A Critique of Modern Education

In this post, I would like to address the education system as a modern institution which does not fare well for its purposes and goals. Every education system has at least one objective in mind. Some commonly known objectives include but are not limited to include :

  • To imbue students with a sense of foundational knowledge as deemed by society for appropriate socialization, contextualization and operation
  • To impassion students with a desire of continued learning and propensity for critical thinking
  • To construct a foundational basis for which students as beings themselves can respond to the problems of daily life and resolve them
  • To promote further desire to contribute to society through the application of knowledge and skills gained, and to further refine them by having an appreciation for if not one or more fields of subjects
  • To teach critical life skills such as working together, communication to one another and learning from one another

However, what I often find, if more than not, is that schools don’t really address such objectives. In this modern day and age, everyone is seeking for a job or a career by whatever means in order to live and survive. This mentality stems from the fact that as a society, we don’t really care about people in general. Whether the lives of others or just people around us, we overlook the consequences that follow from having such a perspective.

We don’t value the skills of people who we take for granted, in which our society highly dependent on. Instead we allow industries such as the financial sector, or high-paying careers to dominate the market, and in effect we undermine the jobs or careers for which should be valued (plumbing, electrical engineering, construction, etc). We pay our money to advertisers who are backed up by research psychologists to take advantage of the population’s irrationality by which money is transferred over, we dump cash out of our wallets in hope that shuffling money is going to make us richer, we bet in advance of what will happen instead of what will be produced in artificially-valued industries (digital advertisements, information companies, etc), we give money to the nearest charity or casino without thinking about the effects of our actions, we only buy products from companies who offer services to which we hear from, etc, etc.

What does this mean? Well for one thing, it means that its not the people who are the most intelligent, the people who are the most brightest, the people who are the most skilled, the people who are the most deserving that are getting the resources to build and create a prosperous society through innovation and invention. Contrast the billion of dollars given out to the pornography industry, the sports industry, the game show contestants, the copyright lobbyists and you will see quickly that our society is degenerating. Instead of paying for things which ought to be of concern, that is, people who build, who construct, who research, who spend every ounce of their effort and time into making and refining our buildings, curing the causes of our self-inflicted diseases, branding us with more efficient and powerful technology, we plunge ourselves into an era of wastefulness and stupidity. We overproduce things here and there, we try to saturate the market as much as we can, we play around with plastic paper and statistical mathematics to “efficiencize” the economy and end up hurting thousands of families in order to profit the few, we give out standardized tests which have no baring on the actual future potential contribution of a human being to society, we dump money where its not needed, we easily get influenced, etc. These are all detrimental factors to our society.

From Grade 1 until Grade 12 we are taught many things, but of which bare no relevance. We do problems here and there, we construct models of equations and solve them ad nausem, we pretend we understand but only fool ourselves in manipulating meaningless symbols, we tell our students to read books only to memorize them and forget them later, we tell students to toy around with words to please the teacher’s ears, we tell students to look at every word in the book, abstract it until completion and then blame them for being bored, we silence them when they socialize and we construct a pseudo-artificial framework for interaction which does not even exist in real life.

The first issue I’d like to address is that schools don’t help students learn. What schools help is students to be smart at ignoring the system itself, students plagiarize, copy and cheat, students memorize the multiple choice done in the other class, students optimize their strategies to adapt to their teacher’s preferences in order to achieve the “best grade”. This “best grade” means nothing in justified effect, one can understand nothing out of something and yet still get such a grade because of their capability to memorize or “cheat” without comprehension. Students often more than not forget everything or most of what they learn in 5 years. We refine them with knowledge, but then they never use it again. They build their skill-sets on artificial dumbed-down problems, students do not come to think from bottom-up, but instead the teachers teach them methods up-downwards, which only help to undermine the student’s understanding of the material. How often are you asked to solve a problem by yourself, with your own skills without the teacher telling you how to do it? How can you possibly derive formulas and its meanings if you’re only told y = this, y = that? Memorize this formula, find the inputs, set the outputs. Are students calculators? No. Students are people. People deal with concepts. Concepts enable modelling. Modeling problems means one can solve them. We gather data. We collect them. After generalizing a case, we solve problems. But this is not what schools do.

Teachers typically develop an apathy for  most students, and most students typically develop an aloofness towards their teachers in school. Is this because the students themselves are incompetent, or are unwilling to learn? Yes. Are there reasons for this? Yes. If you’d expect that people would be willing to cram material into their head, then you are sadly mistaken. Normally, one would find joy in learning something and improving their mastery of skills because they are comfortable with working at a level where they’re capable of aiming higher and higher. Not only that, but there is some real-world effect to their lives, they can do something that they want to do, they can make a difference in reality. But this in not the case in school, students don’t do anything except solve theoretical problems for which has no basis on learning. We create a binary layer, we bifurcate reality from school, we expect students to be able to apply their critical-thinking skills in conjunction with their knowledge, but this never happens because learning is only about what is enough. That material is too advanced for you, you can’t do it because you’re in grade 6, we pamper such people and such students when in effect they should be allowed to learn more. When it comes to grade 11 or grade 12, such students feel overwhelmed, and it is only justified in effect that we are the cause of such problems.

The foundational knowledge that we teach students today, which includes English, a secondary language, mathematics, sciences/social sciences and the arts is not good enough. Debt, finances, bills, responsibilities, authorities, relationships, ideas, thoughts are not often thought of in school. A human side is denied on one hand. We detach people from the reality in which they often are most present in.

We use grading systems to differentiate students, and then separate them into cohorts. Most students normally wouldn’t care what grade they get, but they are told that they should. This is wrong. Why is this wrong? Because grades do not apply in the real world. There should never be a focus on a numerical correlative value or labelling on students. What’s important is that students are learning, not one the product of the results of tests, quizzes, projects and assignments are. Can you speak a language and communicate with one another well? Can you write an article that anyone can understand? Can you create chemical compounds that can do specific things, to solve specific problems? Can you create mathematical equations to model the optimal amount of material needed to construct something and do it? Can you sell products and market them based on your theory of economics? Can you create systems based on your understanding of physics, chemistry and biology? Can you influence people with just your rhetoric? The results of your understanding and the full magnitude or effects of your understanding should be the methodological approach in which we undertake to enable students to self-actualize from learning. This is because students are not detached from the reality in which they live from every day, an arbitrary number means nothing in the real world and it shouldn’t.

Students are hardly known to be able to think things through, that’s because we expect they shouldn’t. How do 15, 16, 17 and 18-year olds in the past 100 years, 200 years, 300 years, 400 years, 500 years make a difference to our understanding of the world? They try, they model, they experiment, they think.

Filling students with terms, technicalities, random problems and assignments do not reinforce our students understanding of the world at which we should most value.

In summary,

  • Grades do not correspond well to the actual objectives of Education
  • Grades promote the Matthew Effect, people who seem to do well, will be motivated to do well and thus do better, and vice versa.
  • Grades only promote students to use “short-term” strategies to “learn” the material and forget it later, instead of learning it for the sake of learning or wanting to learn, and thus demote the aspect of learning
  • Teachers use the over-justification effect of positive and negative reinforcement which decreases the intrisinic motivation of students, this is exemplary with procrastination in assignments
  • The school environment is set up so that students are separated by cohorts, those who could do better wouldn’t be able to due to the limitations of “skipping a grade, or learning more”; trade-off of efficiency for mediocrity, (see : arbitrary creditation for students)
  • Uncontrolled factors such as eating, well-being, specific test questions, remakes, quizzes, percent distribution, participation grades, grade inflation, parental investment, social relationships, the quality of teaching, memory retention means that students don’t all start at the same platform, which means that education is not tailored to specific individuals
  • Students don’t learn from bottom-up (that is what formulas, grammar, etc) is, but rather from the top-bottom which means that students have a limited level of understanding when it comes to changing a question or a problem by one variable, two variables or factors in which their memory-correspondance, or algorithm-based approach makes them unable to answer questions
  • Most questions posed in class are meaningless, trivial or not what real-life people would do in their careers, as a result of net effect, when adults are asked something by their children, they are told that they’ve done it “long time ago”, and if so “what is the meaning of learning things to forget?”
  • Test taking and standardization only promotes the myopic-view of what really matters, why should people be selected against on the basis of which does not determine the actual potential or capability of a person? Why should education cost something? Shouldn’t money used in lesser-needed programs, etc be used to subsidize such costs?
  • The social nature or context is removed for students who work by collaboration, by which only authority is deemed to be the “appropriate” figure at all times to look to; conversely, individuals who work well independently are penalized for not working with others
  • Critical-thinking and application skills are rarely taught in schools, conformity and and universal judgement is often selected for

Universal Inclinations

Mood

Mood2

Over the years, I’ve come to discover several inclinations that people have the greatest capacity for. These are nothing short of undiscovered, or remarkable but it stems to be applicable to nearly every human living on this grand piece of boulder orbiting around a celestial death orb.

All humans have a willingness to be and insist on to be right at all times. No matter the conflict, no matter the degree of triviality, anything of any sort, of any matter, of any deal, of any deed will reside an impervious, impenetrable, impermeable ego to pervade the notion that my worth is equal to my opinion, my worth is that of value to my view.

My need to be, without hesitance, irrespective of what can be entertained, before any consideration of analysis, before any knowledgable entity, is to inform the whole wide world that I am without blame, that I am to be right at all times at all costs, that of which I settle to prove a sense of superiority.

This manifested behavior lies dormant and most prevalently in men, but it is also expressed in women. Seen everywhere, at every angle, from coworkers talking to one another, to forum panels of great bases, to lead directors at meetings, to the common mob man at a dining table. Women are not without exempt, being so as to entice her husband, her boyfriend, her son out of spite as to deem the act itself to be a desire to hurt her in one form or another.

Ignorance can be cured. Arrogance not be needed. Assertion be avoided at all cost. Specificity be championed. Vagueness be damned. Civility be preserved. Respect be earned.

Men have always made nothing of those beyond themselves. There is little to concern, little to waste, little to acknowledge on remote entities who have nil of consequence on matters of my life. The only acknowledgement for when such circumstances exists is when the social appreciative value exists, or at which it becomes a matter of mutual circumstance. Beyond that, the concern for which is equivalence to non-existence has little more than mere worth of a squashed ant.

Men who want everything, but without of cost to themselves. To demand the state of the world to merge, to mirror, to imitate to give rest and peace to those who are loved, to devour those who oppose, to reclaim, to seize, to apprehend that of which one believes to be a property thereof, to scour and foul those below, the undeservingly so, to thrust oneself beyond the gracious heavens beyond comprehensibility as to deem all subordinate to oneself, to unveil the mysteries of the unknown and profit from the lives, to leave the work at bay to the masses, triggered by an impassioned mind of imprisonment, perplexed by the state of phenomena, convenience be foretold, hindered by noneth.

But men who shower themselves with illusory projections of distant unforeseen worlds at the whims of others, to unravel, to knit the foundations of reality as to their own, to shatter, to plunder, to obliterate at amusement, the whims of other not be concerned. Freely, and without breathe, still, silent, ready, agile, point and time, race, tread, run, slaughter, without mercy, without remorse, justified in mind.

I stand at time, whence world between that of past and that of future, filtering discrete units of relative spatial re-orientation, decaying and dying day-in and day-out, triumphing over every mind that exists beyond a hill, assured with completion that consciousness will tick and tock perpetually, with great intonation, with great esteem, I hold to extend my hospitality, and inside, a candle lits, an amber beseeches with great animosity, to hate with all entirety, all tangibility, all hatrence. On borrowed time, dire decisions peel away and fade part one-by-one my humanity, to let the repressed animosity flow, to purge the gates of damnity, insolent and unrelentless, complete vexation.

On Human Rationality

People, psychologists, social scientists, philosophers, the ancients have known that people are prone to making mistakes at all times, innumerable cases of fallacious thinking, appeal to entities without credibility, extensive biases that affect our life and death decisions. To correlate, to relate between two separable identities with a causative relationship, to infer from the deduction of possibilities, to systematically eliminate one-by-one and optimize. Many historical and modern institutions have been known to take advantage of this human quality for which all deem and play on the inability of individuals to project a logical system of framework and keep consistency to it, an innate tendency for fallibility, perhaps a moderability of adaptation that paved our way for existence in the days of cavemen through selective adaptation with the balancing of survival versus long-term planning… either way, casinos, governments, churches, war factories, nations, social states, people of all kinds and sorts are just some of the few examples that which extract and profit from our labour to manifest actions of magnitudes beyond ourselves that of which certain interest groups desire to project onto the local environment, and that is Earth itself.

I stand to oversee every need manifested from social consequences that which thereby confirms existences of itself, as ideal projections construed by various mediums that which inhabit the persona’s mind at every level, from perception, to judgement, to action. Consistency is dissolved for the purpose of gain, matters of non-consequence suddenly become matters of consequence without an acquired readiness… men have always played on men, to make tools of, and thereof resides its essence. It’s inconceivable to pause for even a second in our fast-paced society, where every ideal projection is an enslavement to which we abide to, where every immediate gratification warranted from our limited life span gives rise to greater forms of dissatisfaction, where every successive action detains it rationale to make a proposed rationale that of which if appreciable to the entity itself.

Thoughts on Genetics, Determinism and People

Mood

Recently, I’ve just come across an article on Yahoo! News about two twins coming together after separation. The most notable aspect is the similarities between the two that allowed them to meet one another through the usage of online social media. From my stand point of view, identical twins are people born with the same genes, same proteins, same constructs, same predispositions, but to think that of every action you made is identical to some hypothetical twin, every neuron fired, every relationship made, every movement of action made, it just seems creepy. I have been studying biology for 2 years now and although I believe environmental factors to play an important role in curtailing our behavior, it just seems that we are in fact not in control of what we do.

My view is converging on the notion that our actions are a result of specific biological processes, from everything from enzymes, to coenzymes, cofactors, gene expression, codons, transcription, etc. One minor defect due to a lack of production or autoregulation in effect leads to severe consequences in form, and thus to the greater extent, functionality. It seems as though nothing of act, nothing of will nor of volition exists by its very nature of self but rather the product of simultaneous movements of random particles interacting one another. If this is to the view, or to the extent of which people exist, then what is the matter to which we thereby conform to standards and laws? Nothing is arguable to be fully autonomized, the autonomy that exists is nothing more than an illusion. Our antonymy defies it in every way, the fact is gibbs-free energy demonstrates this. We are an inseparable subset entity of the universe itself. Our systems are not isolated at all.

At this very moment, at this very second, what if a hypothetical twin existed that of which you had no knowledge of? Would his/her thoughts be the same? Would you buy the same cars, dress the same, talk the same, hold the same job positions? This is something that I’ve thought for a while now, 3, 4, 5 years down the line.

A sense of human-ness quality no longer exists in my perspective. From every moment of interaction, from every single relationship of every quark, boson particle, subatomic particle, neutrino, proton, electron, molecule, charge, the moment of seeing a woman and engaging in a release of potential action in a potassium-wired neural network systematically dissecting every anatomical consistency in her face, her presence and existence. No spare body permits itself to deny its very own functionality.

The success of one’s actions, the ability of oneself, the habitude of one, becomes removed from the very nature it ascribes itself to be, a renowned greatness beyond itself, its carefully precluded decision, mastery and artifact, consistency and prowess, nothing but sheer circumstantial factorizations of incalculable systems at work at any point given in time and space.

A self which remains self-sustained, a self that of which is identifiable from its differentiation with respect to each interval, an everchanging yet nonchanging entity. When I gaze upon that smile, that soleness of eyes, I start to think, to compile, to formalize, an abstraction of ultimate extensions, of lines, of dots, of products, of shifts, of permutations, of vectors, nothing of relevance seems to exist in this world. A deceitful nullness, an emptiness that arises out of every action, to have relived a momentary’s respite here and thereafter, to look down a colony of auto-orderinized entities managing its self-management to ad infinitum.

The laws of repulsion and attraction. Such simplistic manifestations, and yet such arbitrary nature. From every plane of existence extending down upwards on scales of infinite magnitudes, hard at work causing state changes of frames of existence itself.

Horseshoe Valley

I took a nice visit to Horseshoe Valley today. My school likes to plan annual events for everyone every year, although I typically decline to participate in formal dances, cadet balls, movie buses, school spirit events, etc. However, this year was an exception. Most of the school went to Kissing Bridge, but I decided to go to Horseshoe Valley instead because of two reasons (i) I was too lazy to bring in my passport. (ii) I prefer travelling with a smaller group.

Anyhow, it was quite a long drive, about 2 hours and a half I’d say. The first hour and a half was spent getting my rental equipment on, finding a locker and trying to pass some “ski tests”. I ended up not doing any and instead I just skied on the green and blue-leveled hills, with my handy dandy friend’s half-ripped blue sticker. Although he stopped skiing with me at noon, just after we had lunch.

It was a pleasantly nice experience, considering that I only had two days of skiing practice in my entire life. I did however lose control on the blue-leveled hills due to the steepness of the hill; swerving with limited success, and so I decided to fall down on the side. It really does suck falling on the side, since you’re like a flattened squirrel on the road limping up. Anyhow, I stood up and continued down the slope. Blue is just slightly out of my league due to my lack of control, however green is a bit too easy.

Anyhow, overall it was a good learning experience for me. Not much to think about.

Well, I did have an asian girl asking me how to stop with an inverted V shape knee-position. She fell quite a few times and I did manage to help her up. Nothing of notability though. 100-second lineups, 25 second to 2 minute downhill skiing. Not bad. Not bad at all. The boots weren’t as uncomfortable as the ones I wore the first time I went skiing. The food was the same as always, junk food. However, there was a lot of elementary kids there and middle-schooled kids.

A photo of humans congregating that are getting endorphins from experiencing no static friction

ISU Proposal

The two works that I will compare/contrast are:

1. Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

2. Title of the second work (author, title): Fahrenheit 451

What is it about your independent novel that intrigues you so far? What is it about the story that drew you to this text? Why are you choosing this book. Write at least one full paragraph.

The most interesting thing that I’ve noticed so far with my independent novel is the initial descriptive paragraph at the beginning of the book; the author paints a concrete image appear in my mind with highly descriptive words. These pictures make me feel as though I am within the novel itself, for example the passage “With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history…” makes me think as though something has already happened. This vivid image of books and houses burning with the sky set ablazen red gives me a sense that this book will be something about censorship, something about overpowering control or a desire for vengeance, or about restricting knowledge and free-thinking.

I’m naturally drawn to this text because I can make inferences along the way as the author keeps me in suspense with imagery and metaphors; a dystopian science-fiction novel usually raises questions about sociopolitical issues that are applicable in today’s modern society by making references to the ongoing changing state of society. These ideas formulate the basis for developing awareness about how these issues might be potentially problematic if we let them be. Certain thematic premises are ubiquitous in dystopian science-fiction novels such as government control, the lack of critical thinking and spawn of unanimous conformity, the issues of technology and privacy, the geopolitical issues of inhabiting other planets, people of different social classes collapsing, the ethics of cloning, resource distribution, catastrophic events, which all reflect on some part of human nature. As far as I can tell, the story of the book drew me in because of the awkward pointers being posed in the dialogue between Guy Montag and Clarisse McClellan. The smell of kerosene and the firemen themselves seem to be the antagonists of society, given that the fireman asks her why she isn’t afraid, and judging from the initial reference at the beginning,e it would seem that firemen burn books and houses. There’s a law against reading books and a law against driving slowly; in addition, drivers tend to overlook the natural scenery. Advertising seems to be a prominent aspect, and the fireman seems to be at unease, or unhappy in one way another. It’s just interesting to be able to try to come up with some kind of idea about what the book is trying to unfold, or tell.

I also chose this book because it is scientific-fiction literature, I am particularly interested in knowing about how possible hypothetical scenarios of future societies will shape our modern world, or is an aspect of criticism toward the modern world.

Write two paragraphs in which you discuss one of the primary themes and/or conflicts of noteworthy comparison between your two works–that is, propose a point of comparison/contrast for both works, and discuss how both might relate to it.  Keep in mind, these are still early formative ideas and may or may not be part of your final project. This should be a fairly well considered response even though your ideas may be in the formative stages!

I think the main thematic premise between the two books is power and control. In the novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s nest, McMurphy attempts to rebel against the preconceived notions that society attempts to emplace on people. The fact that the patients were unable to adapt to the surrounding landscape, had lead them to become segregated from the rest of society. McMurphy fought for the freedom of the patients, that is, he fought against all the authority figures in the Ward who were representative of society’s unwilling attitude to accept such people for the very fact that they were dissimilar.

In parallel, Fahrenheit 451 challenges the embracement of ignorance by society. Books are being burned, houses are being destroyed, people seem to be partaking in dangerous activities without reasoning or cause, proper protocols are being ignored in favour of quick treatments, etc. The protagonist seems to be mirroring McMurphy, but in a different light. He seems to take pleasure in doing his job, but lacks an intrisinic awareness of what he’s doing. He doesn’t feel happy about what’s he doing. The people around him seem to be unquestioning, and he feels unease when the girl confronts him. There seems to be a distantness  in his consciousness when he looks at the mirror, being unsure of who he is. Perhaps Fahrenheit 451 is hinting about the evermore present modern lifestyle (in the futuristic setting), where people are controlled by media, but without questioning. If this is so, he might be one of those people who challenges, like McMurphy, against the people who are responsible, or the society itself for becoming rather so unfond of themselves.