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Friday, October 19, 2012

Why "Self Esteem" is a Killer: Dumb-ageddon

What if its the educator that's actually deficient?
A little over a month ago I wrote about "Education, Software and Agile Failure."

At the top of the article I supplied an example problem with Apples, Grapes, etc. that required the items to be placed "in order."

I then showed how there were multiple ways to consider the items ordered.

This story came from one of my grandchildren.

The poor child was, early on, "labeled" by the school as "struggling."

Now in today's educational system regardless of your level of intelligence "struggling" means that you are unable to do the work "as prescribed by the teacher."

So, as was the case of the "in order" problem if you understanding of how to display your answer differed from everyone else, even though you had a firm grasp on putting things "in order" you were a failure.

This failure model was compounded because once modern "teachers" discover that you are completely failing to provide the correct answer or show the work in the proper sequence you fall out of the normal educational order.

After all, its too much work for a teacher to figure out what you are doing wrong and work with you to correct it.

Once you are labeled as a "struggling child" the school brings in all sorts of "resources" - school psychologists, special ed teachers, and so on because there is more money in this than simply getting the teacher to work through the understanding issues with the child.

I always thought the idea of being a "teacher" was to solve exactly this kind of problem.

Instead today the solution, which the child's parents where emphatically told was that the child simply needed "self esteem."

"Self esteem," according to Wikipedia, is "overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth."

In this case the child was depressed and miserable.

The teachers gave the child repeated messages, to the contrary of what her parents told her, that her parents were "disappointed" in her work.

From the child's point of view she was providing correct answers, albeit in a form different from what the adults were asking for, but correct none-the-less.

So I imagine the child felt she was living in some sort of "dumb-ageddon" - crouching under an old blanket, living in fear of providing any answers.

She spent four years there.

When the break-through I wrote about a month ago happened the entire world of "dumb-ageddon" was washed away.  (Dumb-ageddon is the place where everyone seems to you to be stupid and unable to understand what you say or do even though what you are saying or doing is right or correct.  So you live by hiding yourself - a la Jurrasic Park - were the stupid (or dinosaurs) cannot find you.)

The child is now happy, works hard, and is accelerating her learning to the point where she will be caught up in short order.

The key, of course, was that her mother discovered that the child could be "right" but merely reporting the results incorrectly.  Far different than not understanding the problem.

The lack of concise direction being the fault of the school, not the child.

So we, as parents, kept encouraging our daughter, the child's parent, to not give up and work hard to help her (the child) as best she could.

And it paid off.

I predict the child will be on her own and caught up very shortly.

From the school's perspective the solution was "self esteem."

"If you simply give the child better self esteem she'll do better in school," they told my daughter.

They, of course, had a collection of "experts" to assist in this.

So the child knows that the answers she creates are "correct" but does not understand why the adults in the school don't see it that way.  (In math she simply wrote down correct answers without showing work - she could not explain how she got the right answer - but she did - so it was marked "wrong" without shown work.)

The child is struggling and depressed.

And the school's answer is to make the child feel better about herself - "say that's a good job even when its wrong."

Basically "feel good because you're stupid."

Now in basically no other societal endeavor do we this:  "Oh doctor, you tried to operate on the right arm but you operated on the left - good job!"  "Oh, you tried to turn the corner in the car but you missed and killed a bus full of kids - great try!"

So the concept that "self esteem" will solve a communication problem is beyond sad.

College educated "teachers" who push this moronic shit instead of teaching.

At the recent open house the teachers expressed shock that the child's "self esteem" had so dramatically improved.  But beyond this they said very, very little.

In my last few posts about voting you can see the impact this type of "education" has on people.

It makes them stupid and unable to cope with reality.  They simply crave boosts to their "self esteem" and care about nothing else.

Creating "Dumb-ageddon..."

In reality once the kid saw that someone was willing to figure out and understand the issues she was happy - she works hard now in school.

The high "self esteem" comes from success.

If the child was truly challenged then still self esteem would only come when the child had done her best.

But to label a smart child as "challenged and needed more self esteem" when in fact the teachers failed to understand that there was more than one "right answer" is beyond sad.

(NOTE: There was other evidence for the "educational establishment as well.  Erratic standardized test scores - very poor in a number of subjects, near gifted in others.  Always a sign of miscommunication.)

The "poster" at the top of this article is a nice display of the symptom of all this.

Virtually every child can contribute to society.  Its up to society to discover the gifts each child has - not the child to fulfill the society's fantasy about being a "conforming educational star."

To the teachers:  Your books full of stupid formulaic educational steps are garbage.  This is especially true when you cannot perceive the someone could solve the problem by going outside these steps.

Your job is to educate - not simply ape problem solving steps that are the only way you, yourself, can hope to find the answer.

Education of those smarter or brighter than yourself is hard work - something clearly our educational system is not up to.

Much better to get them all dumbed down into "Dumb-ageddon" where everyone has a lot of self esteem about being stupid.

Ultimately this is what they wanted my granddaughter to accept: having high self esteem about being dumb.

Thanks US educational system - its why I can't hire what you produce...

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