Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The bad habits of school

If you  look around, you may find the books of John Taylor Gatto.

Gatto is an ex-schoolteacher with 30 years of teaching under the belt, and his thesis can be resumed in

"Compulsory school is really a wage-slave factory and should be disbanded".

Which is not really wrong - creating docile citizens was and still is one of its main purposes.

The man is a bit exaggerated, and may force too much with his examples of persons of success that got educated outside the compulsory school paradigm - problem is, John, if you got the wrong parents, chances is that you non-compulsory education consists in working since age 8, and beatings every time one tries to raise his or her head... only a few, but I've met someone who had that kind of child years, and life hadn't really improved going forward, for them. 

However, it is true that for some things school is really a bad teacher.

In fact, compulsory school mostly teaches conformity above actual education.

One often has to go with what a professor teaches, even when he or she already works in the field on what said professor is supposed to teach, and knows first-hand the teacher is horribly outdated (I had problems with a couple of old profs in high-school, because what they explained - and pretended it was correct - failed to meet my knowledge, either from direct work or from reading the  course's textbook ).

Also it promotes a much too bleak way of seeing life - in many schools, especially the "hard ones" that are supposed to prepare kids better, didactic life is a "win or die" situation.

Oral test after writing test, getting anything above a meagre passing grade is a battle, getting almost unrecoverable failing grades just a matter of a slip.

So, you have to "win" all the tests - it sucks and I'd say it makes students very good candidates for developing anxiety or panic attacks, later on.

Now, if you say "yeah, that's kind of how like life is", then you have made yours that lesson.

Life is - really - a lot more like a lottery, rather than an eternal drill examination.

You have to always take your ticket - and it often  means to work one's ass off, for sure... most "tickets" do not come "cheap"  - but, to win, one just has to get it right once. Really right, maybe, but once. 

And when he doesn't, the loss is incidental, negligible or, even, not really a loss -" my first society went volley-balooney, but I made acquaintance with [x,y,z] and learned how to do [w] which would become fundamental for the success of [s]"  is the kind of phrase that pops up every now and then in literature .

With women, it doesn't matter how many reject you, scorn you,  or even use the stupid social networks to post pictures of you naked.

What matters is to find ONE that loves you and always has your back.

In economic life, it is not that different either.

It doesn't care how many jobs you change, as long as you find one where you are effective - hint: it usually implies that you like it on some levels, because when your competitors are willing to do it 19 hours a day out of passion, just effort and "hard work" is not going to fly that high... they are working harder, just for the fun of it - and it allows you a living.

If you have in you to be an entrepreneur, 2/3 of new societies are dead by their 3rd year.

The world is kept going  by the 1/3 that survives...

Really, the only environment that I recognize it works like school, in modern society - if you are in a war-ravaged area or a failing African state, the rules are different... it's the one wrong bullet that kills - is the internal working of the U.E. as it is now.

Everyone must agree, any new crisis is a "win or die", the capacity for drama is endless - and it is the reason for which it sucks, and should be replaced  by something more integrated and LESS dependent on the whims of the populist ass-holes in each state - of whom the continent's history has more than plenty - that forget that the current union was built on the back of some fifty million dead sacrificed to the "ideal" of European Nation-States.

Something more integrated, like a proper unitary state with one army (and well funded, Russia is where Russia is and Turkey is not any better of a neighbour, when push comes to shove), one foreign ministry etc.

I know, it is much more likely that compulsory school gets a revolution that makes it effective.

But a man needs to have dreams...

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