School is supposed to be a place where students learn things, or so that is what they want us to believe. I have come across various forms of anti-learning over my many years of languishing in a classroom, but probably none is more egregious and plainly obvious than the take home multiple choice test. Both students and teachers love it. Honestly what is not to like? Students get to take the test on their own time, and are afforded the luxury of using their notes and the textbook and other students And unless you reeeeeeeally do not care, it’s an easy “A” or “B”. And the teacher gets the best of both worlds, having to put barely any effort into making the test or even teaching the material for that matter, but still getting the desired positive results. Despite these obvious advantages, the disadvantages have far greater implications. Let us examine
1. HUUUUGE Waste of my time…. Now bar the fact that school, is, in general a huge waste of time anyway for a number of reasons which I hope to discuss in later posts…..but this just makes it a thousand times worse. It took me three hours to do 100 multiple choice cell biology test, all the while flipping through a thousand page textbook searching for that needle in a haystack answer and never mind that my teacher sees fit to go in no particular order in terms of chapters. And you get six of these during the year. That is eighteen hours that could have been spent much more wisely. Honestly, I rather just try my luck at studying and taking a much shorter test in class. Why do I even have to go to class. Just give me tests, the textbook, photocopy your notes and I will see you when I’m done.
2. When do we get to the learning part or is that huge sign in front of the college that says “Students First” just a bunch of ********? Because if you really did put students first, then you wouldn’t make us go through this **********. How does flipping through a textbook and circling A, B,C, or D constitute learning? Yes teacher….I can roll over and play fetch…now give me that bone (o.k.a. my “A”) and let me do the honors of validating your laziness. What that sign should really say is “We don’t give a **** about you but you gotta be here anyway.” The system makes us spend the first quarter of our life in a succession of so-called “higher learning” institutions when all that we are really learning is how to mindlessly take standardized tests. Is the real world a successions of standardized tests? Will my real future job involve the circling of “A” “B” “C” or “D”. This is the ****** reason my family is paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition costs? This is the ***** reason that families have to be buried under piles of student debt? School does not prepare you for life outside school. It is a separate world unto itself. It fails to make any standard for common sense in terms of the requirements necessary to operate an “institution of higher learning.”
I hearken back to the wise words of one educational philospher, John Dewey to explain my rant.
“In critical moments we all realize that the only discipline that stands by us, the only training that becomes intuition, is that got through life itself. That we learn from experience, and from books or the sayings of others only as they are related to experience, are not mere phrases.“
“But the school has been so set apart, so isolated from the ordinary conditions and motives of life, that the place where children are sent for discipline is the one place in the world where it is most difficult to get experience– the mother of all discipline worth the name.”
Sorry, just felt like venting…..I promise to be more constructive next time.