Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 4:37:28 PM
Perhaps I'm the only one who notices the increasing disinterest in education in my school. Or, perhaps, I'm merely overreacting to its inevitability. Maybe it's the brief conversations containing multitudes of grammatical errors that I often hear throughout the hallways, or the numerous students who admit to not caring about school that have led me to this conclusion: The majority of teenagers have lost interest in school as a source of knowledge.
There is no need to take my word for it. Take a glance at the 300+ people at my school on Facebook chat in comparison to the 90 that have stayed after school for extracurricular activities. Observe the increasing number of parents appeasing their children with cash or new cell phones for sub-par grades. Listen to the two troublemakers in the back of the classroom that would rather chat about what parties they plan on attending this weekend than acknowledge the teacher's presence. As a site of social gathering, school has remained prominent. As a site of learning however, school has become nearly obsolete.
The unfortunate truth, however, is that the educational system is not responsible for this decline in student interest. Rather, it is simply human nature. As children mature, they begin to become interested in other fields and, subsequently, lose interest in school.
Rather than attempt to make insignificant reforms to the educational system that waste school funds or shove history down the student's throats, we must instead take a page out of it. The current actions of the educational system currently could easily be likened to that of the European Reformation. We are attempting to the reform the educational system in hopes that the students will follow, causing a rise in interest. However, if we truly wish to revitalize student interest in school, we must take a look at an occurrence just prior to the Reformation: The Renaissance, a rebirth of learning throughout Western Europe. Rather than attempting to mold the educational system around students in hopes of an increase in interest, we must target the students directly. Much like the Renaissance promoted the value of knowledge in order to increase education, schools must do the same. School must be conveyed as a means of building minds, not merely a place to build futures.
This task is, understandably, difficult, but not inconceivable by any means. Revitalization in student interest throughout the country is achievable, albeit difficult. As students burst through the doors this coming year, we must make it clear to them that school is a place of knowledge and learning. As the journalist Sydney J. Harris so eloquently put it, "The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." Whether it be through after school programs and clubs, motivational speakers, or even student testimonials, the idea of school as a site of broadening and exploring knowledge, rather than a site of sole repetition and test taking must be emphasized throughout the minds of all students come the new school year. Only then will the concept of a truly effective educational system become a reality.