13 February 2007

Radio Commercials

So, I'm listening to a radio spot about Challenger Schools, and it involves a boy who sounds about 6 years old, waking his parents in the middle of the night. He is, apparently, worried that he will miss school by oversleeping. The point is, that the school is apparently so good that he can't wait to go.

I say, "If it is so good, and if the kid is so smart, why the poof can't he tell time?!? Now, trust your mommy and daddy, and let us get back to sleep, or we will oversleep because our internal clocks are shot."

Another one is about a girl who corrects her father's grammar at the dinner table. "Could I have the potatoes?" he asked.

"May I have the potatoes?" she corrected.

Wise acre little poop. Shut your piehole and pass the taters. And Honor thy Father and Mother, or your days may not be quite as long as you would like them to be.

I was taught a long time ago that no one can teach a person who does not want to learn. I recognize the value of having educators who can motivate their pupils to want that, but just because someone can sing the States of the Union and tell you innumerable facts about potatoes doesn't mean they are learning about life skills, or that they enjoy learning.

Socrates, in his dialogue with Meno, demonstrated that it is possible that we actually don't learn. His theory showed that Meno's slave boy, with minimal education, was able to remember how to determine a geometrical calculation for doubling the area of a square. The moment of learning came when the boy said, "Upon my word, Socrates, I do not know!" This with minimal coaching and no actual dispensing of facts or information to the boy.
The point here is that it does not really matter what the learning environment is, the learning desire lies with the learner. As a rifle instructor, as a mentor of Boy Scouts, as a father, I have learned myself, that until the learner approaches the situation with their mind open, they simply cannot be taught. As a young boy, my eldest son used to regularly come home with information gleaned from the playground or a friend, and dispense it himself as gospel truth. Then, when confronted with accurate information, would adamantly defend his own source.

In any case, this rant began as a diatribe against inane radio ads, and I still get frustrated with them. Does that make me a bad person?

I hope not.

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