Things I don’t understand, part 1

Published 06/15/2012 by MoonieZ

Some things I see in the world around me that I don’t understand.

Heard some teenage boys talking on the bus while I was going to the office this morning. They were bragging about not having done all the schoolwork they were supposed to and still getting grades for it because the teacher had trusted them to have done it all.  To me that’s nothing to brag about. I’d be ashamed, but the times they are a-changing  it seems .

I thought of some recent news I had read about the state of the Swedish education system. Students are given higher grades on average but they are learning less. This is a problem. The grades are no longer reflecting what you have actually learned but rather how popular the school is that you have attended. All of this has happened after the reformation of the education system in Sweden that made it possible for students to freely choose which school to enroll in  and not automatically be placed in the one closest to where they  live.

This leads to a competition between schools in order to attract as many students as possible because each student means more income for the school in the form of government funding, i.e. tax money. One way to compete is to promise high grades.  It also means that those students who don’t make a choice of school have to make do with schools that have fewer resources and where most students would in fact benefit from more resources in order to get the education they need. At those schools grades are lower on average  but students are still learning less.

Also, I’m wondering if the arrival of all this new information technology is somewhat to blame for the state of education. It seems owning and using a “smartphone”  in some cases somehow translates into a “dumb user”.

“I have all the knowledge in the world at my fingertips, so why bother to learn any of  it, as  in load it into my brain, when all I need to do is punch in a web link and look up a page whenever I need to know something.”  Well, how will you know if the  information you find is accurate if you have not learned enough to be able to evaluate it?

I believe there are no short cuts to learning even if many seems to be looking for all kinds of ways to avoid doing the hard work in order to reach the result. Of course sitting down, reading page after page of boring textbooks is a pain sometimes but I think it’s still the way to learning. Not the only way but a road that still has to be travelled in order to reach the final destination.

Another thing,  not related to the above, but still maybe a sign of the times. In a  Swedish online newspaper today I read about a homeless guy in Texas who had found some money some time ago and now been granted the right to keep them since no other person had been found to claim them. The comments online to this news from people in Sweden were sad to read. Many were not able to simply rejoice in a fellow human beings good fortune. Instead there were many jealous  and degrading comments made.

 

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