A twitter-like comment on a big issue.
School has started and the letters are starting to come home. Actually, school started for Catriona in the middle of summer because she is in grade 9 and they start school earlier here for that grade. Of course, the reason a test. All grade 9 students must take a test which determines which high school they attend, and it’s very competitive. In addition to starting early, and in fairness they finish a little early as well, they also have the option of supervised study sessions from 6 – 9pm every week night. That was the letter that came home. You pay a fee for dinner and a fee for the privilege. Parents are the supervisors. That means the kids are gone from ~ 7:45am until 9pm everyday. Most parents will willingly participate but I think it’s the stupidest thing I have ever seen. Anybody with any interest, or experience, in learning or getting thngs done, know that this is a complete waste of time (for most).
But I considered it. I considered it because nothing in her school program excites her to learn like her hobbies – reading and music. Few teachers can teach in a way that excites her (or anyone), the curriculum only accommodates procedural learning, not problem solving, research or collaboration, nor does the curriculum encourage self-exploration. Memorisation and being able to follow instruction is important, but the afore mentioned skills are what make for better and more employable people. But maybe that is the point, they don’t want graduates who can think … Because she is an independent child, smart, and unfortunately not always easy to motivate, her test scores have comparatively suffered. I briefly thought that this study prison might help her, luckily I quickly came to my senses.
If you can’t accomplish something at work or at school in 8 hours or less (preferably much less) than there is something wrong with the organization. Putting more time on task has diminishing and often negative returns (see 1, 2, 3). The space between work (or study) is often more valuable than the time spent working itself (1, 2, 3).