Mar 17, 2011

Work Harder to Get Smarter

I received a phone call today from a relative whose child is in 2nd grade at a local public school. She has become increasingly frustrated with the child's teacher and needed to vent to someone who might help her not feel so crazy.
In an email from the teacher she expressed concern for the aforementioned child, that he wasn't working to his potential and wasn't embracing the class motto of "Work Harder to Get Smarter."
I try very hard to not bad mouth the public education system, as I don't want to offend anyone who feels that they "can't" home educate their children for whatever the reason. However, I am getting to the point where I feel like I need to come out and say, "It is wrong! It is screwed up! It CAN'T be fixed!"
To drill into 7 year olds that learning is "hard work" is WRONG! It is wrong on some many levels!
For most people, if they are truly learning something it will come rather easily to them. Generally speaking you know the most about things that you like and that interest you. When you are forced to take tests on something that you don't like or aren't interested in then yes it does become work and you need to work harder to retain the information - this does NOT mean that you are SMARTER. It also does not mean that you "learned" anything. It means that you worked really hard to remember the information long enough to take the test and get a good score. Will you remember the information next year - probably not! You probably won't even be lucky enough to remember it next week.
When second graders are being forced into working harder so that they can make the grade and the teacher's get their raises, there IS a SERIOUS problem! The schools are producing incredibly gifted test takers who are taught to retain the information, take the test and then dump the files.

Learning should be fun! 
Learning should be enjoyable! 
Learning should be EASY! 

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