A feeble cry for change

I haven’t written much about anime recently because this winter season is unforgivably lean and weak (at least, from a general and personal standpoint). I still watch anime like Tokimemo and Red Garden, but those aren’t really anime that feature significant reflections on daily life: NHK has also finished its run, so I have had nothing to do but scrounge older anime series. Although I already have the complete series of Chobits and Black Lagoon: Second Barrage I have not started with them as yet. Sloth has been slowly infesting my brain, and it needs extensive fumigation. I guess that although I haven’t reached the point where even anime for me is a bore I have reached the point of being disgusted with most of the real world, and perhaps with myself reflexively. School has become more than a chore and information that enters easily dissipates after the classroom doors have been closed, to disappear forever in a void I know not where.

I guess this is the primary problem of education right now, especially in the Philippines. Students are not being taught how to learn; they are taught on how to become diligent. Those who get the marks are those who have programmed themselves to memorize every single topic and lesson that is being taught to them. One doesn’t even need intelligence in exams: all one needs is diligent and patient rote memorization, and one will get the high grade. Exams, no matter how analytical they were supposedly made, don’t really focus on utilizing the child’s inherent intelligences and that is why many are dissolute and discontented with school (as I am). They are not going there to learn: they are going there to note the pages of the book and the topics they need to memorize and then go home and chisel at the data they have to ‘remember’ or ‘recognize’ when examinations come. The system is flawed. Most of the people I deem intelligent in real life don’t really excel in the limiting and inhibiting environment of the classroom. Those who are ‘smart’ are just stuck-ups who diligently memorize (for the most part).

It is because most people don’t even possess an aptitude in visual intelligence (sight intertwined with memory is the primary sense used in rote memorization); some possess an intelligence in spatial objects, some in having a keen auditory sense; some learn more when they move more (kinesthetic), and some when they smell more (olfactory). This inhuman packaging of people doesn’t really give justice to them. This inhuman packaging has such geniuses as Einstein, Edison, and Faulkner as their victims.

Einstein (as I’ve said before) was told by a math teacher that he was an idiot and he’ll never go far with his life. It was because Einstein saw in the sky wonderful images of mathematical dynamics that he daydreamed. Right now, the teacher will remain forgotten but Einstein will have an indelible and unforgettable name in the annals of history. He has been named by Time as the Person of the Century; he has won the Nobel Prize and left a lasting influence on the evolution of modern physics.

Edison was also known as a quack and a cuckoo. His experiments were often failures: the light bulb’s filament (made of tungsten) needed a hundred of attempts for a suitable material before he got it right. He had the perseverance and the intelligence but he was not recognized well in the academic community. Yes, he similarly also had the diligence, but it wasn’t the diligence to memorize everything by rote: he had the diligence to explore new things, and this is also lacking in much of academia today.

Faulkner was a braggart. He bragged of many things, but of the many untruths he did brag about, his writing was not one of them. He did not graduate high school, let alone college; he wrote those classic Southern Gothic novels while at lunch break on the back of his wheelbarrow. He was rejected a teaching position at a university; ironically, it was the same university that pursued him when he obtained the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949. (I take these information from stock knowledge alone; I ask pardon if and when I’ve made a mistake.) Genius, however, shines when it shines.

I think my disgust with the academe stems from the fact that as much as they say they avoid compartmentalization, it still is a pervasive problem, and I don’t see any effort from most teachers and professors. Only some, like my English teacher (which I incidentally got three out of four A’s from), was smart enough to try and exploit the different intelligences that we as a class possessed. He was among the few who did not want us to memorize the data he shared to us, but to internalize it and then reflect upon it. Although a lot of teachers say that they do these things, they don’t. In fact, most of them seem like the old records, just repeating and reiterating the things that they’ve learned without even adding spice to them. To use an analogy, they spit the gum that they were chewing on for quite some time and give it to another (the student) to chew on as well. And all the student needs to do is chew. He cannot spit the gum or ask why he needs to chew the gum. He cannot say that the gum is disgusting, that the gum is ancient or that it contains nose hairs. He must keep on chewing it, and preferably swallows it. This is the problem. There is no freedom to express one’s discontent with the academe.

I am not saying that my intelligence is underappreciated; I’m not even saying I’m smart. But this is a problem I’ve come vis-a-vis with more and more constantly in my increasing disillusionment with the method of education I am and have been under. The teacher does not take note of the student’s strength or weaknesses; for example, although I do know I do not excel in limited and highly specialized (and compartmentalized) biology subjects, I think I can hold my own when writing in English, or when asked general trivia, or in general physics or chemistry. I would like it if these traits or boons of mine were utilized to make me better in Biology. For example, allow me to write an essay on something related to Biology for extra work to allay my rapidly declining class standing. It’s the little things like these that I can’t find with most teachers that irritates me. Yes, it does need a little extra work for their part as well, but from a holistic standpoint, if the teachers initiate actions such as these it would make classroom education a lot more fun and a lot less boring.

13 Responses to “A feeble cry for change”

  1. Anga Says:

    There are two things I need in order to learn properly. A chance to try it myself through examples and pictures mixed with the text. If all that teacher does is talk whole lesson in the front of class for me it’s as useful as sleeping in the bed, tomorrow I don’t remember anything.

    I kind of miss one of my teacher who taught English and German. She demanded a lot and I probably had most homework from those classes, but at same time she was fair and nice person using different ways to teach languages. Pretty much ideal teacher you can get and I have learned to appreciate those when bad ones hinder your learning so much. Though it’s tough job to have, not only you have to know your field well, but also know lot of social skills and take responsibility that parents tend to avoid nowadays.

  2. Skav Says:

    Reflexion about the relativity of “genius” :
    let us suppose Einstein had listened to his math teacher, and abandoned any research. Would relativity not have been “discovered” ? It sure would, maybe a bit later, probably by someone we never heard of.

    Do you happen to have sold your soul to 4chan ? I noticed the same disgust with real life 😮

  3. Michael Says:

    You have the same disgust with real life? I sold my soul to what they call … SLOTH.

  4. Darkshaunz Says:

    The way I see it, you don’t seem like you need the conventional education systems available to you in your home country. Its evident in your writing composure and prose that you are well-versed in many fields and possess the drive and resources to execute what you wish to express.

    In relation to your restrictive freedom in self-expression, then we are all equally glad that you have your blog to vent your frustrations, confess to your personal shortcomings and freely discuss what you wish. A mastery of which is unravelled in this very entry. Although it would be ideal for the teachers to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, my conversations with you has indicated to me that you give yourself less credit than you deserve.

    Plus, who better than you to point out and snipe small errors in my unseemingly juggernaut sized posts than one of the most well-vocabulated individuals in the anime blogging community? Always a Pleasure and many regards,

    Darkshaunz.

    PS: You’re a smart guy, so don’t let your education system get you down.

  5. Lupus Says:

    LULZ un-edited IRC chatlog.

    [23:05] so
    [23:05] yes?
    [23:05] about that post of yours
    [23:06] first two unrelated points
    [23:06] Yes?
    [23:06] 1) Mushishi
    [23:06] I know
    [23:06] 2) maybe you should rename your blog to Academie Otaku
    [23:06] Why?
    [23:06] lol
    [23:07] too much intelligence
    [23:07] anyway, about the post
    [23:07] Thanks. *blushes*
    [23:07] your idea is very much like communism
    [23:07] it’s a good idea, but it’ll never work in practice
    [23:08] Yeah
    [23:08] I know
    [23:08] in most form of common education, compartmentalisation is unavoidable
    [23:08] It works with some well-thinking teachers
    [23:08] very, very rarely
    [23:08] But really, I’m just well-wishing
    [23:08] some teachers can make it work
    [23:08] but when you’re facing 40 different people in a room
    [23:08] the faces just blur
    [23:09] they become ‘a group of people’ instead of persons
    [23:09] Yeah, you have a point there.
    [23:09] not to mention most teachers teach multiple classes
    [23:09] But some teachers just have that edge in them
    [23:09] let’s say they teach 10 classes a year, and works for 40 years
    [23:09] That although they don’t really get close to a lot of students
    [23:09] they … manage to move quite a few people
    [23:10] yeah, but I would say that you’re very lucky to meet teachers like that
    [23:10] Yeah
    [23:10] Have you?
    [23:10] it’s simply not cost-effective to have a teacher-student ratio where every teacher can notice every student’s strengths and weaknesses
    [23:10] some people just don’t stand out
    [23:11] to answer your question, I’m one of those people that don’t stand out =)
    [23:11] Do you think I do?
    [23:11] so no, I’ve never met a teacher that particularly paid special attention to me
    [23:11] Darn
    [23:11] you probably do in English class
    [23:11] Well …
    [23:11] and according to your post, you probably in biology class as well, but in a bad way lol
    [23:12] Tbh I do in a lot of classes
    [23:12] stand out in a bad way?
    [23:12] Physics, chemistry, english, literature, social science
    [23:12] No.
    [23:12] stand out in a good way then
    [23:12] I mean in a way where teachers like me
    [23:12] Com. Sci.
    [23:12] stop complaining then lol
    [23:12] I did, but now I just suck
    [23:12] I SUCK
    [23:12] Really
    [23:13] another thing about noticing students
    [23:13] it’s NECESSARY
    [23:13] for students to be given equal oppurtunity, and to be judged on an equal plane
    [23:13] explain
    [23:13] Yeah
    [23:14] But that ‘equal opportunity’ is ironic; this leads to compartmentalization, which in turn leads to a vicious cycle
    [23:14] but if you’re judging different students by different standards, the whole education system falls apart
    [23:14] especially in standardised tests
    [23:14] Which is why the necessity of grades
    [23:14] Good point
    [23:14] again, it’s the problem of cost
    [23:15] Yeah
    [23:15] it’s impossible to achieve a perfect teacher-to-student ratio
    [23:15] I guess the best solution that is being implemented is home study
    [23:15] Some who do it excel far better than in regular school
    [23:15] yeah but I imagine home study would be expensive
    [23:16] Ah
    [23:16] Good point there
    [23:16] to minimise cost, the current school system where a large number of students are assigned to each teacher arose
    [23:16] sure there are the problems you noted, but for people who can’t afford better teacher-to-student ratio, they have to make do
    [23:16] But there are also schools which cater to the different prominent intelligences of people
    [23:17] yeah, but those are very few
    [23:17] and probably difficult to get into
    [23:17] elite schools
    [23:17] I just think that I guess a lot of people have this elitist thinking that they have to go to our school or stuff
    [23:17] Our school is elite
    [23:17] haha
    [23:17] Or so it says
    [23:17] my school was pretty elite
    [23:17] before I entered it
    [23:17] HAHA
    [23:17] ranked 8th in the state when I went in at year 5
    [23:17] when I graduated, ranked below 50th
    [23:17] LOLZ
    [23:18] lolol
    [23:18] hahaha
    [23:18] it’s a big private school
    [23:18] Of course, that isn’t your fault.
    [23:18] so we had better teacher-to-student ratio
    [23:18] I hope not
    [23:18] I did pretty well in my finals
    [23:18] Is your name Kenneth?
    [23:18] yeah
    [23:18] Chu?
    [23:18] yeah
    [23:18] Kenneth Chu?
    [23:18] haha
    [23:18] that’s my real name
    [23:18] I see
    [23:18] the one you see in IRC
    [23:18] Hi
    [23:18] if you /whois me
    [23:18] I don’t want to call you Lupus
    [23:19] it sounds diseased
    [23:19] you can call me Ken or Kenny if you want
    [23:19] lol
    [23:19] Thanks
    [23:19] :0
    [23:19] it’s latin for wolf -_-
    [23:19] So, Ken
    [23:19] haha
    [23:19] but it seems the disease meaning is far more well-known orz
    [23:19] I get your point, but there are some teachers who are just strikingly spontaneous and brilliant
    [23:19] yep
    [23:19] yeah
    [23:19] But they are really few in number
    [23:19] but there are always people who stand out in any field
    [23:20] usually people who have a passion for what they do
    [23:20] Don’t you think, however, that it’s easy enough to obtain the strengths and weaknesses of a student?
    [23:20] Like for example, get a paper with their strengths and weaknesses.
    [23:20] probably not when you see them only 5 hours a week, in classes larger than number of 40
    [23:20] you have to know a person pretty well to see, imo
    [23:21] That’s the problem
    [23:21] say someone is doing horrendously at maths
    [23:21] 40+ classes are barely manageable
    [23:21] We were at about 20 or so so it was
    [23:21] yeah
    [23:21] our classes were around 26-27 in number
    [23:21] in the more ‘elite’ classes, such as the top maths class
    [23:21] That allows for focusing
    [23:21] I remember we only had about 14 students
    [23:22] Yes, btw I belonged to the elite class in English.
    [23:22] it’s an investment on the part of theh school
    [23:22] I forgot saying that.
    [23:22] regardless of what you want, a school is still a business
    [23:22] GOOD point.
    [23:22] if the students get good grades, it’s a good advertisement for them
    [23:22] so they give the good students more attention, hoping they’d do even better
    [23:23] I was thinking, even when I was still young that I’d make a school or sth that had only three students with free everything.
    [23:23] lol
    [23:23] I’d work in the morning and teach them for three hours in the night.
    [23:23] a nice dream, but still a dream
    [23:23] Well, I have to get rich first.
    [23:23] yeah, you will
    [23:23] Don’t say that …
    [23:23] anyway I was saying, usually those people who excel at a field are passionate
    [23:23] I don’t have any passion for this course of mine right now.
    [23:23] how many people do you think go into teaching because they want to?>
    [23:24] because it’s their dream?
    [23:24] I *think* I’ll do better at an English course later on.
    [23:24] how many stay passionate?
    [23:24] lol no
    [23:24] I see
    [23:24] have you read GTO?
    [23:24] It needs passion
    [23:24] No
    [23:24] haha read it
    [23:24] it’s great
    [23:24] He went into teaching because he wanted to, right?
    [23:24] two chapters are devoted to a teacher who lost his passion for teaching, and how he found it again
    [23:24] lol no
    [23:25] he went into teaching because he wanted to bang high school girls =P
    [23:25] but he’s passionate
    [23:25] hahaha
    [23:25] yeah
    [23:25] was he able to bang any?
    [23:25] haha
    [23:25] he only got to teach a middle school
    [23:25] 14 year olds lol
    [23:25] haha
    [23:25] he could’ve banged on though
    [23:25] it he wanted
    [23:25] yeah
    [23:25] *one
    [23:25] you should read it
    [23:26] everyone fell in love with him
    [23:26] he’s GAR
    [23:26] i know
    [23:26] he’s one of the GARest characters ever
    [23:26] i watched about the first fifteen eps of the anime
    [23:26] I haven’t seen the anime
    [23:26] but the manga is definitely a classic
    [23:27] Yeah
    [23:27] download it
    [23:27] or even better, buy it if you can
    [23:27] and so is the live action
    [23:27] NO
    [23:27] don’t you have local publishers?
    [23:28] um I think I had other points
    [23:28] but I’ve forgotten them now
    [23:28] continue
    [23:28] oh right
    [23:28] ‘There is no freedom to express one’s discontent with the academe.’
    [23:28] But I hope you can post your coherent stuff there … to supplement this smart chat
    [23:28] Smart = meaning you
    [23:29] I think that depends on how much power the school gives to the student
    [23:29] LULZ no
    [23:29] not gonna edit this
    [23:29] maybe I’ll just copy-paste thsi chat log
    [23:29] NUUU
    [23:29] and flood your comment box
    [23:29] haha
    [23:29] np
    [23:29] anyway, order is necessary in a class room
    [23:30] Yes.
    [23:30] in order to get the most utility out of a set amount of time teaching
    [23:30] I guess you can complain outside of class, but again, it depends on your teacher
    [23:30] Some teachers, though, teach for only 30 minutes and then utilize the rest of the time for some other activities and still drive a lot of points home
    [23:30] if you’re lucky and have a good teacher, you probably don’t need to complain in the first place
    [23:31] haha that reminds me
    [23:31] my maths teacher for year 11 and 12
    [23:31] I am complaining because I’m filled with regular joes
    [23:31] he’d teach us the material, then go for a coffee/smoke break
    [23:31] and come back 20minutes to half an hour later
    [23:31] um, some schools solve that by seperating classes by grades
    [23:32] like the maths class I was talking about, our teacher was able to do that because almost everyone understood after 1 explaination
    [23:32] and then?
    [23:32] so he can teach it once then go do whatever
    [23:32] *regular joe teachers
    [23:32] oh regular joe teachers
    [23:32] well bad luck =(
    [23:33] there’s nothing you can do to change that
    [23:33] worse than that, really
    [23:33] you try to stay attentive but everything just flows out after class
    [23:34] yeah
    [23:34] you’re extremely lucky if you get a good teacher
    [23:34] very, very rae
    [23:34] I wrote that to free myself from the really bad feeling I felt after morning today.
    [23:34] and lamentably, no Onizukas =(
    [23:35] anyway I’m going to copy-paste this chatlog into your blog now
    [23:35] haha
    [23:35] sure, be my guest
    [23:35] haha
    [23:35] :)
    [23:35] soooo gonna get caught by Spam Karma or whatever filter you have
    [23:35] I can filter it back
    [23:35] No links in here
    [23:35] But w/e
    [23:35] 😀
    [23:35] haha
    [23:35] GL HF

  6. Darkshaunz Says:

    Long comment is LOOOONG Lupusss.

  7. Michael Says:

    That was an unedited conversation between me and him. He really did what he planned to do. I didn’t expect that. Anyway, Ken does have some notable points, but really – even just doing the little things like asking for a piece of paper for students to note their relative strengths and weaknesses – that’s enough to help, right? I mean, I don’t believe in failing students unless they really deserve it because for the most part the teacher is also at fault. If the teacher just passes on the knowledge like an ass chewing hay, it’s still going to be undigested hay when it reaches the student. It’s all going to flow out by the end of the class session, and it’s happened to me. It’s not that I ask for instantaneous and radical change – I know that all the points Ken (Lupus) pointed out to me are cogent and pertinent points, but doing small steps like the one I’ve mentioned will really help the student avoid failure. Everyone possesses different skills – no one has a right to fail them just because they are unable to memorize as intently as other students, although the teacher has a right to do so if the student himself is blatantly slacking off as that is a form of disrespect. Why not utilize, however, the things where the student is good at? Why not?

  8. retsgip Says:

    I pretty much said the same thing as Lupus I guess.

    We already had a nice little convo all about it :)

  9. akanie Says:

    if you like goofy stuff and samurai you should check out gintama! it’s one of my all time fav. and school rumble is good and genshigin. I don’t know if you haven’t checked those out but it will give you something to do.

  10. akanie Says:

    if you like goofy stuff and samurai you should check out gintama! it’s one of my all time fav.

  11. akanie Says:

    ok never mind. you have seen school rumble and genshigin. heh heh *cough* sorry

  12. JerryBrightonhammer Says:

    What in the name of Jerry Brightonhammer was that all about?
    I dont’ know but it doesn’t make sense to me.

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