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Re: Another View (Was Review of AMNH Lost World Exhibit)

In a message dated 97-08-09 21:56:28 EDT, dunn1@IDT.NET writes:

<< If a kid learns about classical mythology, where does the kid learn 
 about it?  Most likely in school.  What information do kids value 
 most highly as authoritative?  Most likely what they learn in school. 
  I think it goes without saying that a defending curriculum that 
 relies on the television program "Hercules" to teach about mythology 
 because the kids *may* pick up the truth somewhere else is absurd. >>

Speaking from personal experience, I must say I didn't learn a heck of a lot
>in school<. Whatever learning I did went on >outside< the classroom: in
>doing< homework assignments, in visiting the library, in voracious reading.
Teachers were pretty much irrelevant to my learning experience from
elementary and high school through graduate school, except as a means of
obtaining grades and certification and as providers of homework assignments.
All the neat stuff--from reading to classical mythology, geometry, calculus,
astronomy, and paleontology--I taught myself well before it came up in
classwork, >if it ever did<. Needless to say, I never took a course of any
kind that did more than mention dinosaurs or paleontology or classical
mythology in passing.

Today's students aren't going to learn much of anything about dinosaurs or
paleontology or anything else in school. To learn stuff, they have to read
about stuff and they have to do stuff, and most important, they have to be
>interested< in stuff. The idea that children "learn" stuff that is "taught"
to them in "classes" strikes me as  sheer hokum used by today's mediocre
teachers to justify their jobs. Good students will learn stuff in spite of
their teachers, bad students won't learn squat no matter who is teaching
them. Most children are run-of-the-mill students who might stand a chance of
learning something if their teachers were any good; but most of the good
teachers of my day, who actually knew stuff, seem to have retired--or >fled<.
Today's teachers, being a mediocre lot (on average, based on the ludicrous,
rock-bottom nationwide SAT scores over the past two decades, America's
scandalous standing among the world's educational systems, the number of
remedial courses mandated by colleges, universities, and businesses, and my
own acquaintanceship with several of my stepson's schoolteachers) afflicted
with a kind of blind idealism but appallingly little book-learning, would do
their students a big favor by simply passing out and grading homework
assignments--lots of homework assignments--giving the students a lengthy
mandatory reading list, and then >keeping out of the way<.

Sorry for going off topic. Other people's experiences with the American
educational system may have fostered a different, perhaps kinder viewpoint.