School, The Game

posted in Past Goodness, School on Oct 13, 2005

You might have thought this was about a video game based on school, but you’d be wrong (although a School Tycoon does exist).  This is about how school, as far as modern school is concerned, is fundimentally flawed to the point where students don’t feel like learning, and at the worst, they find ways around learning.  Take, for example, Bob.  Bob is a fictitious person, but Bob really sees the flaws in school.  And it’s not so much that school – as a teaching tool – is a bad thing, it’s that most schools cannot compete with the technology that kids are now accustomed to.  How can sitting in a class listening to a professor lecture on this or that compare to the instant gratification of learning the same things online?  That’s not the best example, but the process is hackneyed and trite as of late.  School is, for lack of better words, “boring” to most people.  A lot of the time, there is a gap between the professor and the student, both intellectually and otherwise.  There are some classes, of course, that make things fun for the student and make them want to learn.  These classes disrupt this gap through engaging the mind to want to learn, but these classes barely pull themselves from the rest of the muck that is generally thrown at the student.  The rest of the class types, of which Bob calls “crappy classes,” the antithesis of the “good classes,” make the student find alternatives to studying.  It turns the studying into a chore, a chore that is unimmersive and boring, so much so the student doesn’t do the work.  It makes the student find out how much they can slack and still make good grades, instead of wanting to make the grades in the first place.  It turns into a game.  “What do I have to do (or not do) to get the good grade (score) with the least amount of work?”  In Bob’s case, his ethics class was so boring that he doesn’t even own the books.  And although he likes the teacher and thinks that he is smart, Bob finds that it’s hard to stay awake through the class.  Is that what he’s paying for?  So instead of trying to pay attention, Bob takes his laptop into class and plays poker and downloads podcasts and videos.  This is something Bob could do at home.  What makes matters worse is that he still does the work, without the books, and has just recently taken the mid-term…without the books.  Why is Bob taking this class?  Bob doesn’t know.  In fact, he’s just a husk of a man when he’s in this class, sitting and doing nothing.  So how do we fix this fundemental problem, the problem of boring and useless classes?  Bob doesn’t know, nor does Bob have any good suggestions to fix them other than putting forth the notion of not having to take classes that you don’t want to take.  Bob thinks that would be a good idea.  Bob out.