Seems like our culture/society has a warped philosophy when it comes to education that each of us can 'be all things to all people'. But we can't.
And so, I have oft contemplated another approach. And that approach was first broached to me by one of my elementary school teachers. What he said is that Russia's school system is so unlike our own. In Russia, he said, rather than forcing a child gifted in Math and bored to tears by Literature to pursue both, such children are allowed to forge ahead in Math, and leave Language Arts behind. Perhaps this was fiction – I have never investigated it to see if it was so.
Still, I do remember thinking, “How enviable the approach to learning that allows students to sidestep all that memorization of irrelevant stuff. Stuff like the time spans of various Wars, the winners and losers, and the names of long dead Presidents and Prime Ministers, and the years of colonization and discovery of so many places and things. Without all that I could really ace the rest of my studies.”
But how can that happen within an education system that tries to force every student to ‘be all things to all people’? Or within a system that for me created such a drain-brain, that I couldn't focus properly on any one discipline?
History was bad enough, but then there was the Science stuff that made for an even greater brain drain. The memorization of Chemical symbols and properties and how positive ions react with negative ions, etc. And the considerable brain drain caused by the puzzling situations I had to resolve through the complexity of the Laws of Physics. And don't even get me started on the most irrelevant of all - the biological mysteries of amoebae and other one-celled thingies and their uncanny ability to skip gender issues by physically contorting their bodies into self-impregnating acts. And I have to pity kids nowadays because added to that is all the memory and recall needed to learn both English and French and manage all the new technology.
We think of 'brain drain' as being the migration of our great minds to another continent or country. Is this not the same?
The coercive and forced migration of individuals’ very personal and somewhat limited brain cells into receptacles for meaningless junk. Obviously the measure of data that impacted on whether I passed or failed each progressive step in school created a serious brain drain. I was handed a volume of stuff to learn and memorize that was beyond the bounds of reason.
In fact, one time in discussing the content of a correspondence course I signed up for, the Instructor told me the assigned reading was impossible to do in the allotted time. So he suggested I keep in touch with him so he could define what was pertinent. Hey, everyone, hold on a minute here. If there is more than a student can hope to read during the allotted time, then this course is broken. It needs to be fixed. It isn't working the way it is supposed to.
But all that aside, it was this encroachment of too much stuff on my hard drive that drove me to hurry up and finish school so I could get the hell outta' there. Too much of my brain was being drained into irrelevance for me to happily pursue with unimpeded passion those things that really interested me. The things I could have aced well enough to walk away with one or two prestigious awards without even blinking.
So if my education had not been a series of commandeered courses, so many irrelevant to my passions, where would I be today if it had been up to me? I'd be known worldwide as the "Foremother of Nifty Handwriting" and the Governor General Award-Recipient for the new Literary Genre of “Wild Fact and Windblown Fiction", plus other honorable mentions.
And I would not just be ‘Roberta’ I would be "The Roberta" and my Blog would be influential and spellbinding.
I might not know you, but you would know me.