February 16, 2009

When education is not education

When students are made to memorize facts without understanding the context.

When students have no books but only the knowledge of the teacher, or lack thereof, to learn from.

When teachers cannot admit a mistake and will, in fact, fail the student who dares to question anything the teacher has said.

When students never learn critical thinking but instead are taught from an early age to not think, only to memorize and obey.

When teachers and parents have had such a lousy education that they can't recognize that their children are getting one, too.

La Ceiba, Honduras, school childrenWhen teachers fail 50%, 75% or 98% of their class. The only thing that proves is that the teacher is a failure.

When students can't understand the concept that there may not be a "right" answer to every question.

When students never learn to think for themselves, but rather are threatened with failure by the teacher if they do.

When teachers can not admit that they don't know something.

When being literate means that you can sign your name, read numbers up to 10 and read a sign, but not comprehend a paragraph.

When a high school student thinks there are 60 seconds in an hour and can't be convinced otherwise.

When an entire high school class cannot answer this problem because they have never seen it on the blackboard: "A rancher has dug 40 holes to build a fence around a 1,500 square meter pasture. How many fence posts does he need?" "Not fair" they shout! "You never gave us that problem before!"

When a group of 11 to 12-year-olds cannot name another country besides Honduras

When students can graduate from high school and even university without ever in their life having read an entire book.

When politics, parades, snacks, and statistics are more important than providing the real thing.
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