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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Education - making us smarter.... or is it?

Hi everyone

Shall I list my gripes for the week? Actually the last couple of days have just been peachy when it comes to making Ashleigh bitter at the world. 

Firstly, as background information - I'm very tired. Yes I know that it is rare for me not to be tired, but it does impact on my life and my tether tends to get very short when I am more tired than usual. Although I will acknowledge that it is my fault, as I went out on Saturday night (cocktail party with the girls, then dancing the night away at a club - bliss), didn't get to sleep until 3.30am and then got up at 8.30, went out for breakfast with my mum (she is a firm believer that going out for breakfast in the city or Freo is the ultimate in city living and so we do it every time we catch up), then went to my grandparents (who just got back from Slovinia and Greece) and had to spend the entire day being chatty and smiley and generally acting like the prodigal granddaughter I am and of course, instead of going to bed early like a good girl and like I planned, as soon as an invite from Drunken Leopard came to play Wii in his flat, I went and ended up there till 12. But it wasn't an entirely fruitless day, as I did beat Horny Frog on Mario Kart on his favourite track (actually I came 1st) when I normally barely finish the race (I simply do not have video game skills - although I'm very enthusiastic). The victory was made so much sweeter by the fact Horny Frog was also very tired and therefore grumpy and subsequently sulked all evening :). Yes I'm still gloating 2 days later.

Then, last night I had the lovely Uni Games boys in the village and they were playing drinking games outside my flat. I swear if I have to hear one more rendition of the drinking song 'XXX is the captain of the ship, captain of the ship' or the highly intelligent 'tits out for the boys, tits out for the boys' chant, I will kill someone. So I have discovered that I have control issues and thus this situation made me very tense as I could not control any aspect of it. And the insomnia begins - even after they finished. Gripe number 1 complete.

Gripe number 2. 
The TAFE education system in Western Australia is appalling - I believe. Yes I am a bit of a snob and do think that university degrees reign supreme over Tafe diplomas/certificates but I can see (as any normal person could) that they are very good for people who don't necessarily want to complete a degree or want to get into a trade etc. I have almost zero time for people who do not want to complete any further education and even less for those who voluntarily drop out in high school - and do nothing. 

Anyway, I recently began a Tafe course to complement my degree (see I can see the point of tafe!) - a Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety. So I've been doing it externally, just one unit at a time, fitting it in around my degree. Today was one of those fitting it in times. I thought I would begin the second assignment (an essay/report type thing) by reading the sample assignment they had so thoughtfully provided. Well, I thought it was thoughtful until I read it carefully and it turned out they had just repeated the same 3 sentences 27 times!! I called up the lecturer and said that this assignment did not help me in any way at all and she told me that the words are just there to indicate that you have to put words under those headings, and in fact, the "sample assignment" isn't even the one that corresponds to my unit - its for a different unit. Now my big question is this - why even put it in there? The answer was that people don't realise you have to put words under the headings, and if the TAFE people only put 1 set of 3 sentences under a heading as opposed to 4 then people wouldn't realise that they had to put more than 3 sentences in. 

So this is adult education (as I was so kindly informed - she also spoke to me like I was an idiot - which I REALLY do not appreciate), and you are expected to work things out for yourself. But not enough that you might figure out that you need to put words under your headings. 
Is this 'adult education' really making us smarter? Or is it merely making us know more facts, but waste away our common sense by not letting us make decisions ourselves? Personally I have always been the kind of person who likes to work things out for themselves by using COMMON SENSE. 

Anyway there is my rant. Below are a couple of my favourite education quotes:

"There is nothing sadder in life than the waste of human potential. The purpose of evolution is to raise us out of the mud, not have us grovelling in it" Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider

"Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance" Will Durant

Until next time...


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