Saturday, May 14, 2011

American Education and the Cult of Technology

Yes fucking disassemble!

I spent three years in the education department in college, and I had a few education classes under my belt. Because of some bullshit with the program and how it affected my graduation date, I stopped short of methods and student teaching. So when I tell you that there’s a bullshit retarded cult of technology in modern education, you know I’m telling you the truth.

The biggest theme that these fools always stressed was “howare you going to integrate technology into the lesson plan?” It seemed pretty retarded to me, but I’m considered a fossil by these fools because I’m more of a traditionalist. My style of teaching is largely lecture and writing assignments, sprinkled with some class discussion about how history relates to things going on today.

Some of you might think that’s boring, but from every teacher mentor I’ve ever had that’s had to observe me teaching a lesson I’ve received nothing but praise for being a “truly inspiring speaker.” Kids generally enjoyed listening to my lessons, and I engaged them with questions and discussion (I learned that a good way to get them interested is to allow them to show off how much they know).

That style is certainly not for every student, and I understand that. I get that a teacher has to make accommodations for students and try to cater to their learning style as best as they can without compromising the lesson. Most people don’t get, however, that with a classroom of 30 kids, each one of them could possibly have a totally different learning style from the next, and it becomes impossible to cater to each single kid.

Be that as it may, I’m a firm believer that although the kids may not be strong in the lecture, reading and writing learning style, that doesn’t mean that we should abandon it altogether. Reality check: accommodating a child’s specific learning style is actually more detrimental than good. Instead of getting the child prepared for a world that truly does not give a fuck about learning style, we tell them that it’s okay to play to their strengths rather than develop the skills that will help them be more successful in life.

It's sad to imagine, but one of these kids will grow up
thinking that Michael Moore is NOT a dumbass, thanks
to our shitty ass quality education.
So why in the fuck are we now suggesting that we need to integrate technology into classrooms just because of some tests that show students “learned,” more from it? Of course they’re learning more from technology crap, because they’re all fucking ADD anymore because of technology. Why sit down and read when you can go look at Cliff’s notes? Why write a letter, or shit why even write an EMAIL, when you can text? Why do anything academic when you can just go find some interactive website bullshit that will make it “fun.”

These fucks want learning to be fun. I don’t really give a shit, because learning isn’t all about fun. It’s about building discipline and thoughtfulness. Little Billy complains that he hates writing because he’s terrible at it. So what do we do? “Oh here you go Billy, here’s an assignment that will allow you to use your artistic talents.” Why the fuck would I give a shit about artistic talent in history?

Here’s my point. Technology is a good thing, but it also makes us lazy. With the direction it has gone, it has slowly eroded kids’ ability to concentrate and articulate their thoughts in a coherent way. The more we stress technology in the classroom, the worse it will get, and it will only continue to diminish their capacity to think. Perhaps technology is a good thing for a science class, as much of science is about physical application. But do we really need to push for technology in a class about, say, early republican theory?

According to that study, this guy is a total douche and a
shitty professor because he's lecturing.
The problem with kids today is precisely the mentality behind the cult of technology, and that’s that we accommodate them too much. We try to make everything super easy on our kids because damn it, we didn’t like being treated that way. What some fail to realize is that it was precisely the hardships we’ve faced, the obstacles we’ve had to overcome that have shaped us into responsible adults.

So instead of telling our kids that they need to be tougher and more serious about improving their academic selves, we’re content to just tell them “oh it’s okay that you suck ass at school. It’s your teacher’s fault for not making it easier for you.”

Fuck that.. If you can’t learn unless you have a fucking computer screen in front of your face, then you need to demand that the government reimburse you for the shit education you received. The money spent educating you was wasted, because now you are likely not someone who is capable of critically thinking about complex ideas.

If you’re a science person, disregard all of that. This is more for the arts and humanities people.


Karen Howes said...

Amen to everything you wrote, Jack. I'm a teacher, and I remember not long ago having to take a course in technology for education.

Education is not supposed to be entertaining. It's not supposed to be fun.

I worry about when my students get to college-- they'll go from this to... listening to boring lectures.

The movie Idiocracy wasn't comedy-- it was prophecy.

Country Thinker said...

Good luck getting a law professor to surrender his/her soap box...

For what it's worth, I've said time and again that give me a good teacher with students with motivated parents, and a classroom in a barn. I'll put them up against all the technology in the world, if the teacher's rotten, and the kids' parents don't care.

I also worry about one-size-fits-all vis-a-vis the teacher as well as the student. My wife and I teach our son in very different ways. If either of us were forced to teach like the other, we'd fail miserably. I'm not a techy-type teacher. I'm a pen-and-paper, mud-and-dirt, let's go look at what we're learning about guy. I'd fail as a teacher in a tech-driven environment.

LD Jackson said...

Great post, Jack. I have a history degree myself and intended on being a teacher, but that didn't work out.

I enjoy technology as much as the next person, but it is not the Holy Grail of education. A computer will never take the place of a good teacher, especially when it comes to explaining exactly why Thomas Jefferson proceeded with the Louisiana Purchase, even though he believed it's constitutionality to be suspect.

Until our education system figures out that one size does not fit all students, we can expect no improvement in the true educations of our children.

Silverfiddle said...

This is why education should be completely privatized. Give the poor people vouchers and let them shop.

Let teachers form teaching companies and compete for parents' dollars. We'll figure out real quick what works and what doesn't.

Jack Camwell said...

Larry: Yes, there's so many things in history that requires that sort of knowledge base and understanding that an interactive lesson could not teach. I don't think that technology can match the charisma that a teacher may have.

Silver: I don't think full privatization of education is necessarily a good thing. The education field should not be competition driven, because then you will get the unintended consequence of grade inflation, teaching to the test, and other factors that would be unhealthy for education.

It's not so much the teachers and schools that are to blame for the poor performance: it more lies on the shoulders of the kids and parents who don't care, and sadly it would seem that's the majority right now in American education.