Thursday, March 10, 2011

What's wrong with our system of education?

Reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PhD makes me wonder: What's wrong with our system of education?

According to research discussed in Mindset, focus on grades and the ease and quality of a child's results in school only digs ability into an ever-threatened setpoint that leads to stagnation, limitation, and diminishing motivation whereas praising children for their effort and hard work effectively stimulates love of learning and an ethic of striving toward betterment.

As I read Mindset, I thought about what I remember from my schooling. I was one of those students for whom learning came easy; I listened and read and remembered the answers. School was one long plodding progression of As, and since I got frequent humbling messages about grade point rankings (my art classes counted for less), flaunting of my sister's superior IQ (I never knew my own), and parental admiration of perennially smarter students, there was no incentive for me to work when the 99th percentile was as good as you could get.

Schools never stimulated a love of learning in me; rather, my classes rote-fed me selected facts and disinterested me in anything more. (See Schools teach unintended lessons.) As a "good" student, I never asked more of myself any more than I questioned my instructors for answers outside of the lesson plan. In classes, I figured out what was wanted and regurgitated it appropriately and never saw this as a deficiency of either myself or the system. When we accept what is as the model of how things are supposed to be, the only improvement we seek is better conformity.
I wonder... what you think.

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