This was my home page in June 2007
Emotional Intelligence, etc.
|Give Hugs, Not Exams
The education system depresses me. I am too depressed to even write about it right now. But this message is so important I decided to change my home page today.
Everyone is studying for exams around the world. But what has happened to caring about people? I really am too depressed to write about it now. I just want to cry... and have some one give me a hug. Not an exam.
And the people who care enough about me are studying for exams, all around the world. It is a cancer that is killing all of us.
If you haven't read this link before, please do. When are we going to realize that things are way past common sense? We have created a cold, inhumane system. If you live in the USA or England or any of the countries which have a similar educational system, please leave as soon as you can, or take your children out of the school systems which are based on fear, threats, punishment and exams.
I am in this tiny community in a tiny country called Uruguay now, and I see things even more clearly. The system has taken over the community. Parents have lost control. Children and teens never even had control. They even have to take classes on Saturdays here. The students have to pay private tutors to prepare for their exams. They have to take time away from their friendships, their romantic relationships, their families and from community service work to study for exams. There is a neighborhood here desperately in need of hands on help. But everyone is too busy. Teenagers would help, just out of the goodness of their hearts, but they are legally required to sit in classrooms and then psychologically pressured, convinced and intimidated into studying for and taking exams, like cattle going to the slaughterhouse.
In the USA it is standard tests, standard tests, standard tests. In England it is one exam after another. Cara recently wrote me and said "I can't write anything for your site this week because I have exams." We don't need to give Cara any more exams. Her intelligence is obvious to anyone who reads her writings.
Young people are killing themselves because of exams. And educational systems are killing souls, compassion and unity. You can't help your friend with an exam because you will be accused of cheating. Most people take all of this for granted. I say we need to change it radically. And it can be changed. There are examples all around of new ways of teaching. I tested one the other day here in Uruguay. I wrote about it in my journal entry for that day. It was a small test but it worked as I expected it to. Involve the students. Make it fun. Make it RELEVANT to their lives.
I don't need to give students exams when I teach them English. Day by day I know who is learning.
Exams run people's lives. In a typical educational system you don't take them when you feel prepared. You take them when someone else has them scheduled. This creates universal stress around the world.
We have already proven that we can make things and produce things. It is time for a different approach. We have the technology to make learning fun, interesting and independent. Tests put stress on student and teacher alike.
If you are not familiar with the work of Alfie Kohn, please do some reading. I have a little on him but he deserves much more study. I also have a little on Maria Montessori. Please work to change the educational system wherever you are.
I saw again here in Uruguay how school directors are like little dictators. They have far too much discretionary power. Students have far too little. We are not preparing young people to participate in an intelligent system of democracy. There is more hypocrisy than democracy in most schools I have visited around the world. Much more.
Teenagers are killing themselves. They are killing each other. Countries are at war. People live in fear. I don't think more tests are going to solve our problems.
June 27, 2007
PS - I just did a Google search on "Give hugs, not exams". I also tried "give hugs, not tests". There were no results for either one. I am surprised and saddened that no one else has thought of this simple, much needed social change.
As the rest of the world watches in disbelief what is happening in the USA, perhaps they are seeing the connections between the "no touch rules", the push for standard testing and the disappearance of common sense, love and compassion.