Here are some interesting ideas on how we learn, what keeps us from learning and progressing in a field of study, what kinds of tools we can incorporate in our learning to get beyond the frustration and resistance so many of us experience while learning.
Dr. Barbara Oakley wrote a great article for LinkedIn about her experiences of moving from one field of study, where she used different techniques to learn a foreign language, to a move later in a direction she had never considered – mathematics and engineering. Great article on how she found her way and pushed through, used her “beginner’s mind” to stay open to the possibilities.
Dr. Oakley describes her experiences and teaches an online course through Coursera, Learning How To Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects. I’m going to commit to setting aside time to take this online course. I don’t quite know the costs yet, but there is a certificate of completion that can be posted to LinkedIn profile.
What Price Glory?
I believe that extra-curricular athletic competion (team/intramural sports) has absolutely no place on high school campuses. I don’t have any personal interest in athletic competition (aside from watching the occasional local minor league baseball), but what galls me most is the time, energy, and money taken away from students reaching for scholastic greatness, achieving their greatest academic potential and goals and being flushed down the shower stalls in all the locker rooms across the country.
If we are serious about preparing students to compete with Japan, China, Korea and European countries, to be the best they can be, to mentally challenge themselves, why aren’t we focusing more on education and less on sports? What purpose do high school sports serve in our society? I think all sports (high school, college, professional) are about the entertainment for the beloved peepul. Of course, individuals participating in athletics believe that sports is all about the challenge, being their physical best–that’s great! Do it on your own time! I feel we aren’t getting the most bang for our education buck.
So what do I propose instead of school sports? City and/or county sports leagues! Students interested in athletic scholarships (oxymoron!) can still get recognition for their jock prowess and be scouted in city/county leagues — just not in school athletic programs. Sure coaches can still be employed — to concentrate on physical education classes during school, not athletic competition for schools, but for county leagues.
What are other issues of doing away with scholastic athletic programs?
- Concentration on academic excellence by teachers and ALL students. No more distractions from announcements, pep assemblies, team members dismissed from class to take the bus to “away” games.
- Renewed funding for ARTS — imagine that! Money that has been bled off from fine arts (or anything not resembling NCLB content areas, i.e., math, english, and now science) could be taken from the funding for sports programs and redistributed for music, dance, art, photography, and drama.
- Increased funding for classrooms — renewal and repairs to infrastructure (I know of numerous locations on the high school campus where I used to work where there are instances of termite infestation/damage and asbestos contamination (floor tiles, insulation, etc.)), new furniture, refreshed technology, new books, smaller class sizes, teacher and support staff salary increases, field trips and guest speakers.
What other benefits are there for doing away with sports?
- No more rallies and pep assemblies — great time to get-outta-class and chance to screw off, be entertained by the cheer leaders doing their bump-n-grind routines.
- No more early dismissal for sports teams and cheer leaders.
- No more (or essentially repurposed) Student Government whose apparent sole purpose is to promote sports and sport spirit on campus; StuGov never does any promotion of academics such Academic Decathlon, National Honor Society, school clubs.
- No more cheer leaders — bimbos will have to concentrate on school work and developing their intellect instead of their sex skills.
- Money savings from:
- buses being used less: gas and driver salary savings
- lessened field/stadium maintenance — save the environment from all the weed/bug spraying, field painting/marking; savings from less mowing, salaries, sound equipment and infrastructure support and maintenance. Grounds personnel could then be repurposed for developing the campus environment, upkeep and beautification.
- gymnasium being used only by P.E. classes or renting out to city/county leagues and outside organizations. Savings from sound equipment and infrastructure support and maintenance, less custodial staff salaries for bleacher setup, clean up after the sports pigs.
- no more school/district Athletic Director (and staff) — savings from salaries, office space freed up, technology no longer being supplied, travel expenses.
- no more athletic department support staff — office personnel (cheer leader wannabes), equipment manager.
- no more sports uniforms and cleaning systems — incredible cost savings and less environmental drain (water, gas, electricity)!
- no more time away/transportation for marching band and color guards.
- no more marching band and color guard uniforms.
- no more paperwork for students involved in athletics: sign up forms, permission forms, doctor/physical forms, no more review of eligibility.
All told, this country could see a rebirth in our school systems. Bill Gates was only partly right — I’m sure he was never involved in any type of athletic program during his high school career, so the amount of support and waste for sports has never crossed his mind.