Friday, August 03, 2007

What Is School For?

Another of those stories that make you wonder what exactly school is for. Is it (for most inmates) anything more than a low-security custodial institution? Even at St Custards we learnt a bit - Lat, Fr, Geog, Geom, Algy, ect, ect...


  1. Ah Geog. I actually saw an ox bow lake recently. It was a moving moment. I had assumed our Geog teacher was a rabid fantasist.

  2. A stirring sight, and faintly implausible. Just too simple somehow...

  3. i learnt quite a bit about violence, also to distrust authority, and a bit about magnetism & how to make explosives, also some good New Testament Greek. But i could have learnt that less expensively, i'm sure.

  4. I happen to be reading a fascinating anthropological study right now titled "My Freshman Year," by Rebekah Nathan. An anthropology professor at a big U.S. university (not one of the top ones, but not at the bottom either) used her sabbatical year to study college students. She enrolled as a freshman, lived in the dorms, and observed. Man, it's a great analysis of just what our kids are doing while we're paying for their American college education.

    Totally recommend this if you want to learn more about American university life -- its flawed attempts at diversity and community, its struggle to impart some academic rigor, and what students really do when they're not in class or studying.

    Newly out in Penguin, so not costly.

  5. Working Class HeroAugust 04, 2007 8:27 am

    A child-minding service that permits the wage-slaves to work and create wealth for their lords and masters.

  6. What's Algy? Was your school so posh, Nige, that you took Allegory classes?

  7. Sadly no Gordon, we had to make do with Algebra.

  8. "Deme una taza de cafe, por favor."

    The only other phrase I remember is "Pasan los papeles adelante, por favor. Sin hablar!"

  9. Everyone in the world is learning to speak English, so why do we bother with their languages?

  10. Because the French refuse to speak English and pretend not to understand. It's very vexing of them.

  11. More on school and school boys, specifically, my 13-year-old son and friends. Just a little anecdote that says to me the kids are alright....

    Mark & his best friend spent all afternoon yesterday at another kid's pool party (kid rich enough that his family has an in-ground pool). They got back to our house just as I was finishing dinner preparations: Eggplant sauteed with fresh basil, garlic, & tomatoes. The boys took one look and decided, No.

    Instead, they rifled through the freezer and found a couple of frozen foods, which they then heated to be ready when the rest of us were. As adults ate eggplant & thin spaghetti with a good red wine, the boys dutifully dove into their little trays of Stouffer's.

    I felt bad and said, "Evan, I'm really sorry you and Mark are having to eat frozen food for dinner."

    Evan: "Oh, no, Mrs. ---, that's okay. It's really good. Much better than the frozen food we have at home."

    Mark: "What do you mean?"

    Evan: "Well, my mom's frozen food tastes like plastic and this doesn't."

    Mark: "Evan, you were eating the wrong parts."