Teaching Conformity

In Hautvoir, Local projects, proto drafts on September 24, 2015 at 6:55 am

I understand s-l-o-w with children who require the s-l-o-w approach. In their case, I can’t even say I mind most of the time. They’re learning, at their pace. Plus, they appreciate the attention and the fact you understand a need to re-check the position of each letter relative to another while writing down a word. Maybe personal experiences with temporal epilepsy help in that regard – they keep me from getting too judgmental, as long as some result emerges over time.

Days like yesterday exhaust in other instances. When dealing with average to bright children forced into slowdown mode by the school programs and how they are taught. Forced to learn dumbing-down and not thinking even one hair’s width outside the prescribed model.

I don’t know how many people live in London these days. I could check and would, if I were teaching a class in which I expected the children to give the right answer. Clearly, one English teacher in this town couldn’t care less. She wanted her students to prepare Q and A cards about England (how old is the Queen, what’s the name of the big clock and the color of the busses – this, for a class of thirteen-year olds). How many inhabitants in London? One of the boys in class shouted out: “Six hundred thousand”. The teacher wrote this down on the white board et voilà. Now, kids, spend an hour cutting out pasteboard and preparing your Q and A material. (I spent the hour clearing away bits of paper and clarifying whatever managed to surface from the blanket of passivity laid down on two heads bent over glue sticks and felt markers.)

Of course, we’re appalled when a so-called religious teacher tells young children their God will transform them into swine or monkeys if they listen to music. But oh, the soft, silent tyranny at work in demanding blue ink in the copy book and the memorizing of a phony number of inhabitants for London.

Never mind, as the teacher told the girls.  Who cares. Just do it.

Allez? Yes, if I can pull myself out of the sticky torpor. Allez, hop-hop-hop.


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