1: a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake2: a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked3: an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity <computer geek>
Geek Shows were an act in traveling circuses of early America and were often part of a larger sideshow. The billed performer’s act consisted of a single geek, who stood in center ring to chase live chickens. It ended with the performer biting the chickens’ heads off and swallowing them. The Geek Shows were often used as openers for what are commonly known as freak shows.
They were OPENERS for freak shows. Better start busting out my nail up the nose acts. Geek4lyfe. Or some such.
According to a poll from Effie Worldwide and Mashable, an overwhelming number of marketers consider social media key to their strategies this year. In fact, 70% plan to increase their social media budget by more than 10%.
A group of ad agency executives and marketers from firms such as Bank of…
Today I learned about the international humanitarian efforts by the Red Cross and the role they play in the schools running scenarios and programs for teachers to bring to their students.
Several weeks ago, I was visiting my relatives and they showed me the exam that my seven year old niece was taking on a regular basis. The reason I tie these together is that they both put important questions into my mind about the future, children and education.
I was in school by the time I was 22 months old – I was young even for Montessori schools. In my 28 years, I’ve spent 21 years in school. I’ve been through private schooling and in respected (i.e. high performing) state backed schools. And I did well. I was considered exceptional at that little Montessori. Whenever prospective parents came to the school, they brought me out to show the clever, adorable child – I know this because after 25 years, I’m still in contact with my teacher. I loved learning and still remember it to this day: sitting on the floor with wood letters to spell out simple words, singing with the other students, reading books by myself, being taught the biological parts of a flower, long division, spelling tests, history books, memorizing poems to recite. I enjoyed it once I was able to get past not being with my mother and until 3pm when everyone else left while I continued to wait. Exams were sometimes given to see how well you could rationalize a problem though you hadn’t quite been taught that level yet. If you didn’t know the answer, the teacher went over it with you. I never felt the sting of an exam or pain when having to re-study something I hadn’t learned properly. Learning was a joy.
When my parents could no longer afford it, I was sent to state school though one of a high caliber in a district many Asian parents schemed to have their children attend. I still did well, but from the first day, I lost that spark for learning. They sat me in front of a book with page after page of assessment. They had us compete against a clock to see who could finish what I consider a toxic type of rote learning to this day. Of those days, I remember bland brown walls and teachers who left me intimidated and uninspired.
Looking at my niece’s exam, I see that it has gotten worse. She has weekly standardized tests in various subjects that look like the objective is to beat the children into some conformist type of acceptable learning because the educational system has been thus far less than adequate. It pains me to see young children failing to love learning. I know that many of them and definitely my niece will go to university, study a hard science and get a job from her university education. But when will they learn the love of learning if not when they are young?
The Red Cross has a humanitarian program for teachers/students because studies have shown that our youth has great trouble empathizing with people suffering and subject to torture in war climates. The youth have to be educated on the tenants of the Geneva Convention because “Torture? Shame, but what can you do, it’s war.” is their response.
As someone that wishes to have a child in the future, I have thought about how to raise my child in the way that I best see fit and that begs the question of how my child should be taught and the educational system. While I don’t expect it to be perfect, I want to place my child somewhere that fosters growth on a more substantial level than passing exams to pass more exams to get further in the world of fiscal gain. This generally implies private education, but it shouldn’t be as such.
State schools bear an onus that I think most institutions and definitely the overarching governing bodies don’t realize: school is for building good people and people that can use education effectively. The best teachers want more from their students than the ability to pen answers according to books because they know they have the opportunity to bring out something more valuable in us. Let’s talk about math and not just calculate. Let’s perform science experiments because they’re wondrous. Let’s explore not just history, but society. Let’s talk about harm and do kindness. Teach empathy. Teach harder topics/problems but with enthusiasm. Passion responds in kind. Children will learn if you wrap it with the right bow. It may not reach everyone, but it will reach far more than it would otherwise.
We fund only quantitative results, but it hasn’t proved very fruitful. If school is to benefit society, then it should benefit it by producing one that fosters the innate aspects of youthful curiosity and helps to cultivate the tabula rasa that accompanies inexperience. I want children (not just my own) to be exposed to the idea of possibilities, to explore the benefits of wide and varied knowledge, and to engage themselves with books and people.
I will make sure my child is taught just how big and how small this world is, how glorious science and art are, and love and happiness. I only hope that somehow some of this finds its way into our schools because this is what our children deserve.
“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”—Banksy (via jeffswystun)