by Greg Krehbiel on 15 March 2013
I have a friend who says something like “when the pupil is ready, the teacher will arrive.” And there’s a theory of education that allows kids to learn what they want to learn — without forcing them to do math this week if they’re really interested in frogs.
“Grammar school” is based on the idea that when you’re little you need to memorize a bunch of stuff, then you learn to think and use that stuff later — when you study logic and rhetoric and so on.
Also, I’ve been told that there’s a certain, relatively short window in life where most people develop their musical tastes, and they don’t change much for the next 60 years or so.
The general point about these seemingly disconnected topics is that there are probably times in your life when you’re more likely to learn certain things.
With that in mind, think about college. Is that really the right time — in terms of the development of the person — to be in that kind of an environment?
A lot of people refer to themselves in their college years as “snotty,” “arrogant,” or “naive.” It’s also clearly a time when people adopt major parts of their worldview, fall for Big Systems, etc. People pick up some dumb idea in college and, like their musical tastes, it sticks with them.
Colleges are certainly “centers of learning,” but they’re also cesspools of stupidity. They are stuffed to the gills with absurd, unrealistic worldviews, crazy opinions about how to make things better, and, in short, ideas that are so naive they could only be adopted by an intellectual.
Into that mess we throw naive, impressionable people — who are at a time in life when they’re looking for a cause or a banner to fight under.
Is that really a good idea? I seriously wonder if it would be better to have a universal draft and put all the 18 to 24 year olds in military service.
-- 2013-03-15 » Greg Krehbiel