27 October 2007

Intelligence and Knowledge

Can one gain intelligence? I've heard that going to college makes you smarter. I think that's sort of a crap thing to say. Knowledge can be gained for sure. One can learn facts, cram them in. One can recite trivial information for days on end. But it is one's intelligence (unlearned) that allows one to use that information. Students should be taught how to tap that intelligence. Should be taught how to think and not what to think. What good is trivia to a person unless there is a place to use it?

I know very well how to summarize a book. I know how to summarize a book in many ways, one for each professor who desires it. This means I have not learned much about the books, only how to write for someone. I do not know how to read for myself, write for myself.

What I have gained at university is the ability to learn just enough of how each professor teaches in order to pass each test. The ability to write just well enough to pass each class. I've learned everything but the subject at hand. I've learned how to read people and learned what to expect from them and what they expect from me.

In my opinion, that is important. Oscar Wilde said that one must remember that no learning takes place in a classroom. I agree with him. However, in light of that, I think that schools, universities in particular, should open up the possibilities to the students. Allow students to use their minds. Tap into the intelligence that each posses. Allow it to be put to good use.

I feel that so many institutions are going about it the wrong way. They shove ideas at the students, forcing only certain viewpoints. The students learn facts and figures, but nothing important to life outside of school. We need to be presented with ideas, not facts. Ideas are things that impact us forever. Ideas are things we can make our own. Facts are only good on paper.

I know that I like to learn. But I also know that I hate learning what most people wish to teach. I guess I'd rather learn on my own. But if it was left up to me, my intelligence would dissolve in a pool of acidic apathy.

The biggest thing I've learned in school is how to pass by learning as little as possible.

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