Thursday, September 29, 2016

This Week's Revolution in Education

This essay will be most meaningful, I imagine, to those who toil in the groves of Academe. Laymen may be unaware of the tremendous strides made with remarkable regularity in secondary education. One of the latest is the idea of "blended classes," which means classes that meet only twice a week or so. Students are expected to do much of the course work on their own. I do not see why this tremendous notion--that students learn as much by meeting with their teachers only occasionally--cannot be pushed to its logical conclusion; hence this article.

NeverNeverLand Academy announces an addition to its many centers with the inauguration of the NO CLASSES AT ALL CENTER of PERFECTION (NCAACoP, pronounced “Baloney”).

This latest innovative, imaginative, ground-breaking, awe-inspiring, state-of-the-art, cutting-edge golly-gee gobsmacking it’s-so-brilliant-I-can’t-stand-it brainstorm of our Headmaster, Mr. Dick Pebble, a man already trumpeted throughout the nation—the continent—the world—indeed the entire cosmos—as the most brilliant pedagogical innovator since the people who said that filmstrips would change the face of education forever, involves the notion that in throwing out the bathwater you may as well toss the baby as well.

We know beyond argument that the traditional method used by high schools, “teaching classes,” is hopelessly obsolete. Expecting young people, in our frenetic age, to accustom themselves to punctuality, regularity, and listening, is obviously an anachronism, as of course is thinking that a “teacher” can actually get someone to “learn” something. Indeed, most of this traditional “learning” is mere accumulation of valueless “facts”. When all facts are easily available on Wikipedia and other websites, what possible point could there be in forcing young people to “master” such trivialities as punctuation, the grammar of foreign languages (or of English, for that matter), chemical formulas, abstruse mathematical concepts, or silly historical trifles such as whether the Civil War preceded or followed World War I?

Instead of forcing these young folks to go to “classes” where “teachers” dominate the room and use their decades of experience to instruct them, should we not allow “students” to organize their own schedules and pursue their passions? Who is to say that an intense interest in the welfare of whales or developing an app should not take predominance over Spanish verb forms?

Therefore, NeverNeverLand Academy has abolished all classes. Our Baloney Center will allow our young clients to do all their work “online” at whatever times they wish. Also, they will all serve as interns in local businesses (where they will be a useful source of unpaid labor in the least desirable activities). And they will all complete a Major Project, under the genial supervision of somebody, which will enable them to demonstrate poor grammar, inarticulateness, and the lack of basic knowledge they would have learned in traditional classes. They will also, of course, still practice their sports several hours each day.

There are a few trifling points yet to be worked out. The mighty brain of our Headmaster just scintillates with a myriad of brilliant innovations; you can’t expect every detail to be filled in until the Baloney Center actually starts to operate. Do not worry. Shortcomings will be covered up so cleverly that no one will know, or at least no one will admit, that they exist. Those “teachers” involved in the Center will tacitly understand that they are to lower standards, inflate grades, and generally ‘curate’ (i.e. reduce) content so everything seems to be working just fine.


Parents whose children are here primarily to take part in our grotesquely huge athletic development programs may rest assured that none of this innovative stuff will affect any sports teams. Athletes will continue to punctually attend daily exhausting practices under the watchful eye of autocratic coaches whose slightest word is law, and woe betide any kid who shows up a second late. (Indeed, since students will no longer have any mandatory commitments to attend classes, our enormous coaching staff will doubtless be able to schedule even more practices than before.)

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