The case for optional education, and the eradication of exams

Most of the stuff they study in school is completely useless. But some incredibly valuable things you don’t learn until you’re older – yet you could learn them when you’re younger. And you start to think, “What would I do if I set a curriculum for a school?”

God, how exciting that could be! But you can’t do it today. You’d be crazy to work in a school today. You don’t get to do what you want. You don’t get to pick your books, your curriculum. You get to teach one narrow specialization. Who would ever want to do that?

- Steve Jobs

I have to say, I totally agree with this. In school, way too much emphasis is put on passing your exams. So much so, that after stuffing all of this overpowering information in your brain, then unleashing it in your exams, you feel as if you don’t really need it any more, and you forget most of what you learned within a year or so.

The pressure is so much that we always have a negative attitude towards school, and education in general. This attitude means that you will only do work if you have to. Since I left school, I found a hunger for knowledge, and I feel like I’ve learned more from my own free-will, then from when the education system was force-feeding what they want me to know.

So what is the problem here? I personally think curriculum bureaucracy is the root of all these problems. If I were to set the curriculum, as Jobs suggested, I would completely get rid of exams. I would make school optional. Kids would come in to school. I mean I know I would rather go to school and see all my friends than stay at home all day. Okay, when this system is introduced there would be a problem with a large amount of people bunking off, but that number will die down quickly when the kids start to realize that they want to learn. And they will.

Too many schools, especially in my area, are made to feel like prisons. That’s not what a school is. Way back when Jesus taught his followers, they didn’t come because Jesus forced them to. They came because they were interested. By forcing kids into school without a choice we are taking their interest for learning, and saying “I don’t care about your interest for learning, because we’re going to force you to learn anyway.”

Pogo Paperback

Ever heard of the collaborative writing of a novel? Me neither, but after being part of the community at South Pole of the Moon, they decided to make a page on their wiki for writing novels as a community.

I used my newly learned Wiki Markup knowledge to redesign the page and give it some structure, so we could have multiple stories being created on the same page. Then all I did was put a couple story ideas on it, and came back the next day. Somebody had taken my one sentence idea and turned it into a detailed outline of the entire novel. I like this. I’m going to add to it and make it better, but I really like the idea of collaborative writing. I think it could catch on. So my message I want you to get from this post is: wiki’s are awesome tools for collaborative writing. If you want to find out what I mean, come to the South Pole of the Moon wiki!

That’s all.

PS: Here’s a direct link to the wiki page.

Don’t read this comment!

I awoke upon the exact tic of 1am and looked directly towards the strange shadowy figure standing at the bottom of my bed. I contemplated the possibility that it was simply yet another bad start to a lucid dream, but the count of my fingers told me that it was real. As my eyes struggled to focus on something solid in the room so that I could test my eyes functionality, the blurry figure moved upwards and onto my bed. I felt the bed struggle underneath the weight of the two of us now, and as it got close a sharp but quiet hissing sound came from the strange thing in white. I tried to sit up. I couldn’t. My eyes had finally adjusted to my waking state and I stared at the thing on my bed properly for the first time. A shiver ran down my spine as I remembered reading the comment.

“No, faggot!” I entered into the keyboard and posted. I dragged my mouse over to the spam button and clicked. I pondered for a second over whether something like that could be real, then I quickly pulled myself together and re-watched “Charlie bit my finger EPIC REMIX.” It wasn’t really as epic as the title suggested but it was well executed. Definitely not worthy of some of the terrible comments it had received so far including “Don’t quit your day job, idiot” which I found presumptuous and kinda nasty. Thumbs down. I wondered how many people fall for the chain comments that go around on some of these videos. I mean if they were really real, there would be an epidemic of dying mothers out there. My Mother would be dead by now, I’ve gotta have ignored at least a hundred of them ones. This one takes the piss though, especially after a night of watching horrors like The Grudge, and now being in the house on my own, it certainly didn’t help my state. I didn’t want to be plagued with thoughts of skinless girls at the end of my bed, not now. I decided to watch some old Ray William Johnson episodes to take my mind off it.

I struggled with the urge to reason with her, but the force keeping my glued to my bed was not okay with letting me speak either. She advanced even more. I could feel her weight on my legs. I felt paralyzed, my mind was struggling to escape the bed, but my body was motionless. Even though the room was pitch black I could clearly see that her eyes had red in place of white. Maybe it was blood which had rubbed off from the exposed muscle on her face. I could also see that her teeth were completely exposed. She had no lips. I didn’t want to see any of this, but I was forced to sit back and wait for her to get closer to my face.

I wonder what a skinless woman would look like. No. Don’t think about it, I’ll only freak myself out. LOLcats will cheer me up. Wouldn’t it all just be blood and muscle exposed? Okay, feeling a tad sick, time to force my mind off it. Go make a coffee. No, that will only keep me up longer, and that would involve venturing downstairs. Food. That always works. I’ll go grab an orange, run upstairs, and peel the skin off up here… ah shit. Don’t think about peeling things!

I noticed that time seemed to be moving faster than normal outside my bedroom. I could see the sky outside getting lighter, however she kept advancing on me at a slow pace. It was currently a dark shade of blue. She was up to my knees. Getting kind of lighter now. She was on my waste. The sun was starting to peak over the horizon. She was standing heavily on my stomach, making it hard for me to breathe. Blood was dripping from the bottom her white dressing gown onto my chest. She knelt down on my stomach. The sun was now completely visible. Her face was getting closer to my face. I could no longer look out the window. Her face was the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen. I begged silently that I would die of fear before I have to endure another second in this bed. She reached out a hand for my face. I screamed inside. Her hand was an inch away from my face. This was it. She was going to slowly torture me like her own parents had done to her. Her hand touched my face. A terrible pain shot through my cheeks as her sharp nails pierced my skin. She pinched a section of skin and started to pull. It’s hard to describe the feeling of your skin being ripped from your face. All I could do was endure the most horrific pain I’ve ever felt, and hope it would stop.

There was a loud bang, and the skinless girl on her bed disappeared. Suddenly I could move. I breathed a sigh of relief and turned towards my door, where the bang came from. My brother was standing in the doorway.

“I’m so glad you’re here!” I told him.

He stared for a couple seconds. Had he noticed my peeled skin? No. He seemed to be staring at nothing. He finally let his glare lay on me before saying “It’s Mom. She’s dead.”

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