Poll: Do you think school merely teaches us class structure/behavior?
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View poll results: Do you think school merely teaches us class structure/behavior?
Yes
24 33%
No
32 44%
Maybe
9 12%
I don't get it
8 11%
Voters: 73.
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#1
I've been considering this a lot over the past few years of academia, mainly after reading Bell Hooks:
Do you think our education system essentially only teaches us class dominance?

We really don't use very much of the information we learned over 12+ years of schooling. Most of it is not relevant to our lives. However, we do get to practice our social norms, quantify and compare our peers' "skill" levels, watch how opportunities are doled out, learn power and authority relations (with teachers, administrators, and other students), and pick up on what society's expectations of you are and how people can shame you for it. Basically, it gives you a rubric for 1) being in-the-loop with privilege and 2) the kind of people that should be in that loop.


Thoughts?

(I think some teachers are exceptions, of course)


edit: I'd like to note that whether you think it is good or bad is besides the question; I'm more interested in whether or not the idea is easily to identify and explain. You can totally agree with the sentiment I offered and still think it's a good/necessary part of schooling.
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Last edited by vintage x metal at Oct 28, 2013,
#2
Nice post, progdude.
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#3
Well yea, a lot of people pursue higher education to get ahead in life. Not really too shocking.

I mean, my entire school is built around getting people into the workforce and building connections so they can get the best job possible once they're done with their degree.
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#4
As a poor council estate lad living in one of wealthiest counties in England...I dunno. Wouldn't say so too much but I went to a school filled with the other poor kids. All my friends went to the posh lads schools across town so I guess it might go on more there.

Bloody surreal now when we all come home from Uni, meet up and my mate who now goes to Cambridge is telling me about how he popped over to Prague for the week to meet a friend doing a placement there.
#5
I think were this the case (and I don't care to come to my own conclusion on that right now) then it would likely be a symptom of the problem rather than the cause. The schools are just doing what is shown to work in terms of preparing children for life in the big wide world, if that involves aiding them in coming to grips with the class system and their place in it, then so be it.
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#7
Quote by WCPhils
Well yea, a lot of people pursue higher education to get ahead in life. Not really too shocking.

I mean all ages of schooling, down to primary school and asking permission to go to the bathroom
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#8
No, you take out of it whatever you can/want. You don't have to keep the knowledge but it's there. For most people? I think that's definitely one of the more important things people learn by default by attending school, but you pretty much get that by being anywhere in society.
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#9
Oh I totally didn't really read the thread and thought you just meant within the students
#10
Quote by Ziphoblat
I think were this the case (and I don't care to come to my own conclusion on that right now) then it would likely be a symptom of the problem rather than the cause. The schools are just doing what is shown to work in terms of preparing children for life in the big wide world, if that involves aiding them in coming to grips with the class system and their place in it, then so be it.

Not asking whether or not it is good or bad, simply asking if it makes sense to you.
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#11
Quote by vintage x metal
I mean all ages of schooling, down to primary school and asking permission to go to the bathroom

Oh, thought you just meant like college/university. I don't know. A case could probably be made though. I think a lot of it is just to maintain so kind of order since the students far outnumber the teachers.
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#12
Quote by vintage x metal
I mean all ages of schooling, down to primary school and asking permission to go to the bathroom


I think that has more to do with learning about authority, an important thing to understand in nearly all walks of life.
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#13
Quote by Ziphoblat
I think that has more to do with learning about authority, an important thing to understand in nearly all walks of life.

Because of class structure, yeah? Authority doesn't make much sense otherwise. I believe we treat children as a lower class for a little while as far as their responsibility and aptitude goes.

Again, not trying to insinuate that this is a bad thing or a good thing right now, but you seem to be catching on to what I'm saying pretty easily and I want to make sure I'm not mistaken.
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#14
Primary and secondary school are about learning how to learn, and one of the best ways (perhaps the only way in many fields) to learn is to be taught by someone with superior knowledge in that field. It's not about class, it's about accepting the fact that some people know more than others, i.e. the teacher knows more than the pupil.
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#15
Quote by vintage x metal
Because of class structure, yeah? Authority doesn't make much sense otherwise. I believe we treat children as a lower class for a little while as far as their responsibility and aptitude goes.

Again, not trying to insinuate that this is a bad thing or a good thing right now, but you seem to be catching on to what I'm saying pretty easily and I want to make sure I'm not mistaken.


I don't think so, no. I think it's more than just class structure. Seniority, for example, plays a part. I can be of on a same level as somebody in terms of class structure when I start a new job as a 21 year old, but somebody who's been working there for 40 years and started off in the exact same position as me who has now risen to a more important role would be my superior. I suppose you could call this class structure, personally I'd call it letting the person with the experience call the shots because chances are they know what's best. It's not really surprising that this occurs though, I can think of no alternatives that would be as effective.
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#16
Quote by Todd Hart
Primary and secondary school are about learning how to learn, and one of the best ways (perhaps the only way in many fields) to learn is to be taught by someone with superior knowledge in that field. It's not about class, it's about accepting the fact that some people know more than others, i.e. the teacher knows more than the pupil.

Teacher can't teach because s/he knows more than the students. Teacher can teach because s/he can get the students to grasp the knowledge for themselves. Someone who knows 'less' than you can teach you something, and there is no way of knowing how to assess someone's credibility without knowing the topic yourself, which is pretty difficult if you're only source is your teacher
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#17
We really don't use very much of the information we learned over 12+ years of schooling.

Not really sure how you could believe this. Literally everyone who is a functioning member of society has to use the skills and knowledge they first gained in primary and secondary schooling throughout their entire life.
#18
you've put it in quite a cynical way. my experience in every school i've been in would not really reflect this.

i won't deny that this could be what some people learn most from their experience in school, but i see it as more of a side effect. i think the main point of school is to force people into the routine of "achieving" and "following through" with things.
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#19
Schooling is to prepare you for factory work.

Get up early, arrive at school/work and do a solid block of work, then lunch break, then post-lunch work block, then you leave.
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#21
I think it's a fair assumption that most people in their lives are going to need to know the basics of arriving to work on time, following rules, being properly dressed, talking respectfully to adults etc. I don't think learning manners is necessarily linked to class
#22
Quote by TheChaz
Not really sure how you could believe this. Literally everyone who is a functioning member of society has to use the skills and knowledge they first gained in primary and secondary schooling throughout their entire life.

We use some of those things, yes. I didn't say 'We use nothing from school'. I just said we don't use most of it. All of us use things from school.
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#23
Quote by vintage x metal
We use some of those things, yes. I didn't say 'We use nothing from school'. I just said we don't use most of it. All of us use things from school.


Some of the routines are probably quite embedded even if you don't realise you're using them.


I agree that some are crap though. The school I went to was obsessed with singing. We had a singing assembly at least twice a week. What a waste of learning time - I never ever sing hymns now.
#24
Quote by vintage x metal
Teacher can't teach because s/he knows more than the students. Teacher can teach because s/he can get the students to grasp the knowledge for themselves. Someone who knows 'less' than you can teach you something, and there is no way of knowing how to assess someone's credibility without knowing the topic yourself, which is pretty difficult if you're only source is your teacher


You can't really get someone to grasp the knowledge of something you don't yourself know about it.
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#25
Quote by Todd Hart
You can't really get someone to grasp the knowledge of something you don't yourself know about it.

I agree. I don't know what I said that would go against that, though.
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#27
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
i think the main point of school is to force people into the routine of "achieving" and "following through" with things.

I think that is class too, though. We're told that if we keep our heads down and work hard, that it will all pay off, because it is about what you produce. Really, though, if your authority figure doesn't like you then you are probably fucked regardless of what you produce, but the illusion is necessary to maintain the idea of class. The only people who can sidestep 'following through' are those of a higher class - and you are taught to behave towards the higher class or face repercussions.
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#28
Quote by vintage x metal
We use some of those things, yes. I didn't say 'We use nothing from school'. I just said we don't use most of it. All of us use things from school.

You said "we don't use very much." While that's a little vague, I'd argue that you use a significant portion of what you learned over K-12 education. Mathematics, reading comprehension, and writing are all used on a daily basis. Things like history, geography, and political science aren't used on a daily basis, but I'd say nearly everyone uses the knowledge they gained through those subjects at some time in their life. Sure, people don't use a lot of the things that they learned, but I'd say a major portion of what you learn is put to use throughout your lifetime.
#29
Quote by TheChaz
You said "we don't use very much." While that's a little vague, I'd argue that you use a significant portion of what you learned over K-12 education. Mathematics, reading comprehension, and writing are all used on a daily basis. Things like history, geography, and political science aren't used on a daily basis, but I'd say nearly everyone uses the knowledge they gained through those subjects at some time in their life. Sure, people don't use a lot of the things that they learned, but I'd say a major portion of what you learn is put to use throughout your lifetime.

What about the vast majority of the math you learned in high school, unless you have a math-related job? Even if topics pop up here and there (as they're bound to if they're being taught to the entire population), what we consider important information has many factors attached to it.

I'm sure the information pops up. I'm not trying to insult education. I'd like to be a teacher eventually. Some teachers taught me a lot more productive things about my actual life than others did, though, and little of that was in our class syllabus.
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#30
I think even if we didn't have school for 12+ years, there still would social structures, such as class. That's part of society, really.


What I think school teaches you is how to learn. What I mean is, even university degrees aren't going to totally prepare you to be a fully functioning member of a business or community. However, by learning, you gain tools that allow you to keep learning and growing -- thereby making yourself more valuable as both an individual and as a member of a community.
#31
do schools reinscribe particular gender/race/class structures, yeah, to the extent that they are run by certain people with particular agendas. i do not think that teaching kids algebra is really just an insidious plot to dominate them, though.
#32
Quote by neidnarb11890
do schools reinscribe particular gender/race/class structures, yeah, to the extent that they are run by certain people with particular agendas. i do not think that teaching kids algebra is really just an insidious plot to dominate them, though.

Intent isn't of much relevance It's the stuff you don't intend that can get really dangerous, yeah?
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#33
Quote by vintage x metal
Intent isn't of much relevance It's the stuff you don't intend that can get really dangerous, yeah?


Kind of like passing wind.
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#34
Quote by Ziphoblat
I think were this the case (and I don't care to come to my own conclusion on that right now) then it would likely be a symptom of the problem rather than the cause.The schools are just doing what is shown to work in terms of preparing children for life in the big wide world, if that involves aiding them in coming to grips with the class system and their place in it, then so be it.

what you seem dangerously close to advocating here is neofeudalism. A place in society is to be made as the result of our actions, not learned and adhered to. Naturally, I would suppose you fancy yourself as residing at the peak of the social pyramid.

The people that advocate others "learn their place" are often oblivious to their own place, which is often hardly enviable.
#35
Quote by vintage x metal
What about the vast majority of the math you learned in high school, unless you have a math-related job? Even if topics pop up here and there (as they're bound to if they're being taught to the entire population), what we consider important information has many factors attached to it.

I'm sure the information pops up. I'm not trying to insult education. I'd like to be a teacher eventually. Some teachers taught me a lot more productive things about my actual life than others did, though, and little of that was in our class syllabus.

Well I'm in my third semester of calculus right now, so yeah, I use it pretty much every day

I don't know. I see a lot of day to day use of high school mathematics, and I see a way more situations where people would be able to get through their day easier if they had a firm grasp of mathematics.

I just don't see the idea that education only teaches class dominance as having any validity. Those class structures are present throughout our entire society. The fact that they're learned first in school is only due to the fact that school is the first place where we interact with other members of society outside friends and family.
#36
Education taught me to be a chemist and to understand the physical world around me. The ACTUAL world. The ACTUAL chemistry. Any idiot can read up on the shit I know online but I doubt 95% of the people who do can even remotely understand what is going on.

That is what education is for. Understanding of complex things that you can't otherwise figure out yourself. If you think otherwise, you are mistaken. The few cases in where what I have said is wrong, are cases where people showed sheer determination that your average people does not have.
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#37
i guess so.

all i can think of right now is how my kindergarten teacher never let me paint one of the big posters EVERY OTHER KID IN MY CLASS GOT TO PAINT.
mugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmug
#38
Quote by vintage x metal
I'd like to be a teacher eventually.

Teaching in new york sounds like a nice experience (I think you mentioned living or working in that area), or in any other exciting/diverse city. I've heard that teach for america is pretty flexible if you want your students to focus on more practical applications of course material. They probably have better options there though.
#39
Quote by DamienEx1021
Education taught me to be a chemist and to understand the physical world around me. The ACTUAL world. The ACTUAL chemistry. Any idiot can read up on the shit I know online but I doubt 95% of the people who do can even remotely understand what is going on.

That is what education is for. Understanding of complex things that you can't otherwise figure out yourself. If you think otherwise, you are mistaken. The few cases in where what I have said is wrong, are cases where people showed sheer determination that your average people does not have.


That level of understanding is reached by people that are intrinsically motivated by a desire to learn. People who are naturally interested in a subject usually gain a level of understanding that is deeper or superior to someone who has no interest in a subject and is compelled to study it.

The fact of the matter is that schools are generally not conducive environments for the cultivation of curiosity in their pupils. If they could do this, then the rest of education would flow as a natural consequence of those children's curiosity.
Last edited by modus operandi at Oct 28, 2013,
#40
Quote by Masquirina
Teaching in new york sounds like a nice experience (I think you mentioned living or working in that area), or in any other exciting/diverse city. I've heard that teach for america is pretty flexible if you want your students to focus on more practical applications of course material. They probably have better options there though.

I actually had a final interview with Teach for America a few years ago and decided to continue school instead. Heard a lot of things from friends that worked for it that I wasn't too sure about (they weren't complaining or anything, it was more the notions that are instated in the program). Something similar would be interesting.
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