Home > Uncategorized > Learning to “Get to the Next Level” is Flawed… Learning to Satisfy One’s Curiosity is Not

Learning to “Get to the Next Level” is Flawed… Learning to Satisfy One’s Curiosity is Not

November 27, 2018

Medium blogger Dawson Eliason wrote a post last week with the provocative— but inaccurate– title “How Public School Fails Students“. The title IS clickbait, but it is inaccurate because the post really describes WHY public schools fail children. I have written many posts describing HOW public education fails students by insisting that they be compared to their age cohorts and progressing through a prescribed curriculum that is designed to keep them in lockstep as they accumulate a series of boxes on a checklist. … and Mr. Eliason intimates the HOW public schools fall short of the mark in some of his opening paragraphs. But his real message, WHY public education fails, is found in the penultimate paragraphs of his post:

The problematic mindset that public school instills in students is very damaging to the way students perceive college. Because students believe that they attend high school so they may attend college, so they may get a degree, so they may get a job, they are missing out on the most valuable quality a member of society can have: a desire to learn. The most significant reason to attend university is to build independent learning habits into your mode of work; the experience demands that you develop your own ways to figure things out.When you leave university, you are conditioned to be a curious, independent problem solver. The sort of person that society needs to move forward.

But this doesn’t happen if the student does not carry the desire to learn for the sake of learning.The student must be motivated by his or her own curiosity, not the promise of a high-paying job. If a person’s motivation is external, he or she will not be an effective thinker or problem solver and therefore not as valuable as he or she could be.

I concur with Mr. Eliason’s conclusion that the real purpose of education is to develop a desire to learn for the sake of learning and agree that public education fails miserably in this regard, especially when the “quality” of schools is “measured” by performance on standardized achievement tests. Here’s hoping more people begin questioning the WHY of schooling… for if they do we might move more quickly in the direction of abandoning the metrics that now create the HOW schools operate. 


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