What Does School Really Teach Children?

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2 thoughts on “What Does School Really Teach Children?”

  1. Robert Harrell

    I agree that this is pretty much true. I also view the statements as follows:

    1. Truth comes from authority: utterly false; truth stands irrespective of human authority; repetition of falsehood often causes people to believe a lie, it doesn’t make the lie true.
    2. Intelligence is the ability to remember and repeat: false in that it describes and enshrines only a small part of what intelligence actually is.
    3. Accurate memory and repetition are rewarded: unfortunately, they are the primary things that are rewarded; while accurate memory is helpful, a short pencil is better than a long memory; repetition here is intended in the sense of repeating a teacher’s thoughts back to him/her (i.e. academic regurgitation); this is why education has been defined as a process by which information is transferred from the notebook of the professor to the notebook of the student without ever passing through mind of either.
    4. Non-compliance is punished: this is good only if the rule or law is just; I think we would all agree that non-compliance with the law about not committing murder deserves to be punished; unfortunately, punishment is often used indiscriminately to enforce mindless compliance to rules that are neither fully just nor necessary. (For what it’s worth, I believe in as few rules as possible, but enforce them.)
    5. Conform: intellectually and socially: I agree with Ben, this is not always a bad thing; in schools, though, it usually means conformity within very strict limits, and the consequences of non-conformity are often directed at those who excel in something other than sports.

    I would add a couple more things that the school experience teaches (although these are certainly not intended student learning objectives):

    6. If parents complain loudly and aggressively enough, the administration will back down.

    7. If a student can postpone consequences long enough, there will be none.

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