We go to school to learn and we learn in school, but are these concepts as synonymous as we often believe them to be?
I have to say that I disagree with what Mike Wesch said in his video What Baby George Taught Me About Learning. I find his reaction to the teacher’s statement “Some people aren’t cut out for school” to be a bit of an overreaction. I see the statements “Some people aren’t cut out for school” and “Some people aren’t cut out for learning” to have vastly different meanings. As teachers, we can work for days, hours, or even years on end to make our classrooms as inclusive and and accepting of various types of learners, but there will always be students who cannot be satisfied by “classroom learning”.
Although teachers have become more dedicated to implementing various types of instruction to meet the needs of the diverse students who pass through our classrooms, at some point we have to accept that no matter how hard we try there will be some students who just can’t be reached in the higher education environment.
While writing this post a specific relative comes to mind. This relative is intelligent and hard working. He enjoys reading and learning, but doesn’t enjoy school at all. He hardly graduated high school and flunked out of college after his first semester. He has a passion for culinary arts, but even culinary arts classes aren’t enjoyable to him, at least not enjoyable enough for him to fathom staying in college to take them. He would rather learn culinary skills by working at a Bar-B-Q restaurant. Some people simply aren’t stimulated by college courses regardless of how interactive or hands-on the class is or how interested they are in the subject matter.
For people like my relative, higher education simply isn’t suited to their needs. Even the most hands on courses aren’t real enough for them. They need reality to learn. They need to know that what they are doing is resulting in more than a number or letter that signifies their success or lack thereof.
I am suited for school. I have known this to be true for most of my life. I enjoy going to class. I tolerate (and sometimes even enjoy) homework assignments. I appreciate the strict schedules and guidelines. School is what makes sense to me. Although I think of myself as an intelligent human being, I can admit that I am not as suited for learning as I am for school. The things we discuss in my classes don’t always come easily to me. I have to spend more time than others on some assignments and readings in order to grasp concepts (especially the complex ideas we explore in graduate school). I love classes that have practical applications, but I have a feeling if I were to be challenged with a “real-life” scenario in class and were challenged with the exact same scenario in reality, I would perform better in class simply because I would be within my comfort zone.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this video, but I think Suli Breaks makes some amazing points in support of my argument in it.
I strongly believe in the importance of education and I am a huge proponent of catering my classroom to the needs of my students. However, I also believe that some people just aren’t suited for school (which I don’t see as being a bad thing), and I wholeheartedly disagree that being unsuited for school is the same thing as being unsuited for learning.