Friday, July 31, 2009

No, But I Could Beat Him/Her Up (probably)

I have never watched "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" It is not my style of trivia show. I am more of a Jeopardy-style trivia person. That is question and answer, none of the "final answer" bullshit, talking out the answer, no help from the audience, phone friend, or partner. I believe either you answer the question right or you don't. I can't stand when shows drag 15 minutes worth of questions out for an hour, it is so boring...I think I actually become dumber myself when that happens.

Every time I see a commercial for Fifth Grader, I am curious. No, I am not really curious to watch it. I have lived my life by the credo that the less Jeff Foxworthy and I mix together, the better...and it has worked pretty well so far. It makes me curious about what it the show is trying to say about the educational system. Here are the possibilities in my mind:

  • Fifth Graders are so much smarter now, that they can easily whoop an adults ass in a trivia contest.

  • Adults should have learned all this in fifth grade themselves, but they were poor students.

  • Adults learned all this information but forgot it.

I think this show just goes to prove that the information taught in school is pretty useless in everyday life and therefore forgotten. We teach kids facts and figures, the majority of which will never be brought up again after the test next week. The brain is designed to discard useless information that it no longer needs (that is why you can't remember what you had to eat on Tuesday two weeks wasn't important or special to warrant brain and thought space). I think when you teach kids loads of facts without any context for connecting it with their daily lives they are bound to forget these facts in a short period of time. Yes, some facts are important but instead of cramming our kids full of facts, we need to teach them how to think. We need to teach a child how to research and apply what they don't know and connect it with themselves. Knowing a lot of trivia questions doesn't not necessarily make you intelligent.

1 comment:

Lax Guy said...

You hit it on the head. As some one that has a teaching license (& Masters in Education) I can attest to the system being broken. No Child Left Behind ensured that it remains broken. It also frustrates people like me greatly.
BTW, I am not currently teaching. I love working with high school kids, but the system is a complete mess and teachers have no power to fix it. Between the minority of parents that are crappy and the government, the average student will be screwed up by the time he/she leaves high school. Thanks America!