Some thoughts on education

I worked at the high school again today. I have worked there for 16 months. I sponsor the Gay-Straight Alliance and co-sponsor The Blue Light Journal (school arts and literary magazine). It’s given me a lot to think about. I’ve worked very closely with high schoolers through the Manhattan Experimental Theater Workshop for 5 years, but working at the school gives me a different and larger sample size of what a modern teenager is/has to deal with/lives through. I am saddened by a lot of what I see, but they also give me hope. The current class of 9th graders at MHS has some very compassionate, very smart (though not necessarily book smart) young people in it. I am glad I got to meet them this year, and help them with various problems they had, both computer related and personal.

But these are the questions floating through my head this midnight:

What good does memorizing dates do in a wikipedia world?

Is it more important to make them memorize stuff they will soon forget, or to instill them with a love of learning?

Can everyone enjoy learning? Can most people enjoy learning?

At what point in growing up is a shotgun approach to fields of knowledge not the best solution?

At what point should learning get more tailored to the student’s interests? Is that feasible?

How do your own biases towards learning and reading shape how you feel about education? How do other students’ biases and learning disabilities shape theirs?

What place does standardized testing have in a functional learning environment?

What responsibility does the school have to ensure that the child’s home environment is safe and functional?

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