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Education and Health

  1. Apr 7, 2009 #1


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    I suggest that our hot-house system of education, with its cruel blackmail that children have only 'one chance' to 'succeed', is a major contributing factor to ill health in later life. If a person fails in his final exam at any stage, he may well see himself as a 'failure' in life and turn for solace to drink or drugs. In my case I became an alcoholic! Some cannot cope with failure at all and every day in the UK ten in their twenties take their own lives.

    I submit that our children should not be subjected to such an ordeal. Formal exams, on which so much is made to depend, should be replaced by teacher assessments and homework, which is so stressful for some, should be made optional, in order to ease the pressure on our young. It should also be made abundantly clear that there are always opportunities for study in later life. I myself, when I was made redundant at the age of 47, obtained O- and A-levels in accounts and did a course in computing, which led to a satisfying new career.

    Most of the knowledge we gain in school is in any case soon lost to memory through lack of use, and I don't see how one can be said to have 'failed' where learning is concerned, as we all learn something, if it is only the sum of 2 + 2 and how to conjugate the verb 'to be'!Once they have mastered the three R's it seems to me that our children should be allowed to pursue their thirst for knowledge in whatever subject they please, whether academic or vocational, Shakespeare or plumbing. For those who are prepared to be 'shop-floor' workers in shops, stores and factories etc, without whom we would not survive, they should be allowed, if they wish, to finish school early and make the most of their lives.

    If our children were given the freedom to focus on the subjects in which they are interested, I submit that 'standards' would rise to unprecedented heights, there would be a fall in truancy and an improvement in the general health and well-being of all our young. Having said that, I submit that the greatest knowledge we ever possess is knowing that we are loved and that the feeling is returned. I accept that compulsary education is necessary in any worthwhile society which aims to obtain a reasonable standard of living and for the natural fulfillment of individual talent, but that excessive pressure is hugely counter-productive and harmful to health. After all, the Ancient Greeks who taught us so much, had no pressure on them at all.
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  3. Apr 7, 2009 #2
    "Life Is like a Box of Chocolates... You Never Know What You're Gonna Get!"
  4. Apr 7, 2009 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Some people need help dealing with reality, but that is not the fault of reality.
  5. Apr 8, 2009 #4


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    That's because those who were actually studying back then were mostly filthy rich aristocrats with nothing better to fill their spare time with.
  6. Apr 8, 2009 #5
    There are many flaws in our education system, but what you propose may be even more harmful. Pressure is present beyond our education system. If you have to support yourself, or a wife and a couple of kids, Mr. Smith's monster geography quiz back in 9th grade isn't so bad after all, now is it? Personally, I find that formal exams are a poor indicator of one's abilities, since they often focus on rote memorization, so we can agree here. Projects tend to be a better showcase. However, how many times have you had to meet certain requirements and deadlines that are complete BS in your current job? Pressure is a constant. Either you adapt or you go away.

    If anyone can study what they want, what would we consider as the "standards"? Isn't this what most education systems do anyways? In the U.S., when students are freshmen (grade 9) they usually choose to pursue the vocational or academic path for the rest of the high school education.
  7. Apr 9, 2009 #6
    Well, disregarding the fact that everyone should have at least the same basic education, we need to look at the fact that people may not know what they like. I am a social science major who used to hate mathematics and took calculus only to get into a phd program. Because of that requirement, I discovered a subject I ended up loving. I am now taking as much advanced mathematics as I can, and devour books on the subject outside of classes. I NEVER would have discovered this interesting field if left to my own devices; it was only by the constraints and requirements of a formal education that I found out my talent in the area. Requirements are not bad; they give a basic training and exposure to many different studies. what in the world is wrong with that?
  8. Apr 9, 2009 #7


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    Of course there is nothing wrong with that, and I never intended to imply anything to the contrary.
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