Ever since my shenanigan in kindergarten, I thought that I didn’t enjoy reading. In fact, most of my elementary school years I would stay as far away from books as I possibly could. I would only read when I was forced to for my English classes, because something in my mind told me that I wasn’t good at reading and that I didn’t enjoy it.
One day in high school, I picked up a self-help book, started reading the opinions and thoughts of authors on life, and I haven’t stopped reading since. Now, I read voraciously. I’ve been devouring whatever books I can get my hands on to try to see and be aware of as many perspectives as I possibly can. I can hardly read fast enough to keep up with the rate that I find new books to read.
What happened? You could argue that it was merely a point in my life that I found what I truly was passionate about, but a lot of my hesitation in reading stems deeper than merely not knowing what I wanted to learn.
Schools are set up to reward people who get good grades, and patronize people who get poor grades. People who do well in a certain subject gain the recognition and praise for doing well, therefore boosting their confidence in their ability to perform in the subject area. But people who do poorly in a certain subject often adapt a negative feeling toward the subject, simply because they didn’t receive a good grade in the subject.
How many times have you heard a student say “I hate math”?
Have you ever wondered if that student actually hates the subject of math, or if what they actually hate is that they received a poor grade in math?
By learning in a system that gives grades and places such a high value on the grade, the system teaches students to hate certain subjects as a defense mechanism to make them feel better for not doing so well.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be a grading system. I believe that being able to chart and measure a student’s progress is a good thing. But the way that the current system of grades is set up can instill some pretty negative side effects into the very people that we’re trying to teach.
What if we were able to promote a system that inspires children to learn and explore the areas that they don’t score well in?