"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Stones in the River or Sticks in the Mud?

There is growing evidence that we are using school to create a generation of emotional and intellectual dependents. We may be, in fact, well on our way to creating a society that is emotionally unplugged and intellectually unable to assume a level of autonomy and active idealism necessary to sustain democratic living.

We can only wonder, too, how this generation will accept the adult lives they have sacrificed their youths to attain--or will they remain blissfully ignorant that there was something even lost in the heedless clawing to get on top? A clip from the WaPo story on junior year stress:
"They are not good at processing risks," said Denise Clark Pope, a lecturer at Stanford University's education school and the author of "Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic and Miseducated Students."

"Their brains do not process what could happen if they do x, y and z until after they have done x, y and z," she said. "They will say, 'I won't use a condom just this one time.' What is the risk? It doesn't hit them until later."

. . . . Goehring, who graduated from Thomas Jefferson last year and attends the College of William and Mary, said she survived the depression and difficult courses her junior year by deciding to "accept the things I couldn't change instead of internalizing them."

Facing stress, she said, she learned to follow a Taoist maxim: "Be like a stone in the river. The water flows all around you, but you are serene and unmovable." It is a philosophy that might come in handy, because she will be majoring in physics and East Asian studies.

A world pre-packaged and available to those with the highest score?

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