James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, April 29, 2005

Forced to Read

Did you enjoy books you were forced to read in school? I recall reading To Kill A Mockingbird on my own before it was assigned at school, and enjoyed it. And I enjoyed Lord of the Flies and Crime & Punishment in high school, and The Brothers Karamazov in college. But I didn't get much out of Mrs. Dalloway, Light in August, the Great Gatsby, or even Huckleberry Finn and several others, even in classes I took as electives.

I suspect it's harder to enjoy a forced read of non-fiction. I know I've learned more from books I chose to read post-college, then from books I was forced to read. The dynamic of trying to make a grade distorts the incentives. It ironically throws off the true learning curve.

Hit and Run

1 comment:

  1. forced implies coercion...people enjoy resisting coercion because it gives them a legitimate excuse to get upset. But in an authotitarian classroom, you may not get upset at the teacher or her assignment, so therefore you get mad at the book. But you read the book!

    what gets me is the rewards in the classroom went to those people who best mimic'd the teachers party line. Since that is laid out in simple terms in the Cliff Notes - the "A" students just used the cheat sheets, memorized what the teacher wanted, regurgitated, forget and went ot their honor society meetings.

    we on the other hand thought - yuk, why did they make me read this crap, because the teacher wouldn't talk about what was in the cliff notes to 'challenge those bright students somewhat'. So we never got the point until we figured it out - that's learning.

    Public education is a hoover, sucking out the wealth of society by turning out brain-dead lemmings that can't think for themselves for fear their boss may not like them. Unfortunately, the grubbermint enforced marketplace rewards the same type of behavior that the schools turn out.

    the only person in this country actually allowed to make a decision is dick cheney.