“School doesn’t have anything to do with life.”
“Learning is boring! Exams suck!”
“Bill Gates dropped out of University!”
School is this and that!
My recent conversations with fellow students lead me to realize how the era of “learning revolution” could be serving as a self-fulfilling prophecy for the less-motivated students (or ALL students?). Plus, the PR regarding “learning revolution” may actually be discouraging students to pursue their intellectual curiosity.
Wouldn’t it be easier to blame one’s poor academic performance or lack of intellectual curiosity on the irrelevance of schooling? You bet it would.
Our minds love to pick out information that confirms with our perspective. For example, you will most likely accept that the exam was unfairly hard for everyone rather than accepting your poor preparation. Your brain constantly looks for ways to calm itself down. Its lazy. It does not want to go through the struggle of really figuring out why you failed that exam. Thus, it accepts the blunt statement that everyone found it hard and everyone failed! Also, we don’t like to stand out from the crowd – do we?
Stereotyping and Flawed Thinking
These generalization are same as any other stereotypes. Thus, like stereotypes, it functions as assumptions in our thinking.
For example, consider the following stereotypes:
Blonds are foolish.
Black people are good at basketball.
Canadians say “eh!” all the time. Eh?
The problem with assumptions like these is that they cause us to make basic – and often serious – mistakes in thinking. Because these stereotypes are not justifiable, they cause us to prejudge situations and people to draw faulty inferences and conclusions. For example, if we believe all blonds are foolish whenever we meet one we will act unfairly or unnaturally towards that person.
So, for an individual struggling with academics, the inference or conclusion he will make is that “School doesn’t have anything to do with life” so why bother? When in fact the underlying cause maybe time management, learning strategies, discipline, lack of motivation or not knowing one’s passion.
Real Questions to Focus on in School
This kind of stereotyping prevents students from focusing on important questions such as, “What does it mean to be an educated person? Why am I doing what I am doing? Will getting an “A” get me most out of this course? Instead, we tend to ask questions such as, “What do I need to do to get an “A+” in this course? How can I get last year’s assignments? How can I satisfy this professor?”
- Don’t let the stereotyping of school serve as an inference to distort your thinking to achieve self-serving ends. Think critically about school and your personal goals only then can you make school work for you instead of you working for the school (not knowing where its taking you and why?)
Book: What Best College Students Do by Ken Bain