Don't let your schooling get in the way of your education. - MarkTwain


Please keep in mind that we are discussing the practise followed in traditional schools.

The purpose of the school system is supposedly to provide the necessary education so that each person can live an independent life; the criticisms in this article seems to say that such education does not teach you enough about things you will encounter in your life.

In schools ...

  • The ability to work successfully alone is rewarded much more than the ability to work successfully in a team. In business, it's vice versa.
  • Sharing information with other people or building upon the work of others is cheating.
  • The ability to behave is rewarded highly. This skill is useful if you want to be just a Grunt Programmer.
This is important. While some forms of misbehavior are harmless, many forms are highly disruptive to other students. "Good behavior" is good practice for GruntProgrammers and GrandMasterProgrammers alike (though there are many PrimaDonnas who think otherwise - that programming skill is, and should be, license to be an asshole). I should note that when I refer to "good behavior" here, I am excluding "shut up and don't ask questions"-style rules that stifle creativity; instead I'm referring to things like "don't talk out of turn", "don't fight on the playground", etc.
  • Only achievement is measured and rewarded; effort without achievement is not rewarded at all.
  • You get a rather nasty illusion if you tend to be very intelligent. After many years of getting the best grades (or marks), you start to gain a lot of confidence in your ability to solve problems. You think of yourself as more capable of getting the right answer than your fellow classmate, and you're right. You are more capable of answering the questions correctly than your classmates. The illusion is that when you get out of school and into the Real World, you are not necessarily more capable of doing the task at hand than your coworkers. The reason is that while it may be true that your coworkers aren't as quick on their mental feet as you are, they may have much more valuable experience in a problem domain than you. Since in school everyone studies out of the same book, everyone is exposed to the same information. But in the Real World, we can learn from absolutely anyone, because there is something that they've experienced that we haven't.
  • The reward is not from whatever you have accomplished; it is some external reward: the grade, acceptance from others, etc., preparing you to focus on your income when you grow up, and not attend to the actual consequences of your work.
  • For any problem, there is exactly one correct solution, and people in authority can tell you what it is.
  • You will be promoted every year along with everyone else, unless you are doing very, very, very poorly. A distorted view of the future. Most of what you learn in school is not very useful in the real world.
  • As far as learning from everyone goes, there can be an Impedance Mismatch between minds. Sometimes the information gained isn't worth the time taken to extract it.
  • Another bad lesson we learn in school is that when we say "I don't know" on a test (i.e. leave an answer blank) it's usually counted the same as if we got it wrong. While this perhaps encourages kids to experiment and take a risk by guessing, it also discourages them from saying "I don't know." However, I have found that when I start saying "I don't know," I start learning! Acknowledging the limits of my knowledge empowers me to expand my limits. -- WyattGreene

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