In previous posts I have been known to bemoan the less than extraordinary output managed by today’s educational systems. Whether they be the formal or informal, academic or the University of Life, it has seemed that perhaps something has gone awry and that we are not preparing the current – or for that matter future – generations as we should…and I use the term ‘we’ loosely to mean society in general.
As far as I can see, there’s something of a dichotomy going on at the moment.
There’s the over-arching drive to get that all-important (and increasingly expensive) university place, although it doesn’t always seem to be pursued as a heart-felt vocational calling but rather as an experience or a rite of passage before entering the ‘big bad world’.
And then there’s a worship of role models who come sans academia – the self-made men made Lords, the single-minded stars of the sporting arena, and those in the pages of the weeklies who seem to be celebrated for…well…being.
So where does education fit in? How do we line up the roles that society has created with an education system at odds with fulfilling them? And what happens to those that fall somewhere in between talent and narcissism?
Just when you thought that this post was turning into another rant on the state of the world, I want to take a pause to share a demonstration of the very mismatch I speak of.
The following is a selection of exam questions and answers provided by one particular student:
Q In which Battle did Napoleon die?
A His last one
Q What is the main reason for divorce?
Q If you threw a red stone into the Blue Sea, what would it become?
A Simply a wet stone
Q If it took eight men 10 hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men?
A No time at all. The wall was already built.
Q How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
A Any way you want because a concrete floor is very hard to crack.
The teacher obviously saw the funny side and noted A+ for creativity…and the student failed the test.
So whether you’ve chuckled at their chutzpah or despaired at their defiance, the question remains: how do we engage this clearly clever mind in contributing something valuable, meaningful, worthwhile to the world at large?
Now just before you race off to ply sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grandkids and/or the neighbours’ offspring with a raft of serious and thought-provoking questions on the matter, in the spirit of true narcissism and self-absorption, I must remind you that there are only 7 sleeps to go until Society’s Celebration of little ol’ moi is upon us. Not many shopping days left peeps…are you ready?