“Proper Essays and other school ramblings”

April 17, 2010 2 comments

This was wrote as an English assignment. It was supposed to be an essay about sleepy hollow, but it didn’t turn out that way. I modified it here to make it applicable to a larger group of people, but the point is the same. The original can be found here: Page 1 – http://img251.imageshack.us/img251/1417/pg1y.jpg, Page 2 – http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/7655/pg2x.jpg .

Instead of writing about books I’m completely uninterested in, I write about things that are of better use of my time. This possibly explains my recent poor grades in English, but I don’t care a whole lot about that. I believe the importance of English, and most other school subjects goes way down after about seventh grade. I try to read the stories we’re supposed to in English, however teachers always seem to pick out the books that are a complete opposite of what I’d find interesting. So instead I write about things I find interesting, and exposing the uselessness of many of the things we do in school.

First, I’ll talk about the “proper five paragraph essay” idea. I write in a way that’s standardized enough for people to understand me, but I don’t worry too much about little unimportant details. I believe that gives me more time to add interesting content. No, I wouldn’t say writing “LiK DiS” is a good way to make yourself appear to be capable of rubbing to brain cells together to write something anyone would want to read, however not being allowed to use contractions such as “don’t” is an obvious indicator of how much time is wasted attempting to write “properly”. A slight run on or a misplaced comma isn’t going to ruin an essay, because it really only matters if you’re over-analyzing it. Absolute perfectionism doesn’t belong in communication, so long as your writing is understandable by your target audience.

Second, I never understood why students are not allowed to pick out what books they want to write about, and for that matter, why does it have to be a book? I find the internet to be a better source of information.  You’re always told that you should be yourself and be creative, but creativity involves thinking for yourself, which is something that doesn’t happen much in school, as the inability to choose what you’d like to read shows you. Let’s say, for example, that you read a site about car repair, would it not make more sense to write about that, to see if you absorbed the necessary information, than to write about some book that cannot practically be applied in the future? In fact, I believe many students would be far more interested in writing about something that is, or will be useful to them.

Students often get yelled at for sleeping in class. Why is that? When you think about it, English is mostly a useless class after you’ve learned to communicate well enough for people to understand you, so sleeping is a useful alternative. It gives them the opportunity to be awake when they are doing something that is a more valid use of their time, like learning something that they can apply sometime in life.

I tend to get comments saying that if I would spend as much time on school work as I do on what some teachers tend to think are a waste of my time (but mostly involve learning. Irony.) I would have a 4.0 GPA. This may or may not be true, but it doesn’t make school any less of a waste of time. I, like many kids, will always be considered “lazy” because we’d rather be ourselves and learn something that we find interesting. I’ll leave you with this: “The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.” – Bill Beattie.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Students lazy? How about teachers?

February 5, 2010 1 comment

Students constantly get called lazy because they may be as willing to learn information that isn’t useful to them, but has anyone thought about lazy teachers can be?

An example: Have you ever taken a quiz or test, and you had an answer marked wrong that you were sure was correct? It very well may have been. Teachers tend to use grading keys – even on questions that could have multiple correct answers. Often times, you’ll put down an answer that IS correct, and when you question why it was marked wrong, the teacher will reply, “Because that’s not what we learned in this chapter.” I have to wonder, what’s wrong with that? They learned another solution to a problem, obviously outside of your class. You’d kind of figure that a teacher would be enthusiastic about a student wanting to learn something outside of class. I guess not.

Teachers are just as lazy as students. Has anyone thought about how little skill it honestly takes to be a teacher? Almost every teacher I’ve had teaches everything almost word for word as their teacher’s manual says. You don’t even have to know about the subject you’re teaching. Imagine if brain surgeons used this same method?

Categories: Uncategorized

Pseduo-Creativity in schools is BS.

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you ever noticed how teachers will say something along the lines of “Follow rule A, B, C, D, E, F, 7, and Q” and then have the nerve to say “But be creative”! That’s some grade-A bull right there.

I offer you a definition of creativity:
the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.

When teachers tell you to be creative, they are not in fact telling you to be truly creative. When you’re given rules and guidelines, it’s simply a set standard with a few variables that you’re allowed to change.

Furthermore, true creativity can’t be forced. Most great artwork, great inventions, etc, were created when the creator found some inspiration. “Finish the assignment by Tuesday” is not exactly the best kind of inspiration.

Now if a teacher wants to get a little closer to something that resembles creativity, I offer an assignment idea for English teachers:
Writing about anything you want. Length doesn’t matter so long as it’s reasonable, as quality is better than quantity.
And of course, you should offer a reasonable time to complete the assignment, because ideas don’t come as quickly to some people as they do to others.

As mentioned in my assignment idea above, I don’t understand the obsession English teachers have with setting a minimum and maximum length requirement. Making a minimum requirement won’t make students write better paragraphs, but rather will just make them take their shorter paragraph and stretch it. I find myself doing that pretty often, and I hate it because I may have only needed five sentences to express what I needed to express, but had to stretch it to twelve sentences to fit the requirement. Something irks me about having to put so much filler text in, because filler text makes documents look poorly written.

On the flipside, a maximum sentence limit is just STUPID, plain and simple. The only thing worse than having to stretch five sentences to twelve is trying to squeeze twelve sentences into five. Ripping out possibly important details, possibly having to change the story entirely to get it to fit.. It’s sad.

Well, that’s all I have for you today. Feel free to comment.

-Eli

Categories: Uncategorized

Schooling, Parents, Media, and their harm to curiosity.

January 18, 2010 3 comments

Nearly 100% of all little kids are very curious. They want to know about everything around them. They want to know what things are, what they do, and why they’re needed.

However, it seems by third grade the curiosity is dead. So what happened in that time that closed the kid’s mind? I think there are three major contributors:

First, school. There is a certain basic set of knowledge that every kid needs to know before a certain age, however when they’re forced to learn information that is not interesting, or at the time useful to them, learning becomes more of a painfully boring chore, and closes kid’s minds – even to things that might otherwise interest them.

Second, parents. Parents are almost as bad as school at closing kid’s minds. Too often you see a kid ask a question about something, but the parent either entirely ignores them, or gives them a half-baked answer to shut them up. If parents were to spend more time explaining what things are, what they’re for, and how they work when they’re asked, it’d help kids expand their mind to accept more concepts and ideas.

Third, Media. Media and parents go hand-in-hand at destroying kid’s minds. Instead of spending time with their kids, which provide useful education opportunities, they’d rather pretend their busy and sit them in front of the TV for hours on end. Since their curiosity hasn’t been satisfied by their parents or school, they’ll look to the TV to fulfill that curiosity. Unfortunately, the TV is worse than both school and parents. Instead of learning useful information, they’ll be limited to learning nothing but what the businesses and corporations want them to learn, which is usually nothing more than simple-minded ideas about toys and clothing.

Part two coming soon, where I write more about the solutions to these problems.

Categories: Education