by Domenick J. Maglio, PhD Traditional | Mar 03, 2014
Our culture is doing our children a disservice by pretending that youngsters can reach their goals by just wanting something and demanding it over and over again. ” I am going to be a Hollywood star.” “When I grow up I’ll marry a millionaire, have a mansion with servants, become a professional gamer, NFL player or a famous rapper.” The list of wannabee upscale lifestyles or occupations might vary with time although the lack of knowing the necessary steps to achieve the desired goals remains minimal.
In our culture adults are not supposed to deflate the child’s dreams or self esteem even when they are obviously out of touch with reality. We should placate the child by playing along with him. It is supposed to be cruel when an authority figure presents legitimate criticism as it will end the childish belief they are always right. Supposedly this accurate information will harm or shatter their self-esteem and dreams. Our fragile children are supposed to be blissfully ignorant of the hard realities of life. In other words they should be allowed to be delusional.
The same sentiments exist with most parents in dealing with their child’s education. They want school to be a more pleasurable experience then they had as a child. Learning should be enjoyable and fun at all times. According to them, children today are brighter than ever before and should be sheltered from any anxiety caused by high performance expectations.
Learning should not be stressful; it should be effortless for today’s child. It is the teacher’s job to present stimulating and exciting lessons day after day that the child would easily absorb. We have forced teachers into being stars of the classroom and the students the audience to be entertained. This process does not produce an independent, self-reliant learner, but rather a self absorbed, handicapped one.
Parents are aware of the assorted facts the children know from watching television shows or searching the Internet when they are interested in the subject. This is proof that their precious child is brilliant. Modern parents think any teacher worth her salt should make even the most mundane lessons interesting to keep the student learning.
It is no wonder in our instant gratification society that junior and senior high school students should feel the responsibility for their education resides solely in the teacher’s efforts and not with them. They have been allowed by the parents to be passive learners throughout their lives. Children should not be expected to do anything in which they have little interest. It is always the teacher’s fault.
An energetic and personable teacher cannot compensate for an unmotivated student with poor academic fundamentals. “Teach me teach” sums up the attitude of the modern student. It is a reasonable conclusion given the modern parent’s opinions of the teacher’s role. Teachers are supposed to be in charge of the child’s learning without considering the effort and actual performance level of the child. The child’s laziness, excuses or obnoxious behavior too often is attributed to an uninspiring and ineffective teacher not the student’s attitude and actions. It is the teacher’s fault.
As long as a teacher appeases the parent with inflated grades, the teacher is off the hook for not “being interesting.” Parents do brag about their child being on the honor role no matter how pathetic the actual skill level. Actual mastery of the subject matter is unimportant as compared to their happiness. Receiving high grades, for doing little to earn them, is a win-win situation for students, parents and teachers. Parents are delighted by the overinflated report. Students are overjoyed by the parental rewards while teachers and administrators are off the hook from both.
This public relations gimmick has a major flaw. The flaw is the increased competition when these students enter college where almost a third of them are required to take remedial courses before earning any college credit. This is educational fraud.
This is so true and such an eloquent exposé of the sentiments I have tried to express many times.
I think the lunatic idea that “You can do anything so long as you want it hard enough” originated in America with Christian scientists, whose idea you can recover from any illness provided you really want to was extrapolated to apply to achieving anything you want, merely by projecting your mind power.
Once this appealingly easy way to success was peddled by self-help “gurus” and so-called business strategists, and reality shows marketed the fabricated success stories of a few singers and performers who were apparently rocketed to succes (many of whom were dropped into oblivion after the show)… it was only a matter of time before it filtered down to school level and entrenched itself as part of mainstream culture.
Tragically, this pandering to and humouring of the lowest common denominator has dragged our intellectual standards down so far in the Western world that I think the it is now inevitable that China and other Asian countries immune to this nonsense will overtake us economically, technologically and politically too.
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