Monday, December 2, 2013

Learning in Fear

"Life is going to present to you a series of transformations. And the point of education should be to transform you. To teach you how to be transformed so you can ride the waves as they come. But today, the point of education is not education. It’s accreditation. The more accreditation you have, the more money you make. That’s the instrumental logic of neoliberalism. And this instrumental logic comes wrapped in an envelope of fear. And my Ivy League, my MIT students are the same. All I feel coming off of my students is fear. That if you slip up in school, if you get one bad grade, if you make one fucking mistake, the great train of wealth will leave you behind. And that’s the logic of accreditation. If you’re at Yale, you’re in the smartest 1% in the world. […] And the brightest students in the world are learning in fear. I feel it rolling off of you in waves. But you can’t learn when you’re afraid. You cannot be transformed when you are afraid." - Author Junot Díaz, speaking at Yale
These are some incredible words! I've never read any of this man's books, but there are a few in my school's library, and I'll get to them once I've finished my applications. (One month to go!)

I want my students to know this. Their education is not (should not be) for the end goal of a stable and high-paying job. They should not be turned into numbers for national high school rankings, which are based on how many graduates go to Seoul National University. They should be learning in order to change and be changed.