A Transcription Education

“An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports,we never ask questions, or at least most of us don’t; they just run the answer at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film teacher.” -Clarisse McClennan Fahrenheit 451 is a novel commonly read by high school sophomores. People who read it often discuss conformity with me, they talk about censorship and how narrow minded everybody else is. But no student or peer (so far) has brought up educational conformity. And it’s strange, because if you think about it, what’s the one thing most kids have in common? You guessed it.

School. Why don’t I see anyone being affected by this line in Fahrenheit 451 then? Don’t you see the truth ringing behind Clarisse’s words? It’s almost ironic that we read Fahrenheit in school. School is at once teaching to be different, but forcing us to stay conformed with assigned reading. I believe that our educational program is flawed. It was a small doubt at first, but it grew into a belief that I cannot shake.

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From Sir Ken Robinson’s famous TED talk about education, I shall quote “Reform is no use anymore, because that’s simply improving a broken model. What we need — and the word’s been used many times during the course of the past few days – is revolution in education.” I am pondering how to make this revolution happen, how to begin to slow down the college craze, and perhaps escape it myself. You see, Clarisse made me think. She made me think about how school really is about memorization the higher up you move. Although our modern societies boast of advancements in education, this strictly memorization kind of process looks to me quite like the Scholasticism of the 15th century.

Take a look at AP classes, at how all we do is memorize hard information and learn how to move around the wording to write an essay. By the end of the day, most of us are so tired that we don’t have the energy or inspiration to really take in what we’ve learned. I believe that true knowledge comes from internal thought and analysis. Things need to be chewed, not just swallowed whole. We need to feel satisfied of having fully tasted the flavors of the knowledge taught to us. Nobody has time to ask questions anymore, either.

If you ask too many questions in an AP class, somebody will shush you. “There’s no time for that,” they’ll say. “The AP test is right around the corner.” When will it be time to ask then? To question, to find the truth in our own way? It makes me sad to see history, science, math, and English disappear from everybody’s minds once the finals are over. Why do we come to school if all we do is gain a false sense of accomplishment of learning when all we’re doing is transcribing the lecture on a piece of line paper? I began to think about change. And, it might sound crazy, but it’s just a notion I had that the education system could start moving towards one centered on how one learns.

It’ll be personalized, and it’ll help us learn to the best of our ability. It won’t be centered on getting kids to college, because they will go for sure, but rather it will be centered on how to help a kid learn most comfortably. Instead of shooting facts at kids, let them take the information you give them and mold it to their own truths. I know my words sound a bit abstract at the moment, but I’m still struggling to grasp the idea of educational change. Learning was not always dreaded, I’m sure. Once, when only the privileged could learn, having access to education was enviable.

It makes me want to ask: when will we start enjoying education again? When will schools stop producing students like machines, and begin producing students with passion? I am sure it is indisputable to say that everybody has a passion and something they love to do. I know that such a vision, where students are happy with school and schools don’t conform everybody to the same “fast-food” type standards, will never come to fruit within my high school days. However, I’d love to start moving towards that. It’s time to stop being tired by education and calling the paper on your desk ‘work’. It’s about time we enjoy what we get from school, and work on what are our passions. That way, we can use our strengths to improve our future.