a teacher that makes his students think outside of the box, and teaches WAY outside of the curriculum, I'd like you to meet my teacher, M. Couture. He very rarely teaches out of books, and he is constantly making us think for ourselves, and having us come to our own conclusions. I have certainly learned more this year than any other, and even though I have worked harder than normal (which still isn't very hard) I have been struggling to keep my 90% average, where as in preceding years, I did absolutly no work and got mid to high 90's. I think the three musketeers would really like M. Couture. (plus he had us do a project much resembling Risk)

Sorry for the spelling :)    



Blogger Will wrote at 5/12/2005 9:13 PM

*Correction*

Low to mid 90's    



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