I remember when I was learning the multiplication tables I used recite it. It was like a poem, a lot of words (numbers) that somehow rhymed. Even the teachers taught everyone to sing the multiplication tables. My father stopped me and showed me how the numbers related to each other and the symbols (x and +) caused a change the relation.
2×2 would translate to 2+2
2×3 would translate to 2+2+2
The teachers probably felt that teaching this to 50+ students would be a bit difficult, considering the short attention span of the kids and the amount of time that needs to be invested. Compared to that, teaching the kids to sing multiplication table would be very easy. I would say I was lucky. Unfortunately, kids learn the answers but they won’t learn how they got to that answer.
Over the years, the intelligence of these kids will grow and their ability to learn will be higher. Kids will learn that spoon-feeding is the way they learn things and will continue to do so over the years. The teachers on the other hand will fail to accept that the kids are growing up and need much more complex problems to solve for their intellectual growth. This deadly combination of teachers following a wrong method of educating and children accepting it without question will lead to adults who will expect all their questions answered, without bothering to find it on their own.
There are a few instances from my childhood that I still remember where I could have become a victim of the system. When I was 5 or 6, my teacher told my father that I was asking a lot of questions in class. I remember I felt that it might be a bad thing, but my father was quick to reassure me that it is a good thing. The fact that I still remember that particular incident even now would be one of the reason I use the words why, how, where, when and what a lot more than others. If my father had not reassured me at that time, I probably would have forgotten all about it. I might also have realized that asking question is bad and that would have become a part of my personality.
I guess my friends at school and college accepted that I ask too many questions and never felt it was odd as they were used to it from a younger age. But when I got my first job I was surprised to hear comments from my new friends saying I ask a lot of questions, I have a lot of doubts. In fact, their favorite quite about me was, “I don’t agree”. But my curiosity which was only a flame had become a raging fire by then, and not even a heavy rain could have stopped it from burning. Being considered odd is not flattering, but I was on my way to geekhood that it could not hurt me.
I see people with better education than I ever had who still ask for answers, but never bothering to seek them and that is when I realize that I had failed the educational system, in a good way, but it is still a Pyrrhic victory.
Mark Twin once said, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” In my case, I have never let my schooling interfere with me at all.
I sometimes wish I had used my curiosity to learn what was being taught, but the rebel in me always fought against it which meant I barely scraped though my school which was all I wanted. I envy those who were able to learn what they were supposed to without killing their curiosity. But if I had, I would not have been me.
- Imagine a nation with excellent schools (coopcatalyst.wordpress.com)
What’s wrong with our school education system? (destinationinfinity.org)