I am a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld. I love his old show, his standup comedy, and his new internet show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. So what connection does he have with education?
I was recently watching Jerry's internet show when he started complaining about the school that his children were attending. He mentioned his thoughts about the the school and the orientation night for the beginning of the school year for them. Here is what he said:
I was literally biting my tongue. When they start in with, you know, 6th grade is a big a adjustment. I just want to go, really? Really. Who cares! How about they just adjust to it then. And we not worry about it. (sarcastically) Let's make sure their environment is so perfectly habitable that they are completely unprepared for real life. These kids, it's like you criticize them and they're like "what? What are you talking about? So far everyone's loved everything I've done."
Jerry makes a great point. Are we really preparing our students for real life in our schools today? If we aren't, then what the heck are we doing? Are we babying students too much? I think it might be a good idea to do some reflecting about what the purpose of education truly should be. It seems like many educators seem to think that the purpose begins and ends with filling up students' minds with information so that they can pass tests and make everyone look good--and of course make them as comfortable as possible in the process.
When did the main focus of education switch from the Three R's (Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic) to the Three C's (Confidence, Comfort, and Coddling)?
Is gaining information really the most important part of education? How many of us remember more than 5% (if that) of what we learned in school? No, what we learned was more important than just information--we also learned skills, lessons and habits. We learned things like the value of working toward a goal, the value of hard work, and the extremely useful information of figuring out which subjects we liked and were good at. We learned useful skills like dealing with failure, overcoming obstacles, memorizing (gasp), and performing under pressure. It seems like these kinds of skills and lessons are being less emphasized in the current world of education.
So maybe we should start listening a little more to people who think like Mr. Seinfeld. Coddling students too much makes them weak. Let's be sure to keep our focus on doing what is best for students--not just what is best and most comfortable for their present, but also what is best for their future.
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