Monday, 25 October 2010

Why Our Education System is Failing Us

How did you do in school?  Top of the class?

Ooops... a sore point perhaps?  Couldn't spell to save your life?  Just too bored by it all to listen?  Well here's a highly intelligent video to tell you why you shouldn't be ashamed of how you measured up in the education system. 

In point of fact, our education system is one of the primary contributing factors to the phenomenal lack of resilience so obvious among the last several generations of North Americans and Westerners in general, and it's contributed in no small measure to the epidemics of shame, guilt and poor self-image in our culture. 

So if you know someone whose kids would rather be doing just about anything than sitting still in the classroom being force fed facts that don't interest them, then pass this wonderful clip on to them... 

As you can pretty much guess by that fact that I have a doctoral degree, I did pretty well in school.. generally.  Well, okay, I made a mess of grade 11 math, but I still like to blame that one on the teacher ;-)  The fact is, though, I was every bit as bored and frustrated as the kids who weren't doing so well.  

For example, I loved science!!  I was totally fascinated with astronomy, nuclear physics, and (being your average boy) anything that would go boom or vaporize material objects!  But alas, the moment the science teachers got hold of us, it was learn this equation, solve this math problem, study this topic that really doesn't interest you that much...  They made the crucial educational mistake of failing to capture our imaginations, to get us hooked.  And it's no small testament to the idiocy of the system that even though we had arrived "pre-hooked" so to speak, they still managed to beat the fascination right out of us.  

The assumption was that if you didn't do so well in a particular subject, you just weren't all that bright.  Of course it's only in the last couple of decades that the mainstream has begun to realize how wrong that assumption is - that there are many types of intelligence and the one the system foisted on us was a very narrow one.  

Christopher would be a case in point.  He was a guy I knew in elementary school, a guy who could just never seem to get better than a "C" on any assignment.  He read below grade level, his math skills were poor and whenever our teachers indulged in the barbaric custom of "rearrange your desks in the classroom according to how well you did in the last test," poor Christopher could always be found at the wrong end.  And he took lots of abuse for it... and it didn't help that he was taller than most other people and awkward too.  But, truth be told, he was a really nice guy and had a great imagination.  He was just born about three decades too soon for his own good.  And hopefully, wherever he is now, he's extracted wisdom from all those needlessly bitter experiences to help his own kids fare better.  

I hope you enjoy the video - perhaps it will help you and yours navigate the mine-infested waters of the dysfunctional system with more success than most of us had.  And please feel free to leave your comments and share your experiences of the education system and how we can contribute to changing it for the better.  

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


  1. This is terrific, Symeon. Makes too much sense for the educationally indoctrinated & NEA adherents who are just in it for the $$s and job security, but will be encouragement and reinforcement for all the home school parents I know. Will send it on to several.

    Thank you!


  2. Our educational system has changed with the times. Teachers who keep up to date don't lower the bar, give open-ended assignments, and allow students to use their own interests to produce products displaying their synthesis of learning. We are aware that there exist multiple intelligences and do our best to incorporate these in our teaching. Great teachers are facilitators and not lecturers. Students should be free to direct the learning within the context of the subject matter. Unfortunately we do have standards to teach or we'll get fired. You made a good point in many areas such as, students are not always ready for certain information simply due to age. Standardized tests can't test creativity,..