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Author Topic: Whoa! Schools are becoming way too competitive!  (Read 4509 times)
MonCapitan2002
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« on: September 07, 2006, 02:57:17 AM »

I think placing so much academic pressure on these poor children at such an early age is extremely unfair.  I think such competitive schooling is bound to cause these children damage.  Here is the link to the Newsweek article about how early first grade and kindergarten education is becoming increasingly pressured and competitive in the United States.
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daschrier
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2006, 10:32:37 AM »

From what I've heard, japan is very competetive...much more so than the US.

I think it's interesting how schools are adding more homework, more tests, etc, but the kids coming out of school today are no more intelligent than those kids who graduated when my parents did, and are purhapse even less intelligent in one way or another.

My grandmother goes on about how kids these days have so much homework they hardly have time to be kids and live life like when she was young.

Life sucks.
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Tomara
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2006, 10:38:33 AM »

I remember my first years at school. I really enjoyed them and I don't remember any pressure. Those years gave me a good first impression of education, it's the reason why I'm still able to enjoy learning now.
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CastNuri
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2006, 10:48:59 AM »

I agree with daschrier: in spite of all the added homework and tests, the result kids aren't any more intelligent or sensible than the generation before them.

Hmm...I think I started schooling at the beginning of the whole crazy competitive era, 'cause I remember my parents starting my tuition in the third of fourth grade. They weren't as serious as the other kids' parents though. Nowadays people are sending their kids to tuition centres or teachers beginning from kindergarten or the first grade. They're like, four to seven years old. It's kind of creepy, really.

How many of those kids will really "grow up" and end up doing something they like instead of what their parents want them to do? Most schools and parents don't realise what they're doing to the children, I guess.
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2006, 11:39:28 AM »

I don't know, but perhaps they are trying to instill the value of doing your work and getting things done.  I look at my highschool years and even my college days now and there are so many people who do not know how to study or are just plain too lazy to do homework/study.  Maybe they are thinking if they instill those values when they are younger, it will continue on in later years.

Speaking of which, I need to go read now.

edit:  I do agree though that the article is crazy.  it's a bit too young.

edit part deux: I also wonder if this has anything to do with everything becoming a "global economy".  My professors keep saying how we aren't just competing for jobs with the people in our class, school, or country but against people all around the world.
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Jimmy
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2006, 12:37:48 PM »

I agree with the article completely. I had tremendous pressure and homework loaded onto me from about third grade on up. By the time I was a senior in high school I was so sick of tests and homework I didn't do anything my senior year. My grades dropped, and I ended up in a community college. Before that happened I was one of thirty kids in the state of Utah given the Hope of America award when I was in sixth grade, consistently scored in the top ten percentile on the Stanford Achievement Tests, and maintained a 3.97 GPA.

The pressure of "being somebody" when I grew up was too much for me I guess, because I was so disenchanted with school and learning that I wished I was brain dead.
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Dincrest
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2006, 01:55:54 PM »

Quote
In some places, recess, music, art and even social studies are being replaced by writing exercises and spelling quizzes.


This is worrying.  

Being competetive and displaying required competencies at checkpoints is all well and good, but the pile-on-more-work method isn't working.  The poor kids are working harder but not smarter.  

Even when I was in school, the gifted and talented programs were bunk because all they did was give the kids more homework in addition to their current homework load.  No wonder they hated the gifted and talented programs.  It was a chore.  

It sounds like the kids are constantly just given busywork, which makes school seem like an even duller, staler chore than it needs to be.  Homework and stuff is all well and good, but not when it's just busywork.
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Bogatyr
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2006, 02:03:31 PM »

I think high competition is great. If anything, it prevents the creation of extremely mediocre and weak people, as it is so common nowadays.
The children should learn since their early age how not to be losers.
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Hidoshi
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2006, 02:36:18 PM »

Glad to hear you're a humanitarian.

Get the fuck out.

</flame>

I pretty much sit on the same page as Neal. I have a lot of relatives from the far east and they'd be hard pressed to describe school as anything but one long stressfest. Now, while I would say frequent testing and whatnot is fine at a highschool level, when the brain is just about finishing its development, at an early age there simply aren't the mental faculties present to deal with so much. It's not even a matter of adjustment, the physical coherence isn't present.

Kids shouldn't be subjected to this sort of stress. It doesn't build character, and it certainly won't be beneficial to anything but rote mechanics. If you believe that this sort of system will prevent creating mediocre and weak people, go look at our high-end businesses. Do you call those people? Most of them do nothing but tread on each other. A person who can't stop to enjoy life, who can't form proper friendships due to competitive nature, who can't slow down once in awhile is the only person with an actual mediocrity problem.

All this sort of competition does is enhance inferiority complexes, or cement superiority complexes. It's retarded.
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Bogatyr
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2006, 03:33:02 PM »

I am not a humanitarian, have never been and won't ever be. I really don't like this whole "humanitarian" concept. For me it's sheer leftism and mediocrity disguised as compassion.
The world out there is not easy - a cliché, but true - and people without qualifications or redeeming features won't get far. To ignore this reality when raising children is not helping them out, but quite the contrary. To give them a false impression of a kind and forgiving world is not only wrong, but criminal.
When children are raised to be losers, they are going to be losers, and when they can count only on themselves, they are certainly going to fall behind the "human trash" who can only tread on each other and think about success.
And when they realise they are total human failures who can't stand on their own, it's more of them to feed on my taxes.
You see, if the ones raised to lose would simply vanish as soon as they couldn't compete with the ones prepared to face real life, then I wouldn't make a great fuss about it - you know, "The weak shall perish themselves" - but no, they will cry discrimination and blame everything on society to excuse their whole incompetence and failure, and then the leftists will enforce even more "social leveling", meaning more money will be stolen from me, and the less freedom I will have - economical or otherwise. All to make things even, and to make society more "equal and just". All bollocks.
What I really don't like is how people get more dependable on others and in the state each passing day, they can't stand pressure, they can't stand pain - I know people who go to the gym and then they complain they are sweating and feeling pain! Sweating at a gym, how absurd! - they don't have sense of self responsability, autonomy, always whining and blaming others.
When I look at our parents, then our grandparents, and even more into the past, I realise how pathetic and weak have we become. And then the leftist solution is always to make things even easier and less "cruel" to people, but yet the more leftism is entrenched into society, the more weak and mediocre people become. They can't seem to realise their "solutions" only enhance the problem. It's a vicious circle, and I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel, other than breaking the circle.
So sorry if I am not "humanitarian" enough, but I do hate mediocrity, and I think we should work to make our society healthy and prosperous once more, even if that means being too "cold hearted" or whatever.
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Hidoshi
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2006, 03:45:13 PM »

You seem to be assuming that I'm for the overtly nurturing side of things. I'm not. My preference is a dose of reality, but without putting too much stress too early. Mediocrity is only achieved if the person devalues elements of their life due to too little, or too much pain. A life of absolute ease is not preferable to one of absolute pain, nor the reverse. A competitive spirit does not make good people, nor does a lethargic one. Your stated assumption that competition would create better people is faulty. If that were so, we should all subscribe to a military regime and say that anyone who enters and graduates from that form of training is bound to be a good person.

But it's not true.

You made the comparison to a gym, to sweating and feeling pain. What good is the pain if it pulls the muscle, or worse? Then all your strenuous effort will be for naught. What's more is, that sort of pain is utterly voluntary. You go to the gym because you ought to, not because it is mandatory. Education is a whole other matter.

The issue I take with this system is that burdening a child with too much work -- especially the rote kind that dominates literary and mathematical skills -- does not benefit the child's character. Their understanding may grow, but not because of the sheer work. In my own experience, I've never paid any mind to work forced upon me. I learned nothing in one teacher's class where homework was severe, merely because the delivery was wholly inappropriate.

To use an analogy, you cannot expect to teach someone to embroider with a toothpick. While it may be feasible after some great struggle, the delivery is absurdly difficult, and as a result very little progress will be made.

On the other hand, you can't do the work for them. Just use the right tool: A needle. Then they'll get the job done right.

Hard work does not guarantee results. It isn't teaching them to be smarter, or better at something. All it will teach them is to be more anxious, stressed, and prone to competition. Further, you seem preoccupied with an idealism that is, for all intensive purposes, as practical and as helpful as Marxist communism. It's all very nice to say people should not blame society, that we should not bow to mediocrity, and there I agree. But a directly opposed regime does not help matters, because with it will come all new problems, equally as demoralising and stagnating as the ones they replaced.

Left and right extremities are hardly good directions to go right now.
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Bogatyr
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2006, 03:56:13 PM »

Good post Hidoshi, but now I will try Radiata Stories which arrived yesterday, but I promise I will get back to it.
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Professor Gast
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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2006, 04:11:57 PM »

Since it was mentioned above, I feel like I should comment on the issue of education in Japan. Granted I'm not talking about elementary school, but about the system in general: If high schools in Japan were so insanely difficult, then one would assume, kids failing classes would be common. However, it is not. In fact, teenagers generally have time to attend a school club in the afternoon, don't seem to care a lot about their senior high school classes and instead focus on preparing for the admittingly difficult (and in case of the top universities, insanely hard) university entrance exams in private evening schools, etc. Sure, the system has weaknesses, but it continues to serve the country well.
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Bogatyr
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2006, 11:03:12 PM »

Quote
You seem to be assuming that I'm for the overtly nurturing side of things. I'm not. My preference is a dose of reality, but without putting too much stress too early. Mediocrity is only achieved if the person devalues elements of their life due to too little, or too much pain. A life of absolute ease is not preferable to one of absolute pain, nor the reverse. A competitive spirit does not make good people, nor does a lethargic one. Your stated assumption that competition would create better people is faulty. If that were so, we should all subscribe to a military regime and say that anyone who enters and graduates from that form of training is bound to be a good person.

But it's not true.


I see your point, but then we should reach an agreement on what we mean by good. I mean, if we are talking about good, as in one who cares about others, one who acts morally and is bound to ethical values, then I agree being a highly competitive person, extremely disciplined, etc is no guarantee of making one a good person - although we should not assume it is a guarantee of being a bad person either.
But when I think about the advantages of such values, I don't in regards of making one good or evil, but in very many different aspects.
For one, as I said before, I think instilling discipline and competitive spirit into children since they are young, ensues stronger willed people in the future; better prepared to face the world; tougher individuals with more resistance to loss and with the ability to overcome hardships.
Secondly, I think such people are more prone to assume responsability for their own acts, have a higher sense of personal duty and a better idea of how to be a truly autonomous person.
Of course that all does not come with a competition alone. That's why people should be accustomed to bear the ill fruits of their bad actions since the beginning; that's why they should be taught discipline since ever. I think that all combined would only bring lots of benefits to any person.
Plus, I think in the military team work is viewed in a higher regard than individual competition.

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You made the comparison to a gym, to sweating and feeling pain. What good is the pain if it pulls the muscle, or worse? Then all your strenuous effort will be for naught. What's more is, that sort of pain is utterly voluntary. You go to the gym because you ought to, not because it is mandatory. Education is a whole other matter.


Well, I am one of those crazy fuckers who really like to have it the hard way in the gym, to feel pain and feel exausted and extenuate at the end of a lifting session. Not because I am a masochist of sorts, but because I do believe things that come of easily go away even more easily. There is no redemption without effort, there is no results without determination, self sacrifice and a strong will; the whole NO PAIN NO GAIN mote.
Not because pain is nice, but because you should be able to sustain pain if you are serious about something.
Sure, going to a gym is a highly personal thing, no one is forced to, but that was not my point. I mean, I take it seriously, it's a life style you know, always passing out at the gym - not literally - having your body hurting daily, always following a strict diet, not drinking, skiping parties because you are too tired, or because you need to rest for the next session, among many annoyances. But why do I do it? Because I feel it pays off, I see my determination and self sacrifice being recompensed at the end. It's not only about getting big, but the whole process behind it.
But why I am saying all that? Because I see absurd things daily. I already said I agree with you that going to the gym is a voluntary thing, but we have to assume one who goes to it either wants to get big, or wants to cut some fat - or then maybe for purely healthy matters - right? Ok, if you want to get big, the first thing you should know is that it is not an easy path, you must really be willing to make some sacrifices, thats why it is utterly absurd and pathetic that one would complain about sweating at a gym. Let me tell sweating is only the easy beginning. But if one can't stand sweating, stay the hell out of a gym. Sure, not everyone wants to get big, not everyone is concerned about it, and that's absolutely fine, so what is the deal? The worrysome aspect behind it is not that there are people who don't want to get big, but the fact that many DO, but are not willing to put a minimun effort into it.
You know, sometimes some tool comes to me and asks, "dude, what roids are you taking", and I always reply "a good dose of 'get real' - sorry but I can't quite put it into English -". The fact is, people don't have the guts to pursue their objectives, so they will always point their fingers at the bigger guy and say "Great deal, he is full of roids; I could get this big if I took half the roids he uses". Or the mediocre lawyer will come of and say the so much better lawyer is like that "only because his parents were rich and he could study in the best schools and universitiy". They do so because it is so much easier than to realise their mediocrity and utterly failure. They always want to take the EASY path, that's why they want to take roids in their first weak of joking around the gym - which they call "lifting". That's why they preffer to take things easily from their parents instead of working hard for them. Well, the examples are infinite, I should stop here.
And why are people like that? Sure there is inherent weakness bound to all of us, but surely the current state of things is helping people to "potencialize" their mediocrity. Too much welfare state, too much PC crap, way too many people blaming - I mean the spokesperson here - the others and society for everything; in other words, too much leftism. People are raised to be whiners and losers from the craddle.
You are dead on right, education is a whole different matter from gymnastics, but there is some very specific kind of "education" undergoing in the west that is producing exactly these type of people I have been mentioning. The same people who want to get big by taking roids and trolling around the gym; who want to be good lawyers but don't want to study their asses hard. Because they are "learning" from the get and go that competition produces "bad and ambitious people"; they learn that things should come easily and lightly; they realise they don't need to put effort into nothing, because there will always be people who will do it for themselves, and they are satisfied with small bits and pieces in the manner of a welfare check. Untill they decide, obviously, that they deserve more for their whole usefulness - read getting wasted all day long, or any other fruitful activity these people attend to - and then they start to whine - they learned to be whiners since they were children - to demand bigger bits and pieces of the cake. Then it comes the spokesperson of mediocrity - read leftists - and start to convince - aka brainwash - people into believing the losers are like that because they never had any chance, that society was cruel to them, when the fact of the matter is that they never stood up for themselves, and the gruel reality is that now we are going to have to stand for themselves, be it in the manner of increased taxes or whatever - because they are many ways.
And then more people are raised like that. As I said, it's a vicious circle.

Quote
The issue I take with this system is that burdening a child with too much work -- especially the rote kind that dominates literary and mathematical skills -- does not benefit the child's character. Their understanding may grow, but not because of the sheer work. In my own experience, I've never paid any mind to work forced upon me. I learned nothing in one teacher's class where homework was severe, merely because the delivery was wholly inappropriate.


You see, the biggest benefit these children will get from it is not even an increased understanding of maths, because, quite frankly, this is a mostly genetical matter, and everyone is bound to their natural limitations. But they will learn from the get and go some discipline. Furthermore, when people face their own natural limitations, but are taught to fight back, they become better and stronger humans beings. I have meet people worse at maths than me, and certainly some who were better at it than me, but those inspired me to work my ass hard, because I knew I would have to put twice as much his effort into it if I ever wanted to beat him.
That's what's so great about it. Being naturally superior to someone in something does not ensue you are going to get farther than him into that. Why? Because effort and discipline are equally as important as skill. History has countless examples of effort surpassing naturally more honed skills and talent. But that is only possible when people are taught to fight their own limitations, when people are not pat on their backs and said "that's ok, second is as good as first"; when discipline is not despised as some backward, old and useless concept; when people learn that being successful is good and that everyone should try to be on top, always, instead of spitting on "obsessed" - which I call determined - people who try their best.
We can't be passive when people are being raised into gutless conformists, whiners.
But to expect people to understand their limitations, but to not to accept them, to that it is required that they are taught to act like fighters. They need to be exposed to their own limitations and weakness, so that one can't exploit it somewhere in the future.

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To use an analogy, you cannot expect to teach someone to embroider with a toothpick. While it may be feasible after some great struggle, the delivery is absurdly difficult, and as a result very little progress will be made.


On the other hand, you can't do the work for them. Just use the right tool: A needle. Then they'll get the job done right.


Not to dismiss your analogy, let me further use it. After greatly struggling with a toothpick, surely you have to admit one will find stupidly easy to embroid with a needle when he finally get's the chance to use it. I would be willing to bet he would have an easier time than someone introduced to a needle from the get and go.
Waste of time? I call that learning to respect and to accept hardships, and learning how to value things, because, most often than not, they don't come easily. It's a great process of self learning and self evolution.


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Hard work does not guarantee results.


Hard work won't ensue you get what you want, because there are circunstances, there are limitations - as previously said - there are variables. Not everyone was born to be a great physician, not everyone was born to be a great sportsmen, but there is absolutely no way that someone who is really determined about something, and who works hard for it - and I mean real hard work - won't get at least near his aim, unless we are talking about a totally incompetent person, because like it or not, they do exist. Still, the great majority of people could get far, if only they tried.

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It isn't teaching them to be smarter, or better at something.


No, you got it all wrong. None can make another smarter or anything like that. That can only grow out of oneself. It's all about providing means and tools for people to grow and get better for themselves.
I believe the only way to achieve that is by undergoing the whole process stated above.

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All it will teach them is to be more anxious, stressed, and prone to competition.


For all that I have said so far, I don't really think that should be the case. For one, stressed? People some centuries ago were subjected to far more "stressful" circunstances than we are today, and yet they did just fine, if not better than we do.
Anxious? You know, once I read a piece of scientifical work from a Canadian scientist - don't remember his name, unfortunately - in which he compared Whites, blacks and Asians in several different aspects. I remember one of the things compared was the anxiety, patience of each Race. It was done like that, the researches would make the following offer to people: "A small piece of a chocolate bar right now, or the full bar in two weeks time". I don't remember if the subjects were children or not, but that's not important. Anyway, the Asians were found to be the less anxious, most patience ones, while the blacks were in the other extreme, and Whites were the middle ground.
Now we all know how Japanese society is competitive, harsh and unforgiving. It's a part of their Culture, but yet that has not produced insecure and anxious people, as you seem to believe it does.
Prone to competition? Sure, and that's good.

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Further, you seem preoccupied with an idealism that is, for all intensive purposes, as practical and as helpful as Marxist communism. It's all very nice to say people should not blame society, that we should not bow to mediocrity, and there I agree. But a directly opposed regime does not help matters, because with it will come all new problems, equally as demoralising and stagnating as the ones they replaced.


I agree 100%. Without getting into the merit of the marxist ideology, which I find repulsive, demented and sick, the biggest problem of leftists - hard liner commies, hippies, whatever - is their idea that as soon as we adopt their role model of society as a concrete reality, suddenly all the problems we face and all the human suffering will cease to exist, because they believe they have the answer to all humans burdens and misery.
However, you are wrong to assume I am like that. I don't believe my way of reasoning is the response to all human suffering and misery, because, and as a Christian I deeply believe that, suffering is inherent to the human condition and nature. As long as you are alive, you are not imune to suffering and hardships, no matter the type of society you live in, no matter your social/economical condition.
Of course I know new problems would arise, new issues would be put into the balance, BUT, all in all, I firmly believe we would have it better, because, if anything, we would be far more independent people and prone to individual progress and development - let's leave it at that because I am tired of all that writting.


Quote
Left and right extremities are hardly good directions to go right now.


Maybe, but I think the west is becoming increasingly leftist as the day passes, and I mean really leftist.
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Tomara
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2006, 02:01:33 AM »

Who says discipline can only be taught by introducing a lot of stress at a young age? We are talking about kids who are 4-7 years old! Of course, you shouldn't baby them (kids at that age like to think they are big kids anyway), but you shouldn't drill them either.

There are different ways to instill responsibility, discipline and other good traits. What about cleaning-up after you're done? Sweeping the classroom floor? Taking care of the class pet?

Reading, writing and maths are important and I'm all for giving kids the oppertunity to start early, but they are not everything a young kid should focus on.  

BTW I think taking unneseccarely difficult paths is rather stupid, not all challenges end well. People should take the path they can handle.
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