School: the place where we learn reading and writing and arithmetic. Sometimes we need to memorize things. Sometimes we need to do things in a specific way. But we always need to learn how to use all the facts that we’ve accumulated in our head. That’s the point of school, to learn the basics and then expand our knowledge base.

Recently, my daughter gave her an opinion on a subject.  She was told “I don’t like what they’re teaching you at that school.” I shared an anecdote about something my daughter said and the person responded ‘Wow- I can’t believe Mr. C taught them that in class.” And in both cases I responded- “That’s not what she was taught.  Her statement is how she interprets the facts presented before her.”

See, here’s the thing: everything is up for interpretation.

I think somewhere along the line we’ve forgotten what the purpose of school is. Learning has been diluted down to how well someone does on a standardized test. If you fill in the box correctly, if you’ve successfully figured out the rubric, you’ve learned.  You know things if you get a certain score.

And we’ve forgotten that learning isn’t about regurgitating information.  We’ve forgotten that learning is about forming an opinion, taking something to the next level, trying to figure out how to break new ground. Figuring out that there are options and possibilities beyond what’s on the page.

We’ve forgotten that learning is not confined to the classroom. Learning happens all around us, all the time.  Every time you read a blog, you’ve learned something.  Every time you watch something on TV or the internet, talk to someone, walk down the street or drive in your car, you’ve learned something. And you take all those experiences, add them to the facts that are floating around in your head, and you form an opinion, or a hypothesis. Then you make a statement to someone, engage in a discussion.  And hopefully the person will think about what you’ve said, and come up with an intelligent response.  (FYI- an intelligent response is not- I don’t like what they’re teaching you in school)

So, here’s your lesson for the day: Don’t repeat facts that you’ve heard. Form your own opinion.  Think about all the evidence and interpret it any way you see fit.  There isn’t a right opinion or a wrong one: it’s all about how you interpret the flow of information set before you. And remember: the most important thing we learn in school is how to think.


12 thoughts on “What We Learn

  1. School is ambiguous. I get what you’re saying but honestly, the crud my kids are fed in some of their classes makes me cringe.

    So yes, definitely, take hold of your own education. Dig deeper in the things you’re interested in. I tell my kids to do this all the time, with mixed success. They’re prepped to repeat what they learn in school. Dinner discussions around the table are often enlightening to both us parents. Frankly, it feels like they’re indoctrinated more than ‘taught’.

    At the same time, there has never been a better time to learn at will, has there. This too poses issues – the internet is a vast, bottomless pit of information, but for a kid, part of the learning process is not to just interpret what they read, but also form some sort of ‘radar’ to determine if the info is in fact accurate, or legit.

    But your point is well taken. Take in facts but don’t assume just because some ‘authority’ said them makes them the only correct view. Form your own opinion. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s exactly it. Take in the facts, see if they pass the bs test, and form an opinion. Learn if something doesn’t smell right. I really think learning has become repeating back…which is not what it should be

      Liked by 2 people

  2. YES to this post 100%. It’s so incredibly easy to forgot how to think independently because school teaches on “problem solving skills” but it’s on one way avenues— they deduct points from you if you get the same answer but went about it a different way then what had been taught. When I got to college the most liberating thing was realizing my opinion finally mattered but not only that it was my understanding/comprehension that mattered. It makes me angry that they teach for test scores now. Test scores don’t mean a thing— and beyond entrances into colleges, they don’t mean anything else. It’s absurd. Makes me very frustrated because the students who are quicker at memorization are the “good” students but that’s crap. Teach us how to learn and encourage us to explore on our own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! The whole system is flawed, and I think, despite good intentions, we’re making it worse. What happened to having a different view? Or a different way of doing things….

      Liked by 1 person

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