Friday, 30 March 2012

Breaking free of that "high school" mentality

I would just like to compose a peice of writing for writings sake for once.

I was inspired today after a chat with one of the lecturers. This is my perspective of how things stand from the view of a mature student who came back into the education system 3 years ago.

I dont know if any of you know but I was a pre - millenium highschool graduate. Class of '99. The cream of my teenage years was basically combat trousers and the spice girls.

After a 10 year gap I decided to return to college and I was shocked beyond belief. I had been in sixth form at school and college previously and as I remember back then as soon as year 11 was up you were treated like adults, had to be responsible for yourself and for your own learning, your own life. How things have changed.

It felt like I had got out of a time machine back to the time I was in primary school. It was very different. Suddenly my 16 year olds peers acted like the 12 year olds from back in the day which I found very odd, surley things couldnt have changed that much.

The teachers had changed too. Instead of talking to me like the adult I was, I was reverted back to child status. Bear in mind I was 27 at the time, knew what the real world was like, had children of my own and I didnt like it. How dare they they treat me like a child.

It was only after a particular incident when a teacher told me not to cheek him after stating my own opinion that I complained. Apparently He wasnt aloud to treat me any different because "a students a student" fair enough but I thought hasnt he heard of diversity? you cant treat everyone exactly the same because everyone is different. Obviously not.

My major concern was when parents evening came along. At 27 I had been responsible for my own life for 10 years I just couldnt understand why there would be a parents evening for students who were post 16. It was a joke.  I thought young people should be able to stand on there own two feet.
Why would they though, Our college project briefs told us exactly what to do for the different grades this for a pass, do this and this for a merit and this this and this for a distinction. It does not really encourage three really important skills. This mind set remains. When something has been drilled into your head for so long it sticks and its hard to break free from. It also teaches that there is a smooth narrow path that can be followed to achieve.

Im sure there are many reasons. One of the most bizzarre I have heard is that the world is more complex these days. So young people have been molly coddled and wrapped in cotton wool all there lives, to do what exactly? to prepare them for this more complex world? That just dosent make sense.

I have been talking to some aquaintences as to the reasons they go to university and most have them have said "because its a means to an end" is it? is it really? Do you stop learning after you graduate? Thats the same mentality do this this and this and you will achieve this. In some cases maybe, but unfortunatly the route to sucess isnt that smooth and simple.

I have done some research into the subject and have realised why people can not break free of this high school mentality where you are told exactly what you have to do to achieve this, that and the other.
The molly coddling/ overprotectiveness  has made them lack 3 essential skills.

1. The ability to learn and "self educate".
2. The ability to become independant.
3. The ability to gain experience.

And learning to do these things is no smooth and narrow path upwards to a certain level of achievment. You learn from experience and mistakes and going out there and trying things for yourself.

This diagram is a more accurate representation of the learning process.

Red line = learning. see any smooth uphill curve?

How would one go about breaking free from this mentality?

I call it the learning triangle. Each will help with the other. Learning for yourself will lead to independence and doing things for yourself will lead to experience, which will lead to the knowledge that learning for yourself works. repeat process.

I was subjected to this mentality for luckily only 2 years of my life.  I feel I overlooked this a little I know from life you have up and downs you learn, you go round in circles then you learn you gain knowledge, no matter what way it goes you gain experience. If it goes backwards you still learn. You dont stop learning, ever.

Red line in my own life: Every day I make mistakes and the the next I feel a little closer to achievment. Some days I feel Im not progressing much other times im getting worse, then next day I feel better again, The I see drastic improvment then I stay the same for a bit..... and on it goes on. Forever.

EDIT: just to prove a point I realise I had yet again contradicted myself with what I had wrote. Writing down steps to get rid of the mentality of taking steps?  at least its a method understood by folk in that mentality.

I went backwards a bit there, did you see that? ...and on it goes. Forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment