ForumTouchy Subjects ► What’s the Point of School?
Inspired by my complaints about my high school. In touchy subjects because I can see arguments happening. I just want to vent all this now. This is all anecdotal.

I love to learn. I don’t love to learn without a reason to use what I’m learning. I know this is probably fairly common, but what we’re learning in school doesn’t seem to matter. It’s just memorization. I’m taught how to use certain algebra equations and how to solve specific mathematical problems, but to what end? We’re not taught how the math itself works, and I know this is information I will never use. I wouldn’t mind learning it if we were given actual applications for it or explanations as to how stuff actually works, but instead it feels like we remember enough to pass a test and move on. my favorite classes have been my favorites because we did something with the information. Chemistry was fun because we did experiments and watched stuff happen and understood the theory behind it. I enjoy English because we learn about topics, then write or discuss them. We’re interacting with the information in fun and engaging ways.

But most classes and most teachers I’ve had don’t try to be engaging. We sit down in our neat rows of seats, don’t talk, just take notes and do assignments. So what’s the point? I’m only memorizing most of this because I’m not given a reason to actually learn it. The American school system deserves a complete overhaul for teacher’s and student’s sake. I just wish we were able to spend more time engaging with what we’re supposed to learn.

I want to learn about world events and what’s happening around us right now, but those are topics that are specifically avoided. Why? What are school districts and parents afraid of? I genuinely don’t understand how people would believe that banning the discussion of subjects like sex, weapons, drugs, politics, and race is beneficial to anyone. These issues won’t go away and ignoring them does fucking nothing. And it’s not like we aren’t looking into this stuff on our own. Almost every (American) kid now has a phone or computer or friends with phones and computers. It would almost be safer to discuss touchy subjects at school in a supervised fashion so that it can be assured that we’re getting accurate information and having meaningful discussions.

And this also leads into the fact that we, as students, are hardly encouraged to really think. There’s no lessons or classes about developing your own opinions, addressing touchy subjects, or any of that. We are genuinely avoiding major problems and skills in favor of learning memorizing historical dates and math equations. The whole point of a history class is to learn from history, and yet all of my history classes have been almost entirely just memorizing people, events, and dates. The whole point of a math class is to learn how and why math works, and yet we just memorize specific stuff for specific types of problems and questions. There’s no real learning or deep thinking happening.
  
Algebra (at least the basics) is eminently useful in daily life, for instance in personal finance. I'd say I use algebra at least once a week on average. I wouldn't want the average adult citizen to have no knowledge of algebra. Though honestly, I'd prefer everyone take stats and/or logic rather than algebra if the curriculum doesn't have room for all three.

Rote memorization is not useless, but it's certainly less useful than developing critical thinking skills. I think curricula (especially at earlier levels of education) tend to be heavy on memorization partly because those kinds of exercise are easy to construct and grade.

So I partially agree - if your educators aren't providing sufficient motivation for the subject matter, and if they aren't encouraging critical thinking and deeper understanding, that's a bit of a failure.
  
To teach you how to learn different types of things and how to socialise.

People aren't always good at their jobs.
  
Learnin
  
Because it would be awful if people just stopped teaching younger people the most basic things and yes the things you’re talking about in the first post count as basic.
  
Well, you get some interesting things. My school has a news show they do in the morning run by the students for the rest of the school. The teacher who does that also is broadcasting a school auction via FM radio to the city
  
caveat said:
I genuinely don’t understand how people would believe that banning the discussion of subjects like sex, weapons, drugs, politics, and race is beneficial to anyone.


Well I see two main problems with this. There're probably more but I don't have the brain power to think of them right now.

1. Teacher bias. We've all seen it, it's especially prminent in history classes, but you see it elsewhere as well. Teachers not being able to hold their own political beliefs and such back. The thing is, whether you realize it or not, most every kid in school takes at least some of their values from their teachers. Even seniors in high school and even up to college level. Now let's pretend that talking about those touchy subjects was allowed. You are going to be getting a lot of teachers (whether on purpose or not) introducing biases into their students' minds. I think we can all see why this could be a bad thing.

2. Peer pressure. Again, this kind of speeks for itself. See, even if teacher bias wasn't a thing, people want to fit in with their friends and other peers around them. This could very easily lead to one side of an argument being completely silenced because everyone wants to fit in. Even if they feel really passionately about something, they might not even try to argue for it for fear of being the odd one out. For fear of everyone hating them. This is also extremely bad, as it leads to one side completely dominating an argument.
  
Also, a couple quick side notes, many teenagers, even in 12th grade, still don't have fully developed brains. Also talking about these things in school would make kids feel as if they HAVE to participate in politics. Coming from me, a guy who absolutely despises talking about politics, this is not a good thing.

In addition, this would just be a breeding ground for hatred for one another, again, not good. If you don't like bullying now, then you would hate a school that talks about touchy subjects. That is bound to increase bullying.
  
You are going to be getting a lot of teachers (whether on purpose or not) introducing biases into their students' minds. I think we can all see why this could be a bad thing.
I sort of get what you're saying but not really. Could you expand on this?

2. Peer pressure. Again, this kind of speeks for itself. See, even if teacher bias wasn't a thing, people want to fit in with their friends and other peers around them. This could very easily lead to one side of an argument being completely silenced because everyone wants to fit in. Even if they feel really passionately about something, they might not even try to argue for it for fear of being the odd one out. For fear of everyone hating them. This is also extremely bad, as it leads to one side completely dominating an argument.
Well... this is how I was in high school. Voicing my opinions and having my peers tell me things like "Wtf man, are you a commie?" or "Pfff get outta here with that liberal bullshit" honestly helped me to expand more on my beliefs and opinions. I feel like what you're saying would just inhibit students from giving things like societal problems any thought. Right now and even back then, I was happier with not fitting that well based on my beliefs because it meant that I got to at least maintain a modicum of integrity. Besides, I feel like it's good to break people out of wanting to fit in. Even where I am now, people seem to constantly want to fit in with the rest of the crowd and I don't like that because know what? The "crowd" for the field I'm in is mostly full of people that I really don't like, whose opinions and beliefs seem sometimes antithetical to health care, and who are mostly just mean people trying to impress each other in a giant circle jerk. I know "fitting in" makes a lot of people more comfortable but it's not necessarily a good thing for you or a good thing for your beliefs. Don't be a sheep and follow the crowd. Regardless of if you're "some sort of commie" or a good ol' boy.

I'm not saying "This is how I was and you should be like me" because no, there are many things about how I was that none of you should ever be, but I do think that wanting to fit in so much that you'd rather throw away the process of expanding on your own beliefs is a somewhat dangerous thing and that's regardless of what your beliefs are- liberal, conservative, whatever.
  
Also talking about these things in school would make kids feel as if they HAVE to participate in politics.

Whether you like it or not, every adult participates in politics. It's better to have some education about how to do so, since participation is mandatory - not voting is still a political action.
  
caveat said:
I genuinely don’t understand how people would believe that banning the discussion of subjects like sex, weapons, drugs, politics, and race is beneficial to anyone.


Well I see two main problems with this. There're probably more but I don't have the brain power to think of them right now.

1. Teacher bias. We've all seen it, it's especially prminent in history classes, but you see it elsewhere as well. Teachers not being able to hold their own political beliefs and such back. The thing is, whether you realize it or not, most every kid in school takes at least some of their values from their teachers. Even seniors in high school and even up to college level. Now let's pretend that talking about those touchy subjects was allowed. You are going to be getting a lot of teachers (whether on purpose or not) introducing biases into their students' minds. I think we can all see why this could be a bad thing.

2. Peer pressure. Again, this kind of speeks for itself. See, even if teacher bias wasn't a thing, people want to fit in with their friends and other peers around them. This could very easily lead to one side of an argument being completely silenced because everyone wants to fit in. Even if they feel really passionately about something, they might not even try to argue for it for fear of being the odd one out. For fear of everyone hating them. This is also extremely bad, as it leads to one side completely dominating an argument.

You're talking about holding children in little bubbles and not exposing them to different worldviews and opinions. Your 2nd point is a non-issue, this is high school we're talking about.
  
Keeping children in bubbles of "innocent" ignorance until they reach adulthood is an excellent way to get ignorant adults who are not prepared to deal with various important aspects of life.
  
Besides, I feel like it's good to break people out of wanting to fit in.


I know, me too. I'm saying that this would only encourage kids to be scared of not fitting in even more. Because if they didn't conform to the normal thought on sex, politics, religion, etc, then they would be shunned by everyone around them. They would basically have to agree with popular opinion unless they wanted to be nearly completely alone.

Given that these subjects are so touchy, people are going to be very very passionate about them, and thus people are going to have very negative opinions about you if you say something that they disagree with.
  

2. Peer pressure. Again, this kind of speeks for itself. See, even if teacher bias wasn't a thing, people want to fit in with their friends and other peers around them. This could very easily lead to one side of an argument being completely silenced because everyone wants to fit in. Even if they feel really passionately about something, they might not even try to argue for it for fear of being the odd one out. For fear of everyone hating them. This is also extremely bad, as it leads to one side completely dominating an argument.

You're talking about holding children in little bubbles and not exposing them to different worldviews and opinions. Your 2nd point is a non-issue, this is high school we're talking about.


Yes, this is high-school where peer pressure is even more of an issue. The six people in my school who are liberal shut up about it in order to fit in. The three people who don't pretend to be something they arent have a severe disconnect from the rest of the school. Those who wear masks are those who sit alone during class. The only way liberal kids at my school can keep their friends is by pretending not to be, which often results in switching sides since kids here do in fact talk about it a lot.

Also, with that, everyone here is way to conservative to one let people talk about these touchy subjects and two give unbiased facts, even if it did become part of the curriculum.

Still, this discussion started on the topic of grooming being a banned topic. This shouldn't be touchy, but even the adults here are too uncomfortable talking about these topics that we just don't because uncomfortable is automatically bad.

Edit: I keep saying "people here" or "adults here". I'm referring to people/adults at my school if that was unclear
  
I sort of get what you're saying but not really. Could you expand on this?


I think we all hate the teachers who force their own political agenda on their students. It's annoying. Encouraging political talk in the classroom would only encourage teachers to keep doing this.
  
Keeping children in bubbles of "innocent" ignorance until they reach adulthood is an excellent way to get ignorant adults who are not prepared to deal with various important aspects of life.


Yeah, growing up in a school that encourages political talk, but is completely dominated by one opinion and you are never allowed to see the other side, is also another way to do this.

I'm not saying to completely erase political talk in school, I'm saying that what it is at right now is fine, and that we shouldn't encourage that kind of talk more than it is.
  
Besides, I feel like it's good to break people out of wanting to fit in.


I know, me too. I'm saying that this would only encourage kids to be scared of not fitting in even more. Because if they didn't conform to the normal thought on sex, politics, religion, etc, then they would be shunned by everyone around them. They would basically have to agree with popular opinion unless they wanted to be nearly completely alone.
That's the thing. They won't be "completely alone". There are always people who agree with you. We need to break people out of that fear of not fitting in. You're talking about nurturing that fear. High school is only four years of your life and it's not supposed to be completely comfortable, at least not if you're talking about this being a way to make students more comfortable with school. What you're talking about, i.e. not encouraging high schoolers to think and voice their opinions, that's just going to make it harder to do that when you're older. And that's bad because the world needs to hear your opinions because you're going to be adult one day pretty soon. I know it sucks, but you're not taking into account what's to come after.
  
caveat said:
I genuinely don’t understand how people would believe that banning the discussion of subjects like sex, weapons, drugs, politics, and race is beneficial to anyone.


Well I see two main problems with this. There're probably more but I don't have the brain power to think of them right now.

1. Teacher bias. We've all seen it, it's especially prminent in history classes, but you see it elsewhere as well. Teachers not being able to hold their own political beliefs and such back. The thing is, whether you realize it or not, most every kid in school takes at least some of their values from their teachers. Even seniors in high school and even up to college level. Now let's pretend that talking about those touchy subjects was allowed. You are going to be getting a lot of teachers (whether on purpose or not) introducing biases into their students' minds. I think we can all see why this could be a bad thing.

2. Peer pressure. Again, this kind of speeks for itself. See, even if teacher bias wasn't a thing, people want to fit in with their friends and other peers around them. This could very easily lead to one side of an argument being completely silenced because everyone wants to fit in. Even if they feel really passionately about something, they might not even try to argue for it for fear of being the odd one out. For fear of everyone hating them. This is also extremely bad, as it leads to one side completely dominating an argument.

You're talking about holding children in little bubbles and not exposing them to different worldviews and opinions. Your 2nd point is a non-issue, this is high school we're talking about.


Uh, no, I'm talking about NOT keeping them in a bubble. Once again, I believe that encouraging political talk in school would most likely result in schools being dominated by a certain political belief. Kids would be kept in a BUBBLE from the other political view and near forced into a holding certain belief depending on what their school believes in.

And yes, the 2nd point does hold. The desire to fit in is definitely a huge problem as it is, but this would just make it worse. As it is now, usually the worst thing that happens to you for not fitting in is people bullying you verbally. Which don't get me wrong, it's bad, but it can definitely get worse. Getting physically beaten up by a bully is much more rare nowadays. With politics being so touchy, you are probably much more likely to be a victim of physical violence than you were before.
  
Look I get what you're saying but even if students didn't talk about or write about politics much there's still going to be a dominant view point and having people voice dissenting view points is how we challenge the dominant one. Not doing it at all just lets the dominant view fester. That makes you complicit. Learning to voice opinions that people don't agree with, even if it others you, is a good thing because not doing that only enables a perspective to be dominant for longer.
  
Besides, I feel like it's good to break people out of wanting to fit in.


I know, me too. I'm saying that this would only encourage kids to be scared of not fitting in even more. Because if they didn't conform to the normal thought on sex, politics, religion, etc, then they would be shunned by everyone around them. They would basically have to agree with popular opinion unless they wanted to be nearly completely alone.
That's the thing. They won't be "completely alone". There are always people who agree with you. We need to break people out of that fear of not fitting in. You're talking about nurturing that fear. High school is only four years of your life and it's not supposed to be completely comfortable, at least not if you're talking about this being a way to make students more comfortable with school. What you're talking about, i.e. not encouraging high schoolers to think and voice their opinions, that's just going to make it harder to do that when you're older. And that's bad because the world needs to hear your opinions because you're going to be adult one day pretty soon. I know it sucks, but you're not taking into account what's to come after.


Well obviously not COMPLETELY alone, but damn near it if you are in a bad enough school. It would be hard to find others that share the same views as you, given that they would have been peer pressured into the same views as everyone else.

Also I guess I thought that this was obvious, but I must have been wrong. I do think that this could very much be a good thing in most schools. But in some schools, it would become an absolute nightmare.
  
"With politics being so touchy, you are probably much more likely to be a victim of physical violence than you were before."

This happened a lot during the civil rights movement and look where we are now. Black kids can go to school. In Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, American soldiers escorted 9 black kids to school under the orders of president Eisenhower. He had to invoke a law passed in 1807 (the Insurrection Act of 1807 is what it's called) for this is how important it was. There were crowds of people who had prepared and lined up ready to stop them and that's why they had to use the military. They were absolutely at risk of physical violence. This was one of the most important moments in the civil rights movement. It's things like this is why voicing dissenting opinions, even if it bites you in the ass, is a good and important thing that people absolutely need to do.

"Well obviously not COMPLETELY alone, but damn near it if you are in a bad enough school. It would be hard to find others that share the same views as you, given that they would have been peer pressured into the same views as everyone else."

This is the thing, man. Your reasons for this hinge entirely on what other people will think about you if you voice your opinions. You can't and shouldn't care about what other people think about you for your beliefs. That's one way to lose your integrity and your dignity.
  
"You can't and shouldn't care about what other people think about you"

I know, this is exactly why I'm saying this shouldn't be done. I believe it would just encourage kids to care about what others think of them.
  
But you should still be equipped to be able to voice your opinions in ways better than posting on instagram or something. YOU might be able to do that, but other people in your position don't. And get this, in a couple years none of that will even be relevant for y'all.


Like I hear you saying "This might cause trouble so we shouldn't do it." but I'm telling you that starting trouble can, a lot of times, be a very good thing.
  
It CAN, but it can also very much be a bad thing. Encouraging students to voice their opinions is definitely a very important thing, but politics probably isn't the best way to go about it.
  
So you're saying that they shouldn't have to put up with mild discomfort just for a few years even if it's going to hinder them for decades after?

Like this whole thing we're doing right now where we're saying we think what you're talking about is a bad and idea and sort of wrong: don't back down, keep going. It's good for you.
  
Forum > Touchy Subjects > What’s the Point of School?