|Summer 1991||REBOUND Volume 2|
Four Questions That Students Must Ask
Here are four questions that every student must ask of his or her teacher before accepting any information from that teacher.
These are questions that should be asked of every teacher by every student over the ages of twelve to fourteen years (roughly.) Every student must be able to obtain satisfactory answers to all four questions otherwise the student can assume that the educator is deliberately wasting the student's time for the educator's own personal gain. These questions represent an act of mental violence against educators who have been engaged in acts of mental violence against children since the introduction of compulsory education.
Students should not accept subject matter that has been taken out of its natural context. Mathematics, for example, should never be taught as a study of isolated numbers and formulas. Mathematics should be taught while building a boat or constructing a house where it is used in its natural context. Educators take subject matter out of its natural context and then expect students to figure out how and where that subject matter will fit into their lives. Students have to try to put the subject matter back into context inside of their own heads. This is done, of course, after students have been taken out of their homes and away from natural physical reality, and have been isolated in classrooms where they have no opportunity to learn how any school subjects fit into a natural context.
Students should not have to take a subject on "faith" They should not have to accept the teacher's conclusion that a given subject will one day be useful to them. For example, high school students who are required to take a chemistry course should not have to figure out in their beads how chemistry will be useful to them someday. Even high school students who want to become physicians some day and who might use chemistry in their lives should study chemistry only in the context of learning how to become a physician. High school students should not have to take courses that are not directly relevant to their life plans. A high school student who wants to become a physician should already be involved in direct patient care in some way. This student should be able to use the chemistry he (or she) is learning and should be able to make a direct link between the chemistry he is learning and his interest in medicine. No high school student should have to take high school chemistry on "faith" and then have to wait seven or more years for the start of medical training before he can find out whether or not the chemistry he took in high school was relevant to him.
In a natural, reality-oriented society, young adults between 15 and 18 years of age should have fearsome and fiery personalities. In this society, where students are forced to learn in circumstances which diminish their sense of themselves through inappropriate, impersonal learning experiences, 15 to 18-year-olds have fearful, aimless, deadened personalities with no sense of who they are in reference to the world.
When educators teach subjects that have been taken out of context and ask students to figure out in their own heads how a subject will be relevant to them, they destroy the natural pathways that children and young adults would use to find their way into various professions and walks of life. Young adults of fourteen years of age should not be wasting their time on subjects that do not directly relate to their life goals. Fourteen, fifteen and sixteen-year-olds are ready to start law school and medical school, and to take up engineering. Do educators think that lawyers will be any more dishonest than they already are if they start their legal training at 14 or 15 years of age instead of waiting until they are 22? Do they think that physicians starting their training at 15 are going to do any worse than physicians who start much later, but who give an incorrect first diagnosis somewhere between 35 and 60 percent of the time? Medicine is a humanitarian service discipline--not a sophisticated financial endeavor best left to those over thirty. Educators think that a mentally and emotionally burnt-out 30-year-old with medical school debts often over $100,000 is going to make a better physician than a 20-year-old who has had more training, more direct experiences and less hassles. While it is true that one might logically expect a 30-year-old to make better decisions than a 20-year-old, this does not seem to be the case among educated adults who have been schooled in the present system. It is always interesting to see how educators treat young men and women like babies (subjecting them to the same rules and regulations as kindergarten students up until they are 18 years old) and then expect those same 18-year-olds to turn instantly into responsible adults on high school graduation day.
It seems that educated 30, 40 and 50-year-olds of all professions are making just as many faux pas as educated 20-year-olds. Furthermore, a physician or lawyer who started his or her training at 15 years of age would have 15 years of experience in his or her chosen profession by the time he or she reached the age of 30. It is hard to believe that a 30-year-old physician who had 15 years of experience would be less competent than a 30-year-old physician who was educated in the current system and had only 3 years of experience. Only in the "yaya" world of educators is this the case. These ideas represent some of the darkest, most ignorant, unenlightened ideas that have ever been established in humanity.
Teachers should not only be able to answer all four of these questions satisfactorily, but they should also have to demonstrate to their students that they are qualified to teach a given course. If, for example, Geraldine Wright is a student at the district high school and the school requires her to take a civics course, then the person teaching the course must know something about government. If the school requires that Geraldine Wright learn about the town government, then the school must provide her with a teacher who has held an elected office and who knows how town government works as a result of his or her own experiences as a town official. If the school requires that Geraldine study the politics of state government, then the school must provide her with someone who knows about state government; someone who has served in the state legislature and knows how that particular state government is run. If the school requires that Geraldine Wright learn how to sew, then they must provide her with an accomplished seamstress and pattern-maker as an instructor. Reading about something from a book does not qualify a person to teach a subject. Having a warm body in each classroom for the purpose of policing students and forcing them to memorize data bits is not enough. Forcing children and young adults to memorize data bits in the presence of unqualified instructors is negligent. Parents should be suing their state governments for this kind of negligence and parents should be demanding that their children be provided with qualified instructors, not just warm bodies who are willing to do classroom police work.
The state should not be allowed to force children and young adults to accept unqualified instructors and to take courses in which they have no interest or which have no direct bearing on their lives. Imagine if you went down to your local theater and paid $7.00 to watch a movie. The movie begins, but early on you discover that you are not interested in this movie right now. But this is a state-run theater and there are laws which say that you must remain in your seat throughout the entire movie. The law says that you cannot talk during the movie, nor are you allowed to leave your seat even to go to the bathroom. If you try to get up, or disrupt the movie in any way, the detention police come down and force you back into your seat, and tell you that you will have to remain an extra hour in detention room after the movie is over.
This is how schools operate. You pay (a large percentage of your state and property tax dollars) to go to school When you discover that what is going on in school is of no value to YOU in YOUR life, and that whit is being presented to you is mindless, boring and ill-conceived, if you protest or resist in any way, you am immediately punished for it. Prying for school and then being forced to stay there against your will is the same thing as having to go down to your basement every day and make yourself a new cross so that the education police can then tie you up on it.
Imagine if every time you went to the movies you were forced to watch the entire film. Imagine if we had state and municipally-run theaters that functioned like schools. You had better not get disinterested in the movie. If you try to leave, you win have to spend an extra hour in detention. If this is your second offense, your punishment will be more severe. Even if you are watching "Halloween II," "The Howling III," "Nightmare On Elm Street Part V" -- you have to watch the whole thing, even if you do not like it and it is making you sick. If you resist, the theater police will force you to stay and you will be punished until you can see "the error of your ways." Watch out for those state and municipally-run theaters. They're murder!
Finally, students should always be taught personal subjects such as reading, writing and mathematics in a personal way. These are subjects that involve a person only with himself or herself. People read alone, they write alone and they solve mathematical problems alone. Reading, writing and mathematics are all very personal experiences which should never be taught in large groups. Geography, on the other hand, is an impersonal subject which is as big as the world and can be taught in large groups. Subjects like geography am so impersonal that they could be taught to groups of 10,000 or more students at a time.
When personal subjects such as reading, writing and mathematics am taught in large groups, students lose something of themselves personally. Young children should be using these personal subjects to establish themselves as individuals in the world. When students are unable to learn personal subjects in a personal way, their natural ability to establish themselves in the world breaks down. In a natural, reality-oriented society, young adults between 15 and 18 years of age should have a strong sense of "I am," and should have fearsome and fiery personalities. In this society, where students are forced to learn in circumstances which diminish their sense of themselves through inappropriate, impersonal learning experiences, 15 to 18-year-olds have fearful aimless, deadened personalities with no sense of who they are in reference to the world.