What happens when education is no longer a route to social mobility? And what happens when that situation was intentionally engineered…
Stop with the “playing field” bullshit already! [Education is] not a race. It’s not a contest. I’m not trying to determine who “wins” in my cell biology class. I do test “knowledge, comprehension, and analytical ability”, because I want the students to be prepared for the next course in the sequence, or for graduate/professional school, or the workplace.
If you want to demand grace under pressure, though, I can cover that. I’ve got students who are working two jobs to pay for college. I’ve got students from broken homes. I’ve got students who were poorly served by their high schools who are working twice as hard to catch up. If we must analogize it to a race, these are students who start 20-meters behind the other students, and [law professor Bruce] Pardy is complaining that we are trying to help them get to the starting line before the starting gun.
PZ Myers on education.
Reading this was such a wake-up; it only occurred to me after reading this that school had inculcated “horserace education” in me so thoroughly I hadn’t really questioned that it might, yanno, be kind of a shitty way of doing things…
Longer tl;dr: the lecture format is overall inferior when compared to a different method of instruction called “active learning”, however this inferiority is exacerbated in certain demographics, no prizes for guessing which ones. Basically, “textbook + lecture + exam” is the lazy, old-fashioned way of teaching. Now we know about better ways and, moreover, why these ways are better.
So, yanno. It’s not you, it’s the format.
Incidentally, adult professional-level education is almost always taught in the “active learning” mode, including at university courses designed to target professionals rather than students/academics (e.g. MBAs).1 In other words, when you’re rich and successful, the courses you take to make you more rich and successful are specifically designed so you don’t fail them. This is one of the reasons everyone in the workplace loves to go on training. You get some days off work and you get to learn something new in a low-pressure environment designed to make you feel like a boss. In other words, it’s basically the opposite of all the schooling you ever had.
- Or, specifically, Executive MBAs, which are MBAs designed for people who already have full-time jobs being, like, the CEOs of banks or whatever. ↝