30 October 2007

Q&A Is wanting to learn and just being smart the same thing?

from Yahoo! Answers:

Is wanting to learn and just being smart the same thing?

My dad is talking to my sister about her grades, and started dragging in other people. I'm an A student, and he was talking, sort of, about people who want to learn and all.
I am smart, ok, booksmarts, whatever.
But does that mean i want to learn?
I hate class, I hate school in general, I only like magic in my books, am i some kind of freak?

posted by arch_angeleo

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters (written by Don Berg, Attitutor)

They are not the same thing and you are not a freak.

In my view being educated means that you can perceive accurately, think clearly and act effectively on self-selected goals and aspirations. What classroom schooling does, in general, is inhibit accurate perception, muddle thinking and impose goals and aspirations (effectively inhibiting the self-selection option.) Of course, you might occasionally run into a teacher who is inspired and inspires you to overcome those limitations, but it's a rare occurrence.

I also have to point out in all fairness that many people succeed in achieving an education, in spite of their schooling. But that is because they somehow tapped into their innate learning potential and figured out how to extract what they needed from the system, not because of any property of the system itself.

The reason that classroom schooling is prone to these flaws is primarily because of the flawed assumption that there is some objective quality of certain activities that makes them educational. The truth is that what makes anything educational is the quality of attention that the learner puts on it.

It sounds to me as though the quality of attention you put on school work is basically “I’ll jump through their hoops because it keeps them off my back.” The real lesson they are teaching is that they have the power and you don’t, so you should just get along until you get an opportunity to do something better. (The problem is that they have trained you to wait for them to give you the opportunities.)

I breezed through school with a minimum of fuss but didn’t get grades as good as yours. I went right on to college because I didn’t know what else to do. Then, when I realized in college that I couldn’t fake it any more (and that I had both a talent and passion for working with kids) I left formal schooling behind. It took me a few years to recover from my schooling, but eventually I re-discovered the sheer joy of learning. That healing process informs my teaching and what I write about education, learning and teaching on my web site.

Below are links to a book called the Teenage Liberation Handbook. I recommend it as a beginning resource for exploring alternatives to what the mainstream of our society teaches about schools and schooling. You or your sister might find it interesting even if you are still stuck in school. What’s most important is that you realize that you are not alone, you are not a freak. There are lots of people who think and feel the same way.

I am also going to include a link to the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO), so that you can find other options as well. Hopefully you can find some supportive resources to help you make the difficult choices about what to do about it now that you know options exist.


Teenage Liberation Handbook on Amazon

Teenage Liberation Handbook Site

Alternative Education Resource Organization

My Web Site

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