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« Harmful to minors | Main | The new professional - in education »

Dangerous things school teaches

  1. The people in charge have all the answers
  2. Learning ends when you leave the classroom
  3. The best and brightest follow the rules
  4. What the books say is always true
  5. There is a very clear, single path to success
  6. Behaving yourself is as important as getting good marks
  7. Standardized tests measure your value
  8. Days off are always more fun than sitting in the classroom

Hmmmm. I'd agree with all of these based on my experiences. Go Jessica!

But I'd also add a few...

  1. There is one right answer to every question. At least to every important question. In fact those who can come up with the most right answers will do well in this economy. 
  2. The purpose of your education is make sure you can get a good job. The real value of education is to help make sense of the world, to open your eyes to new points of view, and to help you hone skills that will allow you accomplish tasks you feel are personally important.
  3. The more money you make, the happier you will be. Once you make enough money for the basices, making a difference, not making money, will make you happy.
  4. Heredity is fate. There will always be "the first person in the family to ____________" scenarios. Not enough, but enough to know it's possible. And your school experience does not have to be the same as that of your big brother or sister.
  5. Popularity = success. Listen to Springsteen's "Glory Days". At least three times.
  6. You have to be smart at everything. Good at math and science, but poor at English and social studies. Don't sweat it. Really smart people tend to be smart in the intersection of two fields, say technology and health. Focus on your passions.
  7. Classwork is more valuable than extracurricular activities or a parttime job. There is still too much learning for the sake of doing better at the next high level of education. You'll learn life's best lessons on the basketball court or your first paying job.
  8. You should like every teacher you have. This is impossible. You should learn how to work with every teacher, however, since one day you'll need to learn to work lots of people.
  9. Objectivity trumps passion. It's the Captain Kirks, not the Mr. Spocks, that discover new worlds.


What dangerous things were you taught in school?

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References (1)

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  • Response
    However, this morning Doug jumped in and added many of those I was considering so instead of repeating them here, go read his thoughts.

Reader Comments (5)

I would like to know the genesis of #6 in the top list...

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Spicher

Hi Doug,
I would add just a bit to your #4. And your school experience does not have to be the same as that of your big brother or sister, or parents. I have too many parents that don't like it if their students are not learning math the way they did.

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Hi Tim,

Good post on AssortedStuff. I always enjoy reading your thoughts even when I don't get the time to comment.

And as I say - great minds think alike!


Hi Doug,

Good behavior in school = good behavior as an employee, don't you think. School's charge has been to create compliant workers after all!


Hi Paul,

Good point. (We have the same issue here.) Every parent having once been a student sees themselves as an expert on education.

Take care,


May 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

After reading this i realized two things...
(1) I am guilty as a teacher of teaching some of these - looks like I need to change
(2) I was once a student and was taught these things! It is interesting to look at this list as a current teacher and former student.

If there was one I could erase from all students minds it would be your #1...

BTW - two weeks until summer!

May 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKenn Gorman

Hi Kenn,

I was taught (and taught myself) many of these things. At the heart of many of them are means of controlling students through fear, I think. Maybe opportunity rather than dread would be a better motivator!

Hang in there - summer's coming.


Doug Spicer responds:

I suppose it depends what you mean by "good behavior". I do not want kids breaking things in a classroom with intent, or disrupting the concentration/ability to learn of others. However, I also want curiosity and inquiry from my kids. I also want kids who question and challenge traditional thought. I like to think that is what a good employee does as well.

Hi Doug,

Point well taken. There will always be a need for "good behavior" when one's actions may impact others. Thanks for the reminder.


May 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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