I find this one redundant after Like, Totally, Dude, but in keeping with the challenge, I have a twist in mind. What do you mean you are surprised?
If you read the foregoing post, you know I have plenty of formal education and an inordinate amount of non-traditional education. Both have influenced how I feel about academics in the present forum. I think there are better ways of accomplishing higher learning.
How many times have you heard Those who cannot, teach.? I have seen plenty of examples which perpetuate this adage. Were I in charge (no snickering in the back) education would be very different. Those with the most aptitude would be the ones teaching the new generations.
An inbred hatred of learning would disappear. Get your knickers out of a knot. Hatred of learning is a learned response, which makes the irony palpable. We are riddled with children who are afraid of learning.
One of the most disturbing exchanges I have ever had was with a kindergarten teacher. She was thrilled to show me the DoE mandated “math board” in her room. More than 40% of its components were inappropriate for the learning level of her pupils. I asked her what was wrong with the board. Her answer?
I hate math. I just have to have the board. They will learn from it.”
No. If you hate it, you will not have it on the right level or explain it to your pupils in a way which they will understand. The frustration leads to a hatred of math the teacher just passed to a classroom full of pupils.
The Internet has poisoned many children against reading anything with more than three sentences in a paragraph. They are conditioned to expect white space. When they open novels of the classical and renaissance periods, they are bored at the lack of zombies and vampires.
Adults argue they will not partake in recreational reading unless it is merely in their comfort zone, and then they will only attempt it if there is not a movie available to release the cognition via visuals. Looking in the classroom is the reason.
Long gone are the days of summer reading lists. Once school is out for summer, learning screeches to a halt. No more novels are required to test the imagination, problem-solving skills and recall of students. The fill in the bubble testing of the reading comprehension gives the chance to those who have learned to play the odds even when they have not understood the material.
Recently, I have interviewed an half dozen young adults from 17 to 24 years old. Despite having children of their own, the six had less than rudimentary understanding of the human reproductive system and were filled with myths about STD.
Only one had any idea of the science behind propulsion, even though they could all drive. While all were iPhone versed, none understood the technology of the wired telephone, calculator, computer or smoke detectors.
Most knew the water cycle, but only one had a vague notion of how potable water was made. None could name more than three recyclable materials each. There was debate about the weather patterns of their hometowns and current locations.
Space was a mystery. They could all identify a Klingon Bird of Prey and an X-wing fighter. They were 0 of 6 for air and spacecraft of the last 50 years. Less than half of them knew Pluto was no longer classed a planet. Fewer understood how there was a difference.
The group as a whole scored less than 30% on contagions, immunology, disease prevention, parasites and the level of care necessary for prescribed injuries. They argued over the proper way to perform the Heimlich and CPR on both adults and children.
This generation houses the future leaders of the world. These “adults” were not all the bottom of the class. The cross section included a salutatorian and two college graduates, which makes this study far scarier than Freddy Krueger. Equally frightening is the knowledge this is not the end of the knowledge dearth.
With a median income of $46,000 per year, these “adults” were in mostly second level or higher jobs with higher than average performance reviews. (The youngest was in an entry level position.) All of them were carrying consumer debt and considered a credit card a necessity and a rite of passage.
None of them felt the need to be saving for college for their children (present or future). For that matter, they did not see much reason to be saving for anything else. The going logic was since they had a mortgage, they just needed to pay the bill.
Although body image was important and more than half visited a gym regularly, none were concerned with the long term effects of their diets, habits or sleep patterns. The majority believed they were statistically low risk for catastrophic illness and were unlikely to die in an MVA.
I realize this question should have focused on my academics. Frankly, I find my academics academic in the absence of academics for the generation who will choose and man my nursing home.
What can we do to educate those who are already out of school? Is there a way to instill better learning habits in children? Do you think giving a child/teenager a classic book can make a difference in the way they view the world?
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The prohibition to politics is not lifted for this post. Thank you for your respect.