Edukashun — 11 Comments

  1. As I have said before at copious length my school daze were marred, nay blighted, by not only horrific bullying but rampant GENDER DISCRIMINATION ! I should sue, I really should. Just because I have a ‘Y’ chromosome and an IQ above that of your average Norfolk village, I was DENIED the chance to learn typing and shorthand! How backward and repressive was that? You’re shocked I’m sure but it really was a different world back then when we only had 2 genders. I should have protested at the time but, seriously, who would have believed in 1979 that anyone other than *disdainful tone* girls and *even greater disdainful tone* journalists would need “keyboard skills”? Those two subjects would have kept me in fags and beer and maybe even bread and butter throughout my adult life. Boys did woodwork and metalwork, girls did sewing and typing. I should count myself lucky i suppose that we did get to take ‘home economics’ (ie cookery) because our headmaster prided himself on his modern approach to his charges’ education. But I’d already learnt to cook on the tightest of budgets because MOTHER Dearest, who’d also read her Spock and been to teacher training college, insisted all her boys be able to cook and do housewifey stuff.

    But most of all I wish they had taught us how to learn. I’m a bit opposite from Grandad, I’d have flourished under a good old fashioned chanting rote system, instead of the ‘modern’ textbooks and teaching methods we had to suffer. I shall be able to recite the French verb endings on my death bed and should I ever be required to inform someone of the full list of German genitive prepositions I shall not be found wanting.

    • You were lucky!  There was no such discrimination in our school – all boys [and a gay teacher or two].  We were taught up to the age of 17 that the female of the species was evil, wicked and to be avoided at all costs.  Women were only put on earth as “an occasion of sin” and to trap unwary males.  I even got hauled up before the Head once because I had been seen “cavourting with a female” in a nearby village.  Sadly it wasn’t me but it did my reputation no harm.

        • Me I did (well my actual body/washed out corpse attended some of the classes) RSA 1 Word Processing with BBC Micros and Word Star….oh yes…our 6th form was cutting bleeding edge. Unfortunately by that time I also had also discovered Merrydown Cider (lots), heavy drugs (lots and lots), tobacco (industrial quantities) and unprotected sex (a gentleman never tells)  so my attention span was somewhat………limited? 
          Mind you , i have gotten my revenge on the gender facists of my Secondary *snork* ‘Modern’ school. I am now teaching myself a German shorthand so obscure that there are only about 3 videos covering it on Youtube.  They can keep there Pitts and Greggs, their Teeline  I’m a going straight to the hard core stuff. 

  2. Blocked Dwarf hits the nail firmly on the head in Para 2 – the function of schooling is not to teach you stuff, but to teach you how to learn, then you’ve got the rest of your life to put those learning techniques to productive use. Trouble is, most of the teaching establishment doesn’t understand that, so they focus on forcing stuff into kids rather than skills.

    That said, I was compelled to learn Latin for 5 years, which I regarded as a complete waste of my teenage years – it’s so ingrained that I can still tell whether a noun is nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive, dative or ablative, although I’ve never found a productive use for that particular circus skill. But exposure to Latin means I can usually make a good fist of translating many European languages, even those I never formally learned, as they all share the same Latin root – also professions like medicine and the law cannot hide behind their jargon if you know enough Latin. Was it worth 5 years, probably not, on balance I’d rather have been reading Penthouse.

    • on balance I’d rather have been reading Penthouse.
      *forsees a gap in the market* …although there are no doubt websites that cater already to those who like their porn correctly declensed and their conjugal conjugations too…in Latin. Gives a whole new horrible meaning to  ‘veni’ .

    • Sadly the one thing we were never allowed was to do our own research or even how to learn.  The whole system seemed to be geared towards learning the entire exam syllabus off by heart, even down to learning essays that might crop up.  None of us would ever dare to question anything as it invariaby involved half a dozen belts of “the leather”.

    • My most educational experiences were when I was in college [outside of the lectures, of course].  Booze, cards, women, dope but not necessarily in that order.  Those were the days!

  3. Grandad,
    I think you are absolutely right: school should teach us how to learn. Like you most of what I was taught in school, college and graduate school has really served no purpose in my life and has not directly applied to my subsequent occupations.

    One of the best undergraduate courses I ever took was Political Science taught by our college President who had served on a former US President’s staff. He said that we would not remember about 99% of what we were taught in school, but that true education should teach us to make a sound argument and stand on our beliefs while also allowing for us to continue to search for the truth and be willing to change our viewpoints when confronted with sound proof.

    Like you, I’ve been a bookworm all of my life, and most of my true learning experiences have not taken place in the classroom.

    Schools should teach us true life skills, like how to manage our finances, balance a checkbook, communicate effectively with others in both professional and personal settings. They should help us to develop true intelligence and skills that not only help us to get a job/career, but to actually succeed in the workplace and in our personal lives. The problem is the politicians/government overseers do not have those skills, either, and would much prefer for us to follow them blindly rather than making intelligent choices for ourselves.

  4. Schools don’t teach you how to learn, but they do teach you how to absorb knowledge. Of course if you find it interesting it is much easier to absorb and retain. It was only at university where we were taught how to learn for ourselves. However, there were distractions but these could be resisted until 21.00.
    Latin: I enjoyed learning Latin and it is useful, especially when I am chatting to fellow healthcare professionals, including vets plus pub quizzes to help with certain phobias. The smattering of Greek comes in useful for that plus it is a great language to swear in. There are no silent pees in Greek, only in English when some Greek words are used like pneumothorax, pteradactyl, pteranodon etc. The one exception is ptarmigan as it ain’t from the Greek but the Scots Gaelic and mispronounced. I did use algebra once in a pub quiz. Got the answer right. Otherwise simple arithmetic usually suffices. You know old Einstein said ‘never commit to memory anything you can look up.’ My first question in a viva voce (very important oral exam for a doctorate) was “write down the Nernst equation.” My protestations about Einstein cut no ice, but I had enough thinking time to dredge it up. Three hours later and I passed as long as I corrected the spellings of reservoir which was resevoir all the way through. Large glass jar with bung and tubes attached wasn’t good enough. This was typed by the departmental secretary and had to have the correct spelling inserted. I met the woman who was to become my wife the next year. One of her comments was “I would have typed your thesis for free if I had known you then”. I was crushed.

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