Saturday, March 11, 2006

Teaching forgettable stuff, not teaching what we need

Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women like to be a man's last romance.
- Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

The irony of this quote coming from a man known publicly to be gay has not escaped me. Perhaps his sexual preference allowed him to be more aware of the idiosyncracies of others not like him.

The nature of the message may be a symptom of hypocrisy in our culture, the double standard. We want a mate with knowledge of love and sexual prowess, just not someone who has experienced it with anyone else.

If people cannot learn these things by experience, where can they learn them? The simple truth is that we don't teach these things. Most adults remain ignorant of these important facts of life.

So here's the problem. We suffer as individuals and as communities and societies, but still we refuse to teach what all young people should know before they involve themselves with marriage or another form of partnership.

The big hurdle is not teaching the facts, but getting over our reluctance to do so.

There is nothing shameful about sex, nothing that should be kept secret about how to involve ourselves in successful relationships.

The sooner we get over that, the better. We need to speak up, as individuals and as groups, to tell those responsible for education in our communities and our countries what we need teachers to teach.

We have teachers teaching algebra, geography of distant lands and history of wars that are forgotten shortly after an exam, but we don't teach what people need to know for the whole of their adult lives.

Speak up, my friends. That's what TIA is all about.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help teacher teach what people need, not what some stiff necked old fogies in their ivory towers want children to learn.
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