I’m starting a new tradition here, MYRLN Mondays. I have, on occasion, quoted emails from him that I wish I had written. He has agreed, when he’s got something to say, to let me post it here. Always on a Monday.
I have known him for more almost 50 years. He is a friend. He is part of my family. I appreciate his being willing to let me use his thoughts, his words, his passions, to give some variety to this weblog.
So, heeeerre’s MYRLN‘s first Monday:
CAN YOU SAY NUCLEAR?
The greatest real danger to our country is not terrorism, as our current lords and masters would have us believe. The greatest danger is stupidity: the stupidity rampant among those in power and the current and future stupidity promised by the gross failure of our schooling systems.
Why do schools fail so miserably at getting the best out of our kids? Aside from the idiocies imposed from above the actual teaching level, it’s because schools are preoccupied with stuffing things into our kids. And that makes all the difference in the world. The heart of educating someone is not a matter of how much you can stuff in but of how much you can draw out. That’s the root meaning of education: “educe: to draw out.” Getting kids to open up, to find out what their interests and passions are, to learn what angle to use to get them individually excited about learning — those need to be the first steps to education, to “drawing out.” Get there first, and then teaching the subject matter — the reading, writing, ‘rithmetic, and sciences — can begin because you will have learned how best to offer them to each student. And will we then get the nice, uniform results we seem to so passionately crave? Sorry, no. Uniformity isn’t the goal, either.
Each student we open up to their own capabilities, interests, passions, dreams will take their learning in their self-determined direction. They will live their lives in their own manner, using what they’ve learned to achieve that. That’s the ultimate goal of education.
Oh…too hard? Too idealistic? Tough. That’s our job. Learning is the goal, not indoctrination. And unfortunately, the latter is the real objective of the testing-based methodology that forms the basis for what’s called education today. Indoctrination. Let’s make our kids good, subservient cogs in our economic machines. To hell with what interests them, what revs their engines and generates a real thirst for learning, That’s not what we’re after. We need machine parts. And truly-educated people make lousy machine parts. They can think and judge and act independently.
And they can pronounce nuclear.
During English class our teacher announced we would be doing something for Haywire as part of our yr eleven English folio. We were told we had to do a written piece on what it was like living in a small country town. It was fun listening to my class mates ideas, hearing some of their whacky stories of things you could only get away with living in isolation. But this task was also met with much derision and mocking of the town we live in, Orbost.
Bring an elderly couple to Orbost and they will remark on the scenery, or say things such as what a beautiful little town. Talk to adults in the city who by some off chance have been to Orbost (not many have even heard of it) and they will say oh, great little town. Really, no really, you dont know how lucky you are!- Really very lucky, no really.
On an even rarer occasion you will come across a logical, level minded adult who will laugh and say something like hows that working out for you? or I bet that gets boring.
Boring, yes. Depressing, yes. Stimulating? No. Lucky? No.
You think because we are bieng bought up in a place where the sun is shiny and grass grows about the river that cuts through town that we remain untouched by the world? Because were bought up a distance from the city that the teachers can say wait till you get out of Orbost, itll be a shock when you enter the real world? Do they seriously think Orbost is its own magical little planet where everything is sweet and fairy floss fine? Dont they realise were already in the real world? A world were drought ruins families lives. A world where bushfires take homes and loved ones lives. A world where friends are lost to drugs and you have to watch as some of your best mates drop out and become victims. A world where teen pregnancy is too common to count. A world where bieng narrow minded and ignorant seems to deserve a medal. A world where beating and abusing your children is regarded a regular parental right. But no, we breathe fresh air, drink clean water and enjoy Orbosts quaint scenery so all must be okay- until of course we enter the big bad world out there where all the evil and nasty things that none of us could ever possibly imagine will take over our lives. Some of the teachers look at us and make predictions you wont go far, they think. You tell them your goals and aims and they laugh, silly little child, your never going to make it, no, no, no, never. A close friend of mine was leaving school to pursue a job in a different state and was told by a teacher I know your type. This teacher then went on to imply the various ways in which she will fail. How will we ever survive in the real world without our exceptional and supporting teachers boosting us on? Gosh, I wonder. When we move out and move on, taking control of our own lives, how will we succeed with such self belief? My aforementioned friend went on to secure a full time job in the field she was interested in and is also continuing study part tim