School Daze #13: The Hip Way to Learn
|From The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #91 (Dec. 1965)|
This little public service comic book ad was published by the National Social Welfare Assembly.- which sounds like a Commie Socialist organization (so they changed their name in 2005 to the National Human Services Assembly), but it's actually a good non-profit group, representing the Red Cross, Boy and Girl Scouts, and Salvation Army). But their ad certainly leaves room for comment from a 2013 vantage point.
First off, who is this creepy guy eavesdropping on the conversation of these kids? I think it would've been more effective if Superman or Wonder Woman was giving the advice instead of this strange man.
The kids at the soda shop have a dilemma - they're studying their asses off and still flunking. What to do?
The "hip" advice: study in a quiet environment and don't wait till the last day to study for a test. Fair enough.
Here's some more sage advice:
Ask your teacher for help. Gee, thanks.
I'm not knocking the advice - the creepy stranger makes a valid point. However, what troubles me is that almost 50 years later, we still are operating on the same principles. In other words, our educational system hasn't really changed in fifty years. Sure, it's added some whistles and bells, a buzz word here, a Mac Book there... but it's still pretty much the same operating system.
Never mind the fact that we have found that human beings learn in a manner not consistent with this method. Sitting in a classroom for 7 hours every day listening to lectures, then continuing to grind it out at home may not be the best methodology.
Take a quick tip from me, stranger - - the problem is much deeper than this. Stay out of it.
Have we (Americans) even defined the purpose for the educational system in the first place? I mean, is it a focused career track or a path to a well rounded intelligence, or just cognitive growth? If it's a combination, where's the focus? Is it a one size fits all system? Or should there be some sort of track?
We always hear that other countries are leaving America in the dust. Can we learn anything from these countries, or must we continue the same basic path that's been laid out for decades?
It seems to me that every time there's a debate it always sways toward the tired "kids these days" scapegoat, or teacher vilification. I can't help but wonder if the problem is a tad more complex than this.... or perhaps so simple that our bloated and convoluted educational system can't deal with it. Either way, I'd love to see things improve.
As it is, we spend way more on education than anywhere else in the world. How sad is it, that we are consistently ranked near 500 (of 1,000 countries)?
But this isn't a post about how to solve our educational system. That problem is too deep, too entrenched, too effed up to be addressed in a little post like this.
I guess, just seeing this public service message from 1965 made me realize how little things have changed.... which made me a bit sad and disappointed.
I don't know. I'm just waiting for that big change that makes learning exciting again. A big change that actually makes kids want to learn, which inspires them to even greater heights. Within each school there's a potential Nick Tesla or Bill Shakespeare who could bring some sorely needed change the world.... but we just keep on with the same system that we had in '65.... but it's become even more bloated, more confused, and more inefficient over the years.
We've tried to come up with some "solutions" over the years: no failing grades, "no child left behind" (what a joke), year round schools, etc. They've all been either band-aids or made the problem worse.
I'm done with buzz-words and stupid little innovations. While other nations cruise to the finish line, we dawdle around in this confused state.
Should Johnny read Plato's Republic? Or should Johnny concentrate on what gets him that engineering degree down the road? Where does our focus lie? What is our ultimate goal? While we twist and turn with every new fad, prior to college Johnny gets NEITHER - no Plato's Republic and no engineering prep.
It's a real quandary. No Plato's Republic and we cultivate a nation of senseless twats. No engineering prep and we allow other nations to crush our balls; they'll make all the innovations and drive the world's economy while we stand on the sidelines massaging our nuts.
We've got to get serious, dammit.
My parting words are simply this: There needs to be a public debate which results in real change. Not pointless round-tables, but genuine discussion in the public forum that doesn't sound like this...
... which is all we hear nowadays. A cacophony of soundbites getting us nowhere.
The real question is this: Fifty years from now - in 2063, do you see any evidence that our educational system will be improved? I know you want to be optimistic - so do I. But do you see any genuine evidence that gives you confidence?
If not. then it may be time for you (yes YOU) to take steps in that direction. Take a "hip" tip from Mr. Weatherbee - be a part of the positive change.