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Real Education VS Modern, Mass Produced, Assembly Line Education

I have a daughter in her mid 30’s who lives and breathes horses. She makes her living by teaching people and horses to communicate with one another. She’s very good at what she does, so the demand for her services is such that she can charge a pretty good buck in order to serve as a translator between the two.

Check it out. Every time I’ve ever watched her teach her students are sitting on the edge of their saddles in order to soak up what my daughter has to teach. This is true because my daughter has a well earned reputation for knowing her stuff when it comes to horses.

Requirements for Real Education
So in this instance you have a very knowledgeable teacher together with very willing and very interested students. Under these conditions the stage is set for REAL EDUCATION to take place. When it happens, it’s almost magical. And it’s fun/fulfilling for both parties. Nobody is texting a friend, listening to iPod tunes, daydreaming, or being distracted away from what the teacher has to say. It’s important so students choose to focus in on every word.

I also have a friend who’s a golf teaching pro. He really knows his subject and he takes great pleasure in seeing his students light up in the wake of learning to hit the ball straighter, longer, and with more accuracy.

Once again you have a situation in which the teacher is highly informed and capable of producing success. You also have students who are very serious and extremely interested in learning what this West Texas teaching pro has to say about the golf stroke.

In both cases the teacher to student ratio is relatively small. We’re talking one, two, three, or four students at a time max! Anything more dilutes the personalized experience expected by both teacher and student. In both cases challenging questions are encouraged because the teacher is not threatened by them. It’s part and parcel of real education. And in both cases the experience is intrinsically valued in and of itself instead of as a means to a “grade.”

Contrast That With...
Contrast these two instances with the mass produced, assembly line experiences that modern kids have come to know as “education.” Teacher-to-student-ratios range from 1 to 20, 30, or even 40 in some instances. Students are shuffled along through a series of 6, 7, or 8 periods each day in an effort to cause them to soak up a little of this and a little of that, “learning” about ideas and concepts whose relevance is often highly suspect in the minds of those who are being expected to digest them and to regurgitate them.

The Modern Ideal
A high percentage of students spend as much time as possible disengaged, earphones in both ears, thumbs flying over smart phones texting friends, emailing others, checking out the latest viral you tube. In “school” learning about any subject is valued much less than the accompanying grade. In fact the primary strategy for most kids in school today is to do the least amount of work possible in order to produce the best grade possible. If you can do almost no work and still get an A, that’s ideal. That’s modern mass produced, assembly line education in a nutshell.