Thursday, September 08, 2011

Esteem Engine

imageDespite a few kinks, I’ve found a lot of great resources on Evan-Moor’s site thanks to my TeacherFileBox.com subscription.  But then there are resources I come across like this one, a reproducible book that teachers can print and cut out or kids can colour and read.

It’s only a few pages, but it’s from the school of thought that children should be praised and rewarded for even the most prosaic of ordinary deeds.  In this case, that means the child brags, “I am amazing in what I can do – I can open and shut.  I can sing and chew.”

Well, yay.

image I’m wading through John Taylor Gatto’s An Underground History of American Education, which is far more dense than either Dumbing Us Down or Weapons of Mass Instruction, and “instructional” materials like this stand out ever more starkly as proof of his thesis that the education system is not really designed to educate at all – it’s designed to unprecedentedly “pen” children into schools for however-many years while preparing them to be – not active, contributing citizens, but “human resources,” happy consuming cogs in the machine.

I am not given to conspiracy theorizing, and neither is Gatto (believe it or not), but when children are given materials like this as part of a reading or, worse, a social studies curriculum (“All About Me” “My World” and “Amazing Me” would not be atypical themes for a Social Studies unit for Grade One), it isn’t really surprising that they graduate high school unable to read or understand the world on a level that even average people could without any schooling 200 years ago.

Makes me glad I’m not a teacher, maybe.

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