Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Caveman Explains Calculus

I was never happy with High School. Sure some kids were mean and it’s an awkward age but that’s not what I’m referring too. How and what they taught made those years of my life a virtual waste of time.

When we were young school teachers were supposed to reveal all those golden nuggets for a life of prosperity. It never quite passed the smell test for me back then and now that I can see through the mature eyes of was a bloody joke.

I’ll bet you can learn what is retained from high school 10 years later in a mere 6 weeks, leaving 202 weeks of utter bullshit behind. Let us agree that if University was not necessary for you to professionalize (doctor/lawyer etc.) then high school should’ve taught us to at least think or stimulated us in some god damned way.

I found teachers less exciting and less enthusiastic then a very old dog around very young children or the guy painting lines on pavement. Where was the drama? The Joie de vivre? The ability to entice and help you wrap your arms around a subject?

Alas they are merely drones doing what drones do ...“Next page and question class”. How tediously boring and inept. How 1800’s.

It isn't helping that a 60 year old teacher stuck in a 30 year rut soaks up seniority based pay while young newly trained teachers languish with the bare minimum.

What is often taught, in my opinion, lacks context and the larger picture. The micro lacks gravitas without the macro. Take how our own solar system is grasped for example. Try to spatially comprehend the scale of the planets based on how we were taught.

You can probably still name those planets as they were drilled into our heads and we’ve certainly seen the models, the mobiles, the dioramas and the illustrations many many countless times, however how well did all of this convey how much space is in space.

If you were to take our sun as a 10 pin bowling ball and scale our solar system accordingly then Mercury Mars and Pluto would be merely pin heads. Venus and Earth would be peppercorns. Uranus and Neptune would be coffee beans while Saturn is an acorn and Jupiter is a walnut.

Now these planetary representations would be spread out in all directions taking up over half a mile! That is to say if you stood at the bowling couldn't see a single planet. Nothing. Not a single peppercorn, nut or pinhead.

The next nearest star is 4.2 light years away. What that translates to in our scale is....the closest sun that planets may orbit is 4000 miles away...Half the width of our actual full size planet. In 4000 miles there is nothing but a single bowling ball, some spice, a couple nuts and three pin heads. That is a lot of nothing and no one ever conveyed this to me in all those years in Science class.

According to TIME we spend 10 times the amount of money taking special care of those with IQ’s under 55 then the same number of kids who have an IQ above 145. This system is set up to coddle the plodding masses while providing little for the lantern bearers.

If little Johnny likes to stick marbles up his nose I think natural selection should take its course to thin out the dufus heard. On the flip side if little Annabelle has an IQ of 170, I think we need to tailor some education for this upstart because she’ll be the one to help mankind find its way and this blunt pedantic instrument we are using isn’t getting the job done.

We should re-examine how we teach kids. The system of education where we sit at desks in a room with 20-40 people and all study the same things and at the same pace, reading the same texts and having in most cases a dim bulb protected by unions running the show. It is anachronistic and we need to do better.

It’s time for a re-think. This system needs an overhaul because there are too many dumb bastards being pumped out right now and far too much precious time being wasted.

See you next week Top of the Food Chain!

-Life is complicated and far from perfect but it is still great

1 comment:

  1. I think you might be getting better as you go....very nice bud. apparently we have to have another round table soon. the last one has inspired 2 great blogs.

    there are teachers who truly care about their craft as something other than a paycheck, but they're surely the minority. I'll never forget the first time I went to work with my old man (I was about 7 at the time and he taught grade 5) and saw his list of classroom rules on the chalk board. rule not to sound too biased, but if more teachers were concerned with the true education, social development, and the FUN the kids were having, who knows....maybe more of them would actually get something out of their education. an education, by the way, that is provided to us basically for free and that we take for granted, like everything else in our fucking spoiled western society. when you consider that some people aroung the world are fighting just to have the RIGHT to an education, it's a shame we piss on that gift by treating it like a chore....students and teachers alike.