Annoying Education By Rory Norton
There’s a problem I have with the way things are taught at school – a lot of it seems extremely pointless and unexplained.
Take, for example, what they make you do in work experience: they give you a ‘progress diary’ – which is full of information which might be useful in some cases, such as what to do in the case of a ﬁre, or who to speak to during an emergency – but behind that lies something so completely pointless, that it seems hardly worth the time spent ﬁlling it in. It’s basically a progress report of how your work experience is going – fair enough, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s full of questions that have absolutely no correspondence to anything, in my opinion. In fact, I may be wrong. Questions such as ‘How did your day go?’ and ‘What was the journey like?’ may have some signiﬁcant importance that may decide the fate of the universe at some point, but to me it just seems like a boring way to think about learning from your experience. And what’s worse is that you are required to ﬁll it in – if real work involves answering lots of mediocre questions about ‘How you felt when you ﬁrst came to work’, then I’m worried about my future.
It’s not just that, either. It’s the lessons that you have to do, even if you have no motivation to work in that area later in life. Take, for example, Religious Education – this lesson is highly pointless to many people who aren’t bothered about religions (myself included). It may seem important to some to learn how certain religions work, but my time could be spent learning something else that matters more to me. No offence to those who care, though. And there are many other lessons that have to be taught to everyone – something that seems also highly pointless to me. I mean, we could spend more time focusing on things that will help us in our future careers. Why do we only get a choice of what we get to do in Year 10 and not in Year 7? Missing out on 3 years worth of things I would’ve preferred to learn is something that I don’t particularly like to think about.
It may be a bit of a rant, but I think the system seriously needs revising. If we’re encouraged to make our own choices in school, then why don’t we get to choose what we learn? I think that the school system should be more aimed towards what students want to do with their education, and not what the government thinks we should learn. If the children of the future are supposed to be developed, perfect people, then why not let them decide what ‘perfect’ is instead of trying to place your own understanding of the word on top of them? Choice is being neglected in many areas, and I think it should change. A future director doesn’t need to study Spanish (unless he thinks about directing a ﬁlm set in Spain), so why is he supposed to? I say, if someone has a clear idea of what they want to do in the future, then let them follow that idea all the way throughout life.
Rory, 16 years old, is a student at Stoke Newington School and spent two weeks with N16 in June on work experience placement.