Failures of schooling

Anything that's nothing to do with music.
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Failures of schooling

Post by aruffo » Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:38 pm

I've been re-reading John Gatto's books.. there are a couple quotes I want to keep track of before I return the books to the library, so I'll write em here.

From Dumbing Us Down:
Children learn what they live. Put kids in a class and they will live out their lives in an invisible cage, isolated from their chance at community; interrupt kids with bells and horns all the time and they will learn that nothing is important; force them to plead for the natural right to the toilet and they will become liars and toadies; ridicule them and t[hey will retreat from human association; shame tem and they will find a hundred ways to get even. The habits taught in large-scale organizations are deadly.
From The Underground History of American Education:
Here is my recipe for empty children:

- Remove children from the business of the world until time has passed for them to learn how to self-teach.
- Age-grade them so that past and future both are muted and become irrelevant.
- Take all religion out of their lives except the hidden civil religion of appetite, and positive/negative reinforcement schedules.
- Remove all significant functions from home and family life excpt its role as dormitory and casual companionship. Make parents unpaid agents of the State; recruit them into partnerships to monitor the conformity of children to an official agenda.
- Keep children under surveillance every minute from dawn till dusk. Give no private space or time. Fill time with collective activities. Record behavior quantitatively.
- Addict the young to machinery and electronic displays. Teac that these are desirable to recreaction and learning both.
- Use designed games and commercial entertainment to teach preplanned habits, attitudes, and language usage.
- Pair the selling of merchandise with attractive females in their prime childbearing years so that the valences of lovemaking and mothering can be transferred intact to the goods vended.
- Remove as much private ritual as possible from young lives, such as the rituals of food preparation and family dining.
- Keep both parents employed with the business of strangers. Discourage independent livelihoods with low start-up costs. Make labor for others and outside obligations first priority, self-development second.
- Grade, evaluate, and assess childen constantly and publicly. Begin early. Make sure everyone knows his or her rank.
- Honor the highly graded. Keep grading and real-world accomplishment as strictly separate as possible so that a false meritocracy, dependent on the support of authority to continue, is created. Push the most independent kids to the margin; do not tolerate real argument.
- Forbid the efficient transmission of useful knowledge, such as how to build a house, repair a car, make a dress.
- Reward dependency in many forms. Call it "teamwork".
- Establish visually-degraded environments called "schools" and arrange mass movements through these environments at regular intervals. Encourage a level of fluctuating noise (aperiodic negative reinforcement) so that concentration, habits of civil discourse, and intellectual investigation are gradually extinguished from the behavioral repertoire.

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Post by KosciaK » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:29 pm

Sad but true....

I have no idea how it is outside my country but probably not much better.
School doesn't teach you the most important ability - how to learn effectively. As I read books about psychology of perception, learning most of the methods used in schools are not "brain-friendly" at all. All these methods are used not because they are proven to work but because they were used for such a long time and some children were able to learn. But it seems to me that in school you learn not because of the used methods of teaching but despite these methods.

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dumbing us down

Post by Axeman » Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:55 am

As a teacher in a public school I am witness and inadvertently party to most, in the former case and some of (maybe more than I care to admit) in the latter case of the above list. I have had a hard think about the ways kids are educated in schools but have to say that all I can come up with are ideals that will be extremely hard to realize in the current system.
I liked the quote below...

Forbid the efficient transmission of useful knowledge, such as how to build a house, repair a car, make a dress.

I agree that some of the most necessary things in life go untaught in schools as the quote says. Things that have practical application. I was once in a class where the 12yr olds I was teaching could not even make a simple kite.
We are told in teacher training that in order to produce 'thinking' students we must steer away from 'technicist' i.e. practical skills, programmes. Sometimes I wonder if the learning of practical skills is a necessary requirement for more higher functions of the brain. Consider the act of a child learning to walk. The physical action is followed by the corresponding brain development (neurons begin to link up etc).
There is so much to talk about in the passage given Chris. Thanks for the food for thought.

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Post by cjhealey » Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:50 am

The problem with the current education system, as has been said in those quotes, is the lack of education which spans all the 'intellectual geniuses' within us.
Schools teach people in one way only - out of a text book or through formal text and dialogue. The problem with this is that we all learn differently - But the large majority of people remember far more when they are told or shown through general conversation. For the first 8-10 years of their life, this is how they are taught. Then it suddenly changes and we starting using books etc which only suits the minority of learners.

Also, the education system in schools is designed to only cater for a very structured and focused part of what we refer to as intelligence.
It caters for Mathamatics and English. Thats basically it. The whole education system and criteria for intelligence is based on those TWO things...
However those two things are just 2 of 8 forms of intelligence ... gences.htm

Lets face it. Society doesn't see an A+ in music or Art as being equal to an A+ in Physics or Mathamatics. And the testing which determines our overall intellectual position relative to the rest of the state/country/etc only looks at Comprehension, Engish and Mathamatics.
What about the rest of the many forms of intelligence?

Mozart and Beethoven would be considered dumb by Modern IQ standards.

Which leads me to my next problem: We force people, social and legally to be mediocre at many things rather than fantastic at one thing. We say that people MUST attend school AND learn all this stuff, which adds up to 6000+ hours of wasted time developing mediocrity rather than excellence.

Could you imagine how excellent people could be if they worked towards being the best they could possibly be at the things the love most? Imagine how many more Beethovens and Eiensteins we would have had roaming around?

Eienstein himself said how appualing he found the method of education and said how he would skip class and go and teach himself the same material and do far better than anyone else when test time came.

Schooling IS still fullfilling everyone of those listed criteria and it is scary.
And remember the stress people go through when they are told that their future comes down to how well the do in one test which asseses only a very focused criteria. The scary thing is that the student that works his arse of to get A's in english is doing it for nothing because when they don't do so well on that test then the effort they put in to doing well sudenly means squat.

From a very worried and frustrated and annoyed person,

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Post by aruffo » Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:48 am

My knee-jerk reaction was to be deeply skeptical of "multiple intelligences" (maybe just because it sounds faddish... I don't know) but a look at the link you've provided makes me think that it's no less peculiar an idea as my assertion that there are different modes of language which communicate different types of ideas. Language ideas (language), emotional ideas (music), visceral ideas (dance), structural ideas (mathematics)... perhaps there are others which represent different "intelligences" or frames of thought.

I wonder what will happen if I find myself in a position of having to teach in a traditional manner. I have such strong contempt for a system which teaches students how to take tests that I don't know how I'll respond if I'm made complicit in the processing.

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Post by cjhealey » Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:19 am

Just google the term 'multiple intelligences' You should find 100s of links with reputable backgrounds. I just chose a link at random so that you knew i wasn't just making stuff up! lol

It basically is about how people, over the span of their life, have developed in certain areas more than others. Some people have developed a very good mental imagery 'system' and others may have developed more in an area such mathematics etc
The reason it has been split up is because knowing your strengths properly can help you learn faster and more easily.

Chris :-)

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