When it comes to education, it’s safe to say our system could use a few improvements. For example, standardized testing incentivizes memorizing information for a test and then forgetting it forever. So, by doing the right thing to pass a class, you may fail to actually learn the material. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s what we’ve got, and it has, nonetheless, produced true genius a time or two. The issue with that, however, is that, in my opinion, everyone is a genius when they’re interested in the material. Engagement is the real issue here. That and letting individual students learn the material in their own way, of course. For example, a social setting may inhibit learning for some. Luckily, online schools like Udemy offer an alternative in higher education, and home schooling does much of the same for grades 1 through 12. The point is that we all have different strengths and weaknesses, and these should inform our education, but they don’t. If they did, we would all be the geniuses we know we could be. I, myself, have a robust vocabulary and an encyclopedic knowledge of certain subjects, largely fiction, and I’m often told how smart I am for it. But, I’ll you the truth. I don’t feel “smart.” Moderately intelligent, sure, but I think the kind of intelligence I have is purely a result of being interesting in the English language and storytelling. Ask me about math, and I have no clue, because it bores me. That’s what I think is at the heart of the matter. I’m no expert, but life experience has taught me this “fact” and reinforced it time and time again.
So, how can we better our education system, then? Well, I think a good place to start is evaluating individual students to determine how they learn so that we can identify the best methods to teach them. And, perhaps, we could group students based on these different learning and teaching methods, because it would be difficult for a single teacher or professor to accommodate multiple styles of learning and teaching in a single class. Another thing that I feel is imperative for us to work on is simply trying to make the material more interesting. Again, let’s use math as an example. Math is something that seems to miss the mark more often than not, at least in the Western World. I think this is because it’s so abstracted from day to day life. Literature, for example, relies heavily on conflict to create drama and tension, and we experience conflict of varying types and degrees every day. However, beyond simple addition and subtraction, math isn’t that important to our daily lives, and so I think we could stand to find a way to make the connections more clear.