13 Myths of Schooling and Education: Resources

Myths of Schooling and Education: Resources

There are popular “Myths” about education and schools that have become a matter of unquestionable belief for a large section of population during the industrial age.

See Changing Education Paradigms by Ken Robinson

Many successful and great people have busted these myths through their own personal achievements, examples, research and successful implementations.
Think of a child who comes from school and says that he hates maths.

What do you think that the school has taught him?

Of course, the school taught him to "hate maths"!

It never taught him "maths", but actually taught him to "hate" maths.

[Adapted from John Holt in "How Children Learn"]

Myth  Myth Busted
1. Hype about the role of schooling See the reality about schools in this dawn documentary with interviews by leading educationists in Pakistan:
“Parho Gay Likho Gay” Episode 1 and 2 Dawn News Documentary 

2. Intelligence is spread around the world according to normal distribution of a “bell curve”.

There are few very intelligent people, few very foolish people and the majority lies around the middle.

 Everyone has potential for greatness.

  • “Luqud khalaqnal insaan fi ahsen e Taqveem” (Quran) [Translation: Verily we have created man in the best of forms]
  • “Her fard hay millat kay muqadar ka sitara” – Iqbal
  •  Development of “Khudi” according to Iqbal
  • “Awaken the Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins
  • “7-Habits of Highly Successful People” by Stephen Covey
  • See Sir Ken Robinson in “Education Requires Revolution
3. A typical class room environment (where students sit on chairs facing the teacher standing in front) is essential for education Learning spaces need to be flexible, adjustable according to the requirements. Real life work environments are better teachers than the artificial class-room like environments.

4. Learning only happens in classrooms Learning happens everywhere at all times, effortlessly. In fact, retention of learning in classrooms is much lesser than the learning happening outside classrooms.

5. All kids must be of the same age in a class room to enable learning. No real life situation exists where all participants are of exactly the same age and competency. In fact, learning is better in situations where participants are of mixed ages and competences. 
6. Children learn only through books & memorization.
7. Reading, writing and arithmetic requires several years of education and is a very complicated process. 
  • “It only requires about 100 hours to transmit reading, writing and arithmetic” in John Gatto’s “Dumbing Us Down
  • Confirmed by prominent educationists of Pakistan with the addition of another 100 hours for a language other than the mother tongue. 
  • See Alan Kay shares A powerful idea of ideas
8. Learning is a boring activity, especially maths, which requires extensive practice and worksheets.
9. Regimented school environments provide a better learning environment “Lives of great men remind us that we can make our lives sublime”:

  • Life of Benjamin Franklin tells us that most of his learning happened on jobs outside the school.
  • Life of Edison tells us that this great inventor was self-taught and he spent only 3 months in school before dropping out. 
10. Mandatory homework followed by penalty for non-doers is the only way to cement the learning
  • Burdening the child with homework and robbing him of his time to play and learn in the natural environment is cruelty. It robs him also of time for introspection and reflection.
  • Learning happens when we are interested, willing and not threatened. “How Children Learn” by John Holt. 
  • How many of us can still remember the concepts that were drilled in to us through homeworks. SeeRethinking Homework and Truth about Homework.
11. Grading (carrot and stick) is must for enhancing learning.
12. Learning requires knowledge to be broken down in narrowly defined subject boundaries and delivered in measured installments. 
  • Learning is non-linear. We learn through processes that are entire different from the way an expert designs the curriculum. See Frank Smith’s “Insult to Intelligence”
  • Linearity of school’s curriculum kills creativity. See Ken Robinson “Schools Kill Creativity” at ted.com.
13. We need predictable assessment points with well defined contents to enhance learning.  Kids can learn much more than and more quickly than what we think is possible. See Ron Hunter on ted.com World Peace Game what 4th graders can achieve which many of our universities are unable to train the highly accomplished students. 


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