学习啦【英语文摘】 编辑：韦彦 发布时间：2016-08-27
Anne Barrie's "Do We Over-educate Our Children?" reminded me that the German authorGunter Grass once said that failing his school leaving exams was a blessing without which hewould never have achieved the position he now holds.
I wonder how many other great men and women owe their success to having failed in theiracademic careers.
I was a schoolgirl in the 1960s - the time when it was believed that the future wealth of thecountry depended on the education of the young:
money was plentiful, new universities sprang up and great myths evolved to lure young peopleinto the academic life.
Three years later, I obtained a first-class degree in mathematics.
For some months there had been pressure to try for a further degree - the more post-graduate students there are, the more financial benefits exist for us.
My fellow postgraduates and I knew nothing of the outside world, and happily believed thatacademic life for another three years would enhance us in the eyes of future employers:
and so I went to London and began work for a doctorate.
Here, for the first time, I came across "mature students" - people who had left school at 16and, years later, taken A-levels at technical colleges and come to university.
Having chosen their subject with great care, and being more mature, they found a joy in theircourses unknown to most of us.
I have been working now for several years:
life has been very different from what I had been led to expect.
However, it is too late to change: the state of understanding will not pay to reeducate peoplecompletely.
As I think back, I regret that I did not fail my A-levels.
Zen and the Art of Burglary
If people ask me what Zen is like, I will say that it is like learning the art of burglary.
The son of a burglar saw his father growing older and thought, "If he is unable to carry on his profession, who will be the breadwinner of the family, except myself?
I must learn the trade." He intimated the idea to his father, who approved of it.
One night the father took the son to a big house, broke through the fence, entered the house, and, opening one of the large chests, told the son to go in and pick out the clothing, as soon as the son get into it, the father dropped the lid and securely applied the lock.
The father now came out to the courtyard and loudly knocked at the door, waking up the whole family; then he quietly slipped away by the hole in the fence.
The residents got excited and lighted candles, but they found that the burglar had already gone.
The son, who remained all the time securely confined in the chest, thought of his cruel father.
He was greatly mortified, then a fine idea flashed upon him.
He made a noise like the gnawing of a rat.
The family told the maid to take a candle and examine the chest.
When the lid was unlocked, out came the prisoner, who blew out the light, pushed away the maid, and fled.
The people ran after him. Noticing a well by the road, he picked up a large stone and threw it into the water.
The pursuers all gathered around the well trying to find the burglars drowning himself in the dark hole.
In the meantime he went safely back to his father's house.
He blamed his father deeply for this narrow escape.
Said the father, "be not offended my son.
Just tell me how you got out of it." When the son told him all about his adventures, the father remarked, "There you are, you have learned the art."
Down with School!
School is an institution built on the axiom that learning is the result of teaching.
And institutional wisdom continues to accept this axiom, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Most learning happens casually, and even most intentional learning is not the result of programmed instruction.
Normal children learn their first language casually, although faster if their parents pay attention to them.
Most people who learn a second language well do so as a result of odd circumstances and not of sequential teaching.
They go to live with their grandparents, they travel, or they fall in love with a foreigner.
Fluency in reading is also more often than not a result of such extra-curricular activities.
Most people read widely, and with pleasure out of school.
Everyone learns how to live outside school.
We learn to speak, to think, to love, to feel, to play, to curse, to politick and to work without interference from a teacher.
Even children who are under a teacher's care day and night are no exception to the rule.
Orphans, idiots and schoolteachers' sons learn most of what they learn outside the "educational" process planned for them.
Teachers have made a poor showing in their attempt at increasing learning among the poor.
Poor parents who want their children to go to school are less concerned about what they will learn than about the certificate and money they will earn.
And middle-class parents entrust their children to a teacher's care to keep them from learning what the poor learn on the streets.
Increasingly, educational research demonstrates that children learn most of what teachers pretend to teach them from peer groups, from comics, from chance observations, and above all from mere participation in the ritual of school.