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The one most important thing to teach in school

The desire to learn. 

Somehow school makes learning seem like a chore, something you HAVE to do. 

With mandatory assessments and exams about topics you don’t see the point in, there’s no wonder we’d rather be playing plants vs zombies on our laptops. 

But life is not an exam, and life is definitely not school. 

Life doesn’t require us to recite information, closed book. Now, we have too many resources at hand for this to be relevant. 

And here’s something I’ve always thought about exams: 

The only thing exams teach us, is how to learn information FOR an exam

Here’s a video I made about this topic:

I actually believed 2 VERY incorrect things about myself during school. 

  1. I don’t like learning languages 
  2. I don’t like English, ie writing

Turns out, I just don’t like the VCE way of either. 

I’m learning Spanish out of interest right now, and have been more voluntarily committed (ie going to conversation groups, online learning) than I ever was with VCE Chinese. 

And not liking writing is just funny to me now, seeing as that’s what I do most of the day. English has been the most useful subject I’ve done, and I’m super grateful I learnt how to critically analyse texts and write coherently. 

BUT understandably, with the dry essays I had to write about Jane Eyre (which I only got up to chapter 2) and other texts, it’s sure to suck out any passion in 13-18 year old me. 

Here’s some quick brainstorming ideas of how to make it better:

  1. give students more autonomy with what they learn (give a broad concept and get them to narrow down) 
  2. More PRACTICAL activities, hands on stuff that explain the theory, rather than reading slides 
  3. Revise standardised tests/exams –> Each student is different, and the current exam method is not relevant to life beyond school 

I really don’t see the point in a student spending precious YEARS of their life disengaged in what they study. 

It’s a waste of time. 

For the well-intentioned teachers who spend half their time trying to convince students to focus and learn the curriculum, the students who could be learning something interesting, and our society who could have new engaged workers, EAGER to learn and create innovative ideas. 

Not everyone’s required to be tested on the history of the atom (as I unwillingly was in chemistry), but everyone needs to develop the drive, persistence and motivation to learn. 

Life’s all about voluntary learning, and to succeed in the future, we’re required to seek  out information, and contribute, or make something from it. 

Jo 

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