Saturday, April 29, 2006

Schools are largely responsible for our messy lives

"The one real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions."
- Bishop Mandell Creighton

In most school classrooms, one of the common activities is to have students answer questions posed by the teacher. The rationale is that directed question will allow each students to think through each question, thus working toward the ultimate goal of the lesson.

That goal is usually the accumulation of a collection of facts.

However, many children answer so many questions during their school life that they aren't inclined to pose any of their own. Parents will know how the seemingly endless flow of questions from their kids trickles to nothing once they are in school.

As adults, our most important means of learning and improving ourselves is to ask questions. As very young children, we ask many questions each day so that we can learn about our world. In school we learn to answer questions and not to ask them.

Many adults learn very little because they don't ask questions when they find they don't know enough about a particular subject they encounter.

Do the arithmetic. In its drive to shove as many facts as possible into kids, schools discourage the naturally occurring characteristic they will need as adults by having them answer endless questions instead of asking them.

Educators call this child-centred education, but it's really just the old fashioned bureaucrat centred education we have experienced for the apst 200 years. Children don't get opportunities to ask questions because they are too busy answering them.

And we wonder why there are so many dumb adults who don't want to learn anything new. Now we know. School made them that way. In general, only a tiny percentage of students who go past a college education to get a postgraduate degree ask questions as adults.

The rest plug into television that not only asks questions for them, but answers those questions--in the way they want their viewers to believe should be their way of thinking.

Then they go out and vote. At least the people who don't vote are honest about the fact they don't know enough about the issues to cast their ballot. They are prepared to take what they get.

Their countries go to war. The companies they invest in go bankrupt. They lose their jobs and don't know what to do about getting another one. Their marriages break up because they don't have a firm grasp of what marriage is and how to make it thrive. They adopt addictions as means of giving them temporary relief from the confusion in their chaotic minds.

Schools do that for us.

Want to change that? Encourage others to join our TIA group and we will get education onto the right track.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to get adults to ask the questions they need to learn new things.
Learn more at

No comments: