How many times have you finished an exam only to remember the answers to some of the questions an hour or so later? Did you have the knowledge in your mind? Yes. Do you understand the important concepts that go along with a subject but maybe haven’t memorized the less useful details? Yes.
“How many times have you remembered something 5 minutes just after the teacher said: “Stop writing,” only to receive your results a month later to realize that you were only 1 mark short of the top grade? Does that mean remembering 5 minutes earlier would’ve made you more qualified for a particular job?” – Suli Breaks
Why Do We Pedestal The Exam & Grades?
So why is the EXAM the one thing that is put on a pedestal beyond everything else? Why are we letting our grades, which are ultimately the tools by which people determine how well we have learned any given material, tell people what we understand? In my view, herein lies the absurdity of how we measure our knowledge.
In the video below, Suli Breaks delivers a powerful spoken word piece drawing attention to not only exams but the entire school system. He sheds light on the fact that as a society we are simply repeating methods of learning and doing that are based off of inherently faulty ideals.
It’s not to say that everything is wrong with education today – many good things have come out of the current system, but we must also be open to changing what we now know to be an outdated and broken modality. It’s all about evolution, remember?
Why do we learn so much information in school that will never be put to use, yet look down upon people who recognize that fact and choose to opt out? Why do we criticize the righteously disenchanted? Why do we continue to defend a system that people can so clearly see doesn’t work?
We believe that this system is what prepares us best for the world. But in reality what are we really being prepared for? We finish school and are in serious debt, we have trouble getting a job, get stuck doing something we don’t like, and live our lives complaining about the fact that we have to struggle, work too much, and don’t do what we enjoy. If everyone is doing this and everyone is relying on the education system to help get them there, are we maybe not looking at things clearly? Is it perhaps that the road to this dream we are sold is not what it’s made out to be, and the end result is often something we don’t want anyway?
Why I Left
I personally left school because I knew it wasn’t right for me and I knew it wasn’t going to lead me to where I wanted to be. People tend to look at me at times as being uneducated as a result, only to find out quickly after some conversation that I know more about life and various subjects than the average “educated” person. So what are we really learning in school and is it the best form of learning? I personally love learning and do it almost everyday. But to me learning in school was incredibly inefficient, slow, and boring. Just because I don’t have a piece of paper telling me I completed something doesn’t mean I, or anyone else, is uneducated.
I do believe education is important and at the core we need a system that works for people. But I also believe we are in dire need of change when it comes to our current system and feel many kids today are having their potential drastically cut by our current methods.
What could a working system look like? How about spending more time doing and less time just listening? How about balancing logic and creativity? Why not let kids explore more of what they want to do vs. what they must do? Why not explore testing in a different way and make grades less of a focus? Why not cut the amount of time we spend in or at school and allow kids to live life, where they will learn the most? There are many ideas out there and many alternative schools trying them out. It’s only a matter of time before this kind of approach becomes more prominent.
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