Saturday, January 19, 2013

Where education fails

I am very doubtful about the value of much of what we accept as education. In science, for example, too much deadening information, not enough regard given to what excites a young person’s interest. I think we’ve got it backwards: enthuse the young with the cutting edge of our enquiries and they will come back for the basics.  

For example, noble prize winner, English scientist, Sir John Gurdon was the first person to clone an animal from a single cell. I mention this because his Biology report from Eton said “I believe he has ideas of becoming a scientist. On his present showing this is quite ridiculous; if he can’t learn simple biological facts he would have no chance of doing the work of a specialist, and it would be a sheer waste of time, both on his part, and of those who have to teach him.” 

Okay, it's only one example but it's a good one. Mind you, there are risks in making any statements as the following school reports/comments demonstrate, 
Charlotte Bronte: “She writes indifferently and knows nothing of grammar.”
WB Yeats: “Only fair. Perhaps better in Latin than in any other subject.”
Albert Einstein: "He will never amount to anything"
Robert Graves: "Well, goodbye, Graves, and remember that your best friend is the wastepaper basket”
And there's another thing, how can education systems miss the potential in the likes of the above?

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