Education. This word has so much weight and factors behind it, and plays such a huge role in our society. As I sit here trying to understand what my take on the word is, what it truly means, I automatically break it up into two sections: school, where students force themselves into memorizing vocabulary, and going through treacherous hours of math homework, and then knowledge, where people fill their heads with as much as they can, pursuing everything that catches their attention or their curious about. I am automatically naturally drawn to the latter of the two, but realize that unfortunately I have very little experience within the setting of my school. Not only this, but I see it as that this school education that I have aquired goes directly against the true meaning of education, the one I want.
Grades are set in order to display a student’s progress, and how well they are understanding the information given to them, but if we look beyond this perfect statement that shows the purpose of grades, we will be able to see the ignited competition, shortcuts, and lack of learning that grades cause ( The Case Against Grades). Instead of education being the primary focus in school, now it is the scores students receive. Grades can have many chain reactions, such as students cheating, taking in and remembering less information, and not pushing oneself to further their education. By having grades, the goal for students is not to learn as much as they can, and follow interests, and create new ideas, but to do whatever possible to get the best possible score. After being able to experience my AP English class, without the intense everyday pressure of grades, due to a new accustomed “grading” system, I am able to say that I had a very different experience with my education from what I am used to. Without grades having as much of an impact on how well I did in the class, I was able to have more freedom, and try new things, which ultimately lead to me discovering new things about myself as a writer that I never knew. I feel that with the absence of grades I was able to flourish as an intellectual, and would not have been able to make the progress I did without this particular grade-less environment.
A misconception about education is that it needs to take place in a traditional school setting. After taking a closer look, I feel strongly against this. Take a look at Malcolm X, one of the wisest, most educated people that comes to mind for me, and many others. Did he acquire this wisness while in school? No, he learned everything he needed to know in jail, in fact I think it could be argued that the education that he did attain in a school setting was contradictory to the person that he needed to, and did become. While in school the biggest thing he learned was where he stood, whether it was in the small paragraph on all of black history in his textbook, or his teachers views on what his future was going to look like. This sort of “education” only trained Malcolm X to play his part in society, and taught him the carefully, politically correct, pre-laid out information, none of which in any way helped him raise to greatness. Think about what would have happened if Malcolm X continued on in this manner. We would live in a very different world than we do now. One of the biggest problems with schools is that it has such strict guidelines on what we should be learning. We are taught information picked out by other people, based on what they find to be important. This doesn’t give us the freedom to find what is meaningful and important to us, and discourages us to pursue our curiosities and interests. This results with a negative connotation with school, which is then passed on to education. In order for students to truly explore, appreciate, and gain the intended education, there needs to be more freedom and less guidelines.