Stockton Files #1
Education is the base of reality as we know it, no more or less. It is strictly creatively uncreative. A good metaphor for education in America might be a full grown flamingo in a bursting but unopened egg. Foolish would be a single-word summary for education in America. However, there is a good sign as to the progressive changes that are taking place in schools. No matter how slow the transitional period may be, such notions in needing independence and freedom from the old chalkboard are taking place. Certain courses such as Ways Of Seeing and Creative Writing would make good examples of the turning point concerning present-day education slowly taking place. At any rate, education only reflects the failed reality we hold as our own. A failed reality is an unsuccessful breakthrough of history enlightenment. More or less, we keep on repeating history. Having repeated history, we invite ourselves the notion of a failed reality.
Tests, lectures, readings, discussions, labs, and so on are no more than materials teachers use to bring what they are trained to pass on as knowledge. As long as the student is distracted, no studying material will help. Attention must be had. Crops simply cannot grow if there is no water. Materials will fail if there is no attention. It only gets worse because large portions of such materials have been fluffed into absurd sources of meaninglessness. Some students are adept at absorbing materials because they have been perfectly conditioned. Other students will be sent to the principal’s office for speaking their own thoughts. It is one big mess; the business of material distribution in schools.
I have a fascination with two words Loewen used in his book; zamani and sasha. In education, it so seems that educators keep on beating the dead horse through repeating lies about the zamani; the wholly dead generations. Not that educators are villains but only dubbed unknowing traitors to the truth. They only are passing on what they were polished with in their educations. Educators usually leave sasha, the living dead, behind the curtains as if they are not “rehearsed enough”. Too fresh, too ripe. Now, who said history was supposed to be rehearsed. What happened to telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Did the truth ever exist? That is not a question but a statement. “Words are emptied of their concreteness and become a hollow, alienated, and alienating verbosity.”, Paulo Friere. There are simply too many words in education which misleads us to the true definition of education.
The window in my high school history class was always illuminating with wonder especially when it was a sunny and breezy day. Birds would always entertain me with their smiling faces and gently twitching necks which exemplified their intangible responsibilities. They were truly free. After all, total freedom comes with risk for that you do not know what comes after utter freedom. My head was always angled towards that window. In fact, the shade of white and peeling paint of the panels on that window are to this day very distinctive in my memory. The teacher was never rigid or monotonous on purpose. She was just teaching U.S. History. With all her might, she would try to make U.S. History interesting. Her efforts were impressive but her deliverance made like a bag of cheap, stale, broken cracker crumbs. The most meaningful memory I have of that class was when I raised my hand with utter conviction in the thought I was about to present , “You know, I read that 75% of what we really learn is outside of the classroom.” That thought alone stuck to me. It might not be entirely true. After all, we learn a lot more than 75% outside of the classroom. However, the point is the material I supposedly sat in that classroom for never got through my head. I always guessed on all the tests. I always would manage to pass the class with a satisfactory ‘C’
Textbooks never lived through anything. They are no more than compilations of certain researches and documentaries. All researches have certain biases. We can never know how neutral any documentary can get. It is greatly doubtful that there is any writing without any bias. More or less, to write is to have bias. It does not matter whether the written notion might be fiction or nonfiction. So, textbooks have very low value in carrying honorable history because we only have merged biases in them. Researches be done, there still is bias. To be without bias is to know silence. As for science, textbooks are the way to their enlightenment in labs. Scientists thrive towards doing in labs. It is always about doing even if it means harm to subjects. The thing about education is that it always sounds harmless and rather pure in its intentions. Maybe it is time to look at education from a different standpoint. Try greedy.
The best kind of education I have ever received in my life was traveling on the wide open road. It freed my mind enough to the point of being able to really let thoughts in. I was able to sift through my personal experiences throughout my childhood at home, school, and wherever else and recall monumentally pivotal changes in my inner self. I was able to reflect on my actual experiences and hang my head over a textbook and force my eyes not to circle. I was given the space, literally and figuratively, to roam in my thoughts and really sense an authentic connection with them. The other thing about being on the wide-open road was definitely the ability to see what was right in front of me especially in unfamiliar places. Unfamiliarity makes a person do certain things. Some clam up. Some absorb like a good octopus. I made like both in different places, but always traveled to new heights when I activated my suckers. So, hands-on experiences, to me, are the best way to learn. Rigid monotones have me abandon whatever that might be in front of me. I appreciate stability but not falsehoods. To this day, I still seek for what is true and what is not. I know with my whole being that it will be a lifelong search. Earth is the education we need. Earth is our school in every given facet. The question remains why we must be constricted in enclosed buildings to learn. This very tactic encourages us to be inactive in our education. After all, it make sense. What we learn has nothing to do with what we live off. In fact, many have forgotten what life is truly made of and, yes, the value of water.
Stephanie Gasco is a fine line between being and identification.