The Trouble With Schools is, They Always Try to Teach the Wrong Lessons
by, 30th March 2009 at 02:07 AM (483 Views)
Or, everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarden.
So here I am, a mere 11 weeks from having one year of college under my belt, and I find myself asking "What exactly have I learned? What skills have I gained?" And...I find the answer coming up depressingly blank. Now, I know I haven't exactly taken all that many college courses yet, but I'm thinking back to my manditory 12 years of education, and still find that the answer isn't easy to find. To be sure, I appear to have learned a lot. I've always gotten fairly decent grades. I was usually considered the 'smart' one, until one of my other friends came along. But...what have I actually learned?
The difference between a noun and a verb? Check.
How to find the area of a triangle? Check.
The Mongol invasions of Eastern Europe and Asia? Check.
The chemical equation for salt? Check.
How to deal with life?
...Not so much.
Why is that? Education is supposed to turn us into compitent human beings, right? Education is what separates the rich from the poor, the learned from the ignorant. A college degree is arguably the most important piece of paper in one's life.
Humans are inherently social, organized, and hierarchal animals. We need to live in groups, but we also need to classify individuals within those groups, and sort them by importance. We need to have the most important ones lead us, and because we ourselves are not classified in this elite group, we automatically assume that they know what they are doing and will take care of us, so we follow them, sometimes even against our better judgement. An education, especially a college one, is a major factor in these classifications.
But what an education gives us is facts. It's impersonal; it gives you skills, but absolutely no instructions on how you should use them. It does not even give you basic, necessary skills to live life, but skills that are specialized to make you into a 'productive' member of society. But shouldn't such a member of society be able to interact with those around them? Shouldn't a 'productive' member of society be able to create progress intelligently, rather than simply "progress for progress' sake?"
A person with a college degree does not know how to deal with the death of a loved one any more or less than someone who does not. A college degree does not give you the knowledge of what to do when your lover disappears for no reason that they've chosen to tell you, and when you're left wondering whether or not they're even still alive. An education cannot prove or disprove the existance of a god, or pantheon of gods and goddesses. An education does not even teach you how one should interact with others.
Now, make no mistake, I am certainly not condemning education. I just think that education should stop educating and start teaching. An education tells us that a sperm and an egg cell combine, grow, and multiply into a fetus that is eventually born. It tells us about genetics and biology, about the mechanics of all these things. Yet, it does not teach us about life itself. It does not, and I believe, can not teach us the answers to one question: why? An education provides us with the materials to answer the who, the what, then when, the where, and the how...but it never manages to prepare us for answering why.
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