I came across an article that fit perfectly with this series, as well as with the thoughts I shared on socialization a few weeks ago. I got permission to reprint it, and you’ll find the entire piece on my website (CLICK HERE). I had to snip this excerpt for this installment of “What Does (Institutional) Education Look Like?” It could also be titled “How Institutional School Applies (or Doesn’t) to Real Life.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
Your employer is auditing the inter-office e-mail system and comes across a personal note between you and a coworker. You are required to stand at the podium in the next sales meeting to read it aloud to your coworkers.
The police knock on your door, and announce that because you and your neighbor have gotten so close, they’re separating you. You must move your home and your belongings to the other side of town, and you may only meet at public places on weekends.
You’re sitting at a booth waiting for a coworker to arrive for a scheduled lunch date. Suddenly a member of upper management sits down across from you and demands your credit cards. When your friend arrives, you just order water and claim you’re not hungry, since your lunch money has been stolen.
You’re applying for a job and in an unconventional hiring practice, you are made to line up with other applicants, and wait patiently while representatives from two competing companies take their pick from the lineup.
You’re taking your parents out for an anniversary dinner. After you find a table, a waiter tells you that seniors have a separate dining room, lest they “corrupt” the younger members of society.
You go to the grocery store only to find that since you are 32 years old you must shop at the store for 32 year olds. It’s 8 miles away and they don’t sell meat because the manager is a vegetarian, but your birthday is coming up and soon you’ll be able to shop at the store for 33 yr. olds.
You’d like to learn about Aviation History. You go to the library and check out a book on the subject only to be given a list of “other subjects” that you must read about before you are permitted to check out the aviation book.
You’re having a hard time finding what you need in the local department store. The saleslady explains that each item is arranged alphabetically in the store, so instead of having a section for shoes, you will find the men’s shoes in between the maternity clothes and the mirrors.
Your cable company announces that anyone wishing to watch the Super Bowl this year must log on a certain number of hours watching the Discovery Channel before they can be permitted to watch the game.
You apply for a job only to be told that this job is for 29 year olds. Since you’re 32, you’ll have to stay with your level.
In a group project, your boss decides to pair you up with the person you don’t “click” with. His hope is that you’ll get learn to get along with each other, regardless of how the project turns out.”
You’ll probably want to read the entire article by Lisa Russell on my website.
Thinking about September 11….
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
From Goblin Market, The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems by Christina Rosetti. London: Macmillan 1879.
What does learning look like? Consider….
Child A sits in a classroom full of children who are just his age. “Today, students,” his teacher announces, “We’re going to learn about chickens.” She unrolls a poster of a giant chicken, with each part labeled in big cheery letters. “Has anyone ever seen a chicken?” she asks. No one has, but one child volunteers that they say “cock-a-doodle-doo!”
The lesson goes on, with each part of the chicken pointed out and discussed. A plastic egg is handed around, along with a dry chicken bone, and a plastic bag of chicken feathers. At the end of the lesson, each child is provided a worksheet with a chicken outline and instructed to color it, label the parts, and bring it back tomorrow.
Child B cautiously opens the door the of the chicken pen, and is immediately surrounded by a dozen clucking, noisy hens, eager for the salad trimmings she’s brought from the house. She distributes the treat, making sure that the smaller hens get a share, and fills the feeder with cracked corn.
Some of the hens have already headed out through the open pen door to spend the day scratching in the garden, feasting on bugs. The child checks each nest box for eggs, gathering them carefully. On the way back to the house, she shoos a hen from the hosta bed and back toward the vegetable garden. She fills an empty egg carton with the morning’s eggs, and sits down to breakfast with the rest of the family.
To be continued…