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Monday, February 21, 2011

Some thoughts about why we need the school system REVOLUTIONised (from Charlie)

HomeI was lying in bed this morning just thinking about my days at school, which for the most part I tell myself I was happy; I must have been; I had a couple of best friends who were really great and I got on with most of my teachers; my school was a pretty decent as far as schools go; but then I started replaying some memories. One particular memory is my drama teacher shouting at me so much that it brought me to tears, all just because of some coursework that he’d been told I hadn’t done. If he had stopped to let me speak for any point before his explosion of disappointment and anger, I could have saved him the trouble of shouting at me, as I’d done the work anyway; he just hadn’t got the news yet. So there I was walking away shaking and upset and emotionally punished for something that just wasn’t a problem anyway. This sort of authoritative disrespectful behaviour is pretty much encouraged by our education system. To be fair, this rarely happened to me: I usually got on with my work quietly and non-disruptively like the perfect little school boy. Too many kids are too quiet in school; it rewards non-collaboration, silence, obedience, uniformity.
I was then playing back a moment soon after that in a lesson with the same drama teacher; his problem is that he thinks he’s helping us - kind of like Nurse Ratched perhaps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nurse_Ratched) But he's not really a horrible person at all, he's generally a nice bloke and rather friendly to me; he just takes the current educational system too seriously.

In the lesson:
So there are about 10 of us sat in a drama room, yearning to have something creative happening in it, but instead we’re being put through one of our intensive 2-hour essay training sessions; we talk about exams for a bit, then we have to get on with the task and complete three 30 minute essays in the remaining hour and a half (with absolutely no break in between). Doesn’t sound so bad, but just step back and think about what’s happening:
there are 10 brilliantly creative people here, not because they want to write essays, but because they love to perform. But remember this was not a one off; instead of being allowed to practice what we want to try in life: acting and performing and being creative; we are being forced to spend all of our dedicated 3 hours of drama in the whole school week to train in efficient bullshitting of the third kind. These essays aren’t helping us think about anything interesting or useful – they’re just pure Ducking bullshaft, only created because drama had to be seen as an “academic” subject and not “just acting,” which of course is not good enough for the government, I mean training to jump through the hoops to becoming a teacher so you can teach how to become a teacher in teaching this ever spiralling loop of continuous useless vacuous bollocks is obviously more of a fulfilling use of time than actually acting and doing something DUCKING CREATIVE for a change, surely?! Then I imagined myself in that scene again just thinking about the usefulness of the task, but instead of blindly following orders, like I did too often in that school, I would decide, after about 30 minutes in, to stand up, put my pen down and just rip up the first essay that I had written, nice and loudly so everyone could hear what I was doing. Looking at my highly bemused teacher, I would say, “I don’t want to take part in this.”
He gets angry (his only available response) and tells me in a hush voice, “Charlie, continue.”
But I won’t continue today. “No. Look at us. What the DUCK are we doing? It’s weird, it’s not natural, I want to be creative, why are you stopping me be creative? I don’t want to waste my precious time on this beautiful planet taking part in this STUPID roundabout anti-educational game. I’m leaving. I’ll come back when you stop subjecting us to this ridiculous bollocks.” Then I would grab my things, go to a sign printing service and pay them all my (pre-Tory) EMA pocket money to make the biggest banner I can afford with this quote on it:
The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” – Albert Einstein.

I then hang it up at the school entrance the next morning...

I wish I did this.

A small aside: thanks to Michael Gove, I wouldn't even have the power to do this now, even if I wanted to.

Yeah well done, Michael.