School is bad for children

Seventeen years of reading, cramming, listening and studying. One for kindergarten, six for middle school and another six for high school, plus the dreaded four years in college, all these seventeen years to get a degree and work for a living. Going to school to attend classes, submit homework and projects, and to take examinations have become a part of our culture and tradition. It is deeply embedded in our laws and in our minds. We all have come to believe that without school, we are nothing.

We are nothing especially when compared to those who have dedicated 17 years of their lives, money, time and effort in schooling. However, it is not what it seems to be anymore. A place for learning and for growing is being questioned. There have been studies that resulted in concepts that have not been considered when the idea of a school for everybody and everyone was put up. The implications of these have resulted in the skepticism of the current education system, whether or not it caters to everybody or if it still upholds the quality of education that they promised to give.

In the essays by John Holt, David Miller Sadker and Myra Pollack Sadker, and Ji-Yeon Mary Yuhfill, several key points were noted that direct to the same issue, schooling has to be changed. These authors were able to identify various reasons that could be grounds for changing the current educational system. As of the moment, all children are required by law to go to school, at least up until high school. College, on the other, is an option that only people who can afford to pay for the tuition fee take. For the rest, high school suffices enough to get them jobs to earn money for providing themselves with the basic necessities.

However, John Holt believes that going to school is actually a hindrance for a growing child to become the person that he is supposed to be, David Miller Sadker and Myra Pollack Sadker thinks that the current way of evaluating one’s intelligence is not accurate because of the identified multiple intelligences, and Ji-Yeon Mary Yuhfill found out that what is being taught in the four walls of the classroom is not true to the factual occurrences in history. These three authors are not exactly talking about one thing but they are all on the same page.

John Holt’s essay entitled, “School is bad for children,” talks about learning outside school and compares it to learning inside it. he describes how a child, before entering the school premises, was an explorer and a creative individual who is not scared of trying different things. The independence of learning all by one’s self has become the tool in the growth and development of a child from birth to just before entering school. He asserted that the infant did not really need a teacher in learning something that he thinks is inexistent, language. He was able to manipulate this language, learn it and use it, without the aid of a classroom.

He had in him characteristics such as perseverance, patience and determination that he developed by trying out new things, when he explores his environment. None of these he can do inside a school. Holt reasons out that in school, students are taught to be submissive and to be controlled by an environment that is not conducive to learning. Hence, all of the characteristics that he once possessed were kept inside him and he was not allowed to use it when needed. For example, in the real world, the child can make mistakes. He can run very fast and he could stumble and have his skin scraped.

Nevertheless, he will stand up and learn the lesson that he should not do that again when the ground is not leveled enough because he is going to have bruises, which is very unpleasant. However, when in school, he is not allowed to run fast. Holt translates this analogy into believing that a child should be allowed to make mistakes and learn the right answers on their own. Then again, in school, one is not allowed to make mistakes, teachers only ask for the right answers, so do examinations. Human interaction is also made insignificant in school. However, this is a very important lifelong ability that we should not dare pass up to learn.

Holt emphasizes how the school disallows talking to classmates and playing with them while inside the school premises. This poses a very big problem to learning and developing socializing skills. In David Miller Sadker and Myra Pollack Sadker’s essay, they discuss the importance of the multiple intelligences and the emotional intelligence factor. Eight intelligences have been identified, which are the logical-mathematical intelligence, the linguistic intelligence, the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, the musical, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligence.

Each of these intelligences represent an ability or a set of abilities that manifests as skills and interests that an individual posses and it does not really have to be in the academic field. For example, dancing, painting, singing, and even interacting with other people are considered to be a form of intelligence. However, in schools and in the existing educational curriculum, only the IQ or the intelligence quotient is what seems to be of utmost importance. A student’s ability is rated through the grades and examination performance.

The other intelligences do not even make it to the report card; they are only electives in some schools, while in others they are just clubs. The multiple intelligences also tell us that every person is unique and it will stand out in their areas of specialty or their forte. One should not be forced to do something that they have almost no affinity to because they excel in the opposite of that task. Another important discovery made is the emotional intelligence factor and how its determination at an early age was a predictor of the child’s success in the later years of life.

Basically, the argument that they presented in the essay is that there is no one test to measure the range of abilities and skills that a student possesses. This is a problem because the current system utilized in schools may become a hindrance for developing the other aspects of intelligence of the students. The essay by Ji-Yeon Mary Yuhfill talked about how she felt cheated because of the historical inaccuracies that she learned in school and how knowing the truth could change one’s life forever.

She stated that what she learned in school is that the United States of America was all about how the white skinned people were able to conquer and start a nation so great on their own. However, she learned in her own research later on that this was not the case. She learned that so many other cultures existed during the coming of America as one nation, and that these other people of different ethnicity were of help that time and without them, America will never be the same.

These three essays focused on different issues and concepts, but they all arrived on the same conclusion, change is needed in the educational system. Holt presents five solutions that he believes can help our students in becoming more like the person that they should have become right from the start. He suggests that the compulsory school attendance should be banned or there should be a higher number of absences to be allowed. It has become so hard to keep children in school in the first place, and it costs the government more money now keeping kids in school because they do not want to be there.

He also mentioned that out of classroom learning should be implemented. This is because much of the real learning for the real world happens outside of school. He also wants that children learn from other children, and that children judge their own work. This is very much needed especially when interacting with others and in trying to create standards for one’s self. In doing so, children are able to share ideas, learn from the other child’s perspective, and learn from their own mistakes. Lastly, he proposes to eradicate the fixed and required curriculum.

This proposal may coincide to David Miller Sadker and Myra Pollack Sadker’s case in point, the multiple intelligences. Holt says that there is no point in making children study what they are not interested in or what they do not excel in. each person has their own type of intelligence, and so this is why a standardized measurement of intelligence will not suffice. Albeit indirectly implied, there has to be a new system wherein the personal intelligences of each student can be quantified. David Miller Sadker and Myra Pollack Sadker mentioned the portfolio approach.

It is described as a more comprehensive assessment that includes student artifacts such as papers, projects, videotapes, and exhibits, which offer tangible examples of student learning. It does not have to be just a report card anymore. Moreover, learning does not have to be all about the good stuff. It was suggested in Ji-Yeon Mary Yuhfill’s essay that both the good and the bad aspects of history should be taught in school and let the children decide. A multicultural curriculum will not only make the children develop critical thinking, it will also help them develop the skills that can assist in the improvement of their country.

I personally believe in change. It is inevitable and it is the only constant thing in the world. If we want to improve things and learn from mistakes, we should start it with the children. Not only because they are the future leaders of our country, but because we want them to become the best person that they could possibly be, the best pianist, the best mathematician, the best doctor, the best chef. We have to let them fall down and make mistakes, because this is the only way they could learn.

We have to allow them to flourish in the things that they are passionate about, because it is the only way that they can develop their talents and skills. We have to believe in them, whether or not they believe in themselves, because they would need all our love and support as they struggle to find their true identities. It is not a question of whether or not school is the best for children; it is whether or not we can accept the changes that should be implemented in these institutions. And if we want a better future for everyone, we should.

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