Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Inculcating Norms

In The Homework Myth, Alfie Kohn deconstructs the rationale for assigning homework. He might just as easily be writing about schooling in general. Two quotes:
"The point evidently is not to train children to practice making meaningful decisions, or become part of a democratic society, or learn to think critically. Rather, what's being prescribed are lessons in doing what one is told and learning to work hard regardless of whether the work is worth doing."
"Perhaps the assertion that homework is "practice for life" is a partial truth: It's really practice for a life spent working in corporations. And perhaps it's not just about teaching skills that may be useful to a future employer; it's about inculcating norms, helping to produce workers who are used to, and will not complain about, the long working day."
Finally, a thought from Derrick Jensen, from A Language Older Than Words:
"Only recently -- especially after teaching at a university for a few years -- have I come to understand why the process of schooling takes so long. Even when I was young it seemed to me that most classroom material could be presented and assimilated in four, maybe five, years... I've since come to understand the reason school lasts thirteen years. It takes that long to sufficiently break a child's will. It is not easy to disconnect children's wills, to disconnect them from their own experiences of the world in preparation for the lives of painful employment they will have to endure. Less time wouldn't do it, and in fact, those who are especially slow go to college. For the exceedingly obstinate child there is graduate school."

1 comment:

  1. "takes that long to sufficiently break a child's will."

    if that isnt' the truth. Thanks for this post, it is always good to have confirmation from differnt angles.


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