28 May 2008

Education Quotes

Courtesy of My Wonderful Friend, The Picky Grammar Lady (TPGL, for short), a series of quotes about education:

"A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education." (George Bernard Shaw)

"College isn't the place to go for ideas." (Helen Keller)

"Bachelor's degrees make pretty good placemats if you get 'em laminated." (Jeph Jacques)

"A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students." (John Ciardi)

"Education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of prejudices." (Laurence J. Peter)

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." (Mark Twain)

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten." (B.F. Skinner)

Nice selection, with a strong emphasis on the idea that college is not the end-all and be-all We tend to think it is. (Lest you wonder, TPGL graduated summa cum laude.) The problem, blamed here at colleges and universities, is actually shared by schools at all levels and that is based on the silly notion that "learning" is "school-based." In other words, that schools are the centers of learning in Our lives.


At a generous estimate, I think I learned about 20-25% of all I know from being in a classroom. My gut feeling is that 10-15% would be more accurate. If objectively measured, it could actually be less.

I'm far from average in that I read constantly (the average American reads one book a year; I'm averaging 128 a year), skim through 3.7 magazines a month (I go through over 90, most of them biz-tech) and I read 40-50 articles a week off the Web. (Yes, I spend a lot of time alone. Surprised?) The "Great Teacher" for most people is TV; for Me it's a sports channel, with an occasional side of comedy. (TPGL watches no TV and grew up without one. That she lived in Louisiana has no bearing on that fact. I think.)

Concomitant to that silly notion of "school-centric learning" is the sillier notion that educators know what's best for Us to learn. (Hold on...I'm practically wetting Myself with laughter...) Teachers have as much a grasp on education for life as psychologists have on sanity, with both professions coming together like frogs and locusts as plagues upon Our learning potential. Learning for life--the true reason one needs "education"--cannot be in the hands of people who see a restricted time span or thought process limits: Learning happens at all times and in an infinite variety of ways. Saying it belongs in "school years" and in "approved intellectual methods" is condemning the process to needless interruptions and obstacles and thus to widespread failure.

Is it a coincidence that the rise of "psychological" influence in education has turned the whole system into a cesspool of failure? Nuh-uh. It's simply the natural consequence of the unbalanced leading the unqualified.

So, Jenius, who should be in charge of education? Look up at Mark Twain's quote. Each of Us should be in charge of Our own learning, with the knowledge that Our educators will be parents, teachers, neighbors, coaches, clergy, clerks, tellers, and yes, the whole damn village. And with the world being a global village, the whole world teaches each of Us, every day of Our lives

If  We choose to learn.

What the educational system needs to do now is teach Us to understand how We learn and provide Us the tools to determine what Our best learning options are, including the tools to analyze and weigh learning sources. The educational system has been saying that for decades, but it's been doing the opposite, marginalizing the learners in ever-narrowing labels while centering ever-greater influence on the frogs and locusts. They're ravaging Our present and Our future.

Enough is enough.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

P.S.   If you thought I'd end this post with "Let My people go!", you're sadly mistaken.

P.P.S.  From TPGL herself:

TPGL's family did have a TV when she was growing up- it was just black & white and only received one station clearly (TPGL was in high school before she knew that NBC's peacock had a multi-colored tail...).

TPGL's current household doesn't miss TV - although Verizon calls regularly to offer its many cable options. TPGL doesn't miss the endless pharmaceutical commercials for ills she doesn't have, the endless food commercials for processed stuff she doesn't consider "food" and the endless toy commercials for things she doesn't plan to buy for her 8-year-old...

And for the record- TPGL's father was the principal of an elementary school and taught at both elementary and junior high levels in the public school system for 26 years. Education and learning (not just "school") were priorities in the household.


The Insider said...

Many teachers are those who desire a career that offers 2 months vacation, instead of 1 week within their very first year... and are not among those good enough to earn room & board as writers, artists, or Amway salespersons.

Gil - you mentioned a lot of "tools"? What are they? You're not going to leave it up to the frogs and locusts to design or divine them are you?

KW said...

Pifflegab? Another good education post, thanks Gil. And maybe you should consider joining a chess club or something, you spend "WAY" too much time alone. :-D

GCSchmidt said...

Yes, The Jenius is lonely, lonely atop His intellectual aerie...