Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Those useless high school classes

An student article in the Daily Iowan discusses the useless knowledge taught in high schools (hat tip: Evolutionblog). The author's point is that:
A problem exists within the high-school education system: It doesn't prepare students for their careers. When I decided in high school that my major was going to be journalism, I took the only class offered by my school in hopes of learning the journalistic writing style. I didn't learn anything from that class. My teacher was not a journalism teacher; she was an English teacher. We spent every class silent reading instead of learning about the inverted pyramid.
I suppose that everyone has certain aspects of their educational background that they feel to have been a waste of time. This alone is a fact of life and not an indictment of the American high school system. And of course there is no such thing as useless knowledge. But it is possible that knowledge of certain things can be relatively unimportant in furthering one's ambitions, although I'm certain that buiding a system of mass education that can be all things to all people is going to be much more difficult than the author seems to believe.

To some extent, high-school teachers already try to take this criticism into account. The ideal of the liberal education, for example, is not that you, the individual, should be taught only those things that you need to know to be a reliable cog in the machinery of society. Instead, this ideal is that the individual should be taught the skills and knowledge to allow him or her to freely advance his or her ambitions in any field of endeavor. At the very least, high school cirricula are at least going to try to expose students to enough common knowledge to enable them to have intelligent conversations without looking like idiots.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For starters, it is unrealistic to expect there to be at least one teacher at every school with experience in every possible profession. Secondly, why doesn't the student go write for the school newspaper? If there is no school paper, and he/she is really that keen on journalism, then why not start one?

When did we start expecting our education to be so narrowly focused that we feel a high-school English class is a waste of time for somebody who wants to be a journalist?

2:49 PM  

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