Education vs. The Pursuit of Art

The more I work on a video, a graphic, or a song, the more I feel that my high school career is irrelevant. What I mean is that I don’t feel that my Pre-AP Pre-Calculus and AP U.S. History classes are “supportive” in improving my skills as an artist.

In these two classes, most of the work is based on information from a textbook. How can I learn out of a textbook? Never, in my entire life, have I thought to myself: “Hey, this textbook is really helpful! I’m learning something!”

In contrast, I seem to be learning MORE from classes that DON’T use a textbook. Take my AP English III class. There is absolutely no textbook work done in that class. I feel that I’m learning more about how to write rhetorically more effectively then I could probably learn from a textbook (of course, that’s probably because we have an experienced and well-qualified English teacher). Even in my Mandarin Chinese class, just a fourth of the curriculum is from a textbook but I STILL feel like I’m learning. At least now, 我會說和看懂一點中文.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the classes, it’s just that I feel they’re irrelevant to what I want to do in life. I remember reading something Henry David Thoreau once wrote. Something about putting down a book and taking a walk outside… What it means is that life must be experienced, not from a book. Somehow, I feel the same way.

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One comment

  • gabrielarmanileal-soares April 7, 2009  

    I feel you on that one Peter. And I agree with you too David. But text books are dull. There are too objective. If you read a different type of book (like a novel or something) you can find a much wider range of influences and sources than in a text book. Sounds like faulty argument but I don’t know how else to explain. Text books are too standard. Give your kids some-what of options. Surely budget comes into account. But if you give 5 of your students 5 different books on a similar subject or topic, then have them share and process what each has learned as a group, they are more likely to learn more than all 5 reading the same book. It’s the same subject or whatnot but that’s five different perspectives instead of one. Strange thought process I know. However I believe variety is what were missing. We as humans learn and evolve exponentially. If you add variety your just adding to the exponent rather than slow, standard multiplication.

    And to correct any misconceptions that may occur from my thought process… I strongly agree with Peter…

    Life must be experienced, a book is just a small part of it… [and textbooks are miniscule. Go ask somebody what’s their favorite textbook and see if you get any answers. Don’t worry I’ll wait…]

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