somewhere i remember a quote (forgot who said it) 'the only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself'. if everyone simply tried to better his own past performance, what other competition would be needed?
from what i could see of school days and competition, only one child wins and all the others are losers. the most valuable things they lose are their self esteem and their parents' approval. the system of putting marks on papers and making them public is something i cannot bear. the winner if he had ever been a well adjusted person gradually becomes arrogant and conceited with his ego fed a load of rot and meaningless sparkling gold paper stars.
there is no room in public schools for anyone's individual types of learning or intelligence-i believe there may be a good alternative in montesorri schools, but i dont know that much about it. i never had the money to put my son in private school so i didnt bother to research them that deeply.
but i watched my son in school, who was a mathematical genius at the age of five, fail papers because he didnt follow directions, though all his answers were correct. and he was further marked down because he was unable to 'show the work' or use the methods they taught because he didnt need them- he knew the answers instantly.
i watched him bring home art and english papers that were the best he could do that the teacher had scribbled all over in bright red ink 'MESSY MESSY MESSY' without realizing that he couldnt see and needed glasses. by the time he got them, his papers had been hung on the wall with all the others.
of all the things i learned in school, after the sixth grade was nothing but repetition and most of it from the beginning was useless to me in my life.
here in india today the school system is based on memorization. the people they are cranking out with degrees-which are absolutely essential here for anyone who wants a well paying job because the number of people waiting for them is immense-are ... now how can i say this. i cant say what i am thinking. ok-they dont know anything. they know nothing. they may be able to recite every textbook they ever bought, but they know nothing.
children in india have so much pressure put on them by their parents that there are continually reports of them committing suicide because of failed grades. they even commit suicide before the results are in because they think
they will fail. and no one cares if they learn anything or not, the whole issue is to get a job that pays good money.
this is one of the few issues (formal education) in life that really makes me mad.