In the past 40 years, I’ve seen the goal of education shift from education to test prep.
One of my students, evaluating my class, put it this way: “In this class, I learned that knowledge doesn’t have to be boring.”
Knowledge? Boring? This sad state has come to pass because the value of knowledge has been degraded from “what makes life worth living,” to “what makes you bubble in the correct letter on the Scantron.”
The spirit-numbing effect of the test has spread all the way down to kindergarten, where students now must negotiate homework and test stress. Finger painting? If we have time.
One student, explaining why she had a hard time relaxing and having fun in my class wrote, “They just said focus, don’t have fun. You’ll never learn if you’re never taking things seriously. That’s why I always stay serious and aren’t willing to participate because they always told us that there is no point doing fun activities if you don’t learn from them.”
My advice to students: Don’t listen to them. Education should be enjoyed, not endured. Seek the joy in your education; encourage your teachers to do the same.
Bruce Ratcliffe, Fresno