A former teacher emphasizes the potential damage of the school system and reveals how it creates empty children.

Over the years, the school education system has been colorfully criticized by many. From authors to activists, and philosophers to artists, more and more personalities are voicing concern over the potential damage being caused to children growing up as empty children in the school environment.

One such personality is John Taylor Gatto, the winner of the New York Teacher of the Year award in 1990. Despite winning a highly competitive teaching award, not only did he quit teaching but he also went on to author a book, The Underground History of American Education in which he explicitly outlines his views on modern-day teaching.

According to Gatto, schools are creating empty children, by teaching “a curriculum of confusion, class position, arbitrary justice, vulgarity, rudeness, disrespect for privacy, indifference to quality, and utter dependency.”

Below are some of the thought-provoking points he touches on:

“Keep children under surveillance every minute from dawn to dusk. Give no private space or time. Fill time with collective activities. Record behavior quantitatively.”

Not having sufficient private time or activities can not only hinder a child’s independent growth, but it can cause them to be overly reliant on others around them and will do absolutely nothing to improve their individual problem-solving skills.

Constantly being watched will only add to this problem – many kids are shy by nature and will not feel comfortable expressing themselves in this type of environment. Furthermore, when there is not adequate data explaining in detail how a child behaves, there is no way of even understanding let alone helping the children to grow.

“Addict the young to machinery and electronic displays. Teach that these are desirable to recreation and learning both.”

This can be extremely detrimental to not only the child’s health but also his or her social life. The more time spent on technology, the less time a child spends on outdoor recreational activities with friends and family. The sheer number of young children now wearing glasses is increasing at an alarming rate.

“Remove as much private ritual as possible from young lives, such as the rituals of food preparation and family dining.”

It’s always about the grades and the piles of homework given to children which takes up so much of their time after school. When they are not under the stress of homework, they still do not spend time as a family because they are not aware of the importance of it. There is no emphasis on teaching the values of family life.

“Grade, evaluate, and assess children constantly and publicly. Begin early. Make sure everyone knows his or her rank.”

This is harmful to every child regardless of rank. Neither does this teach equality nor does it teach consideration for other’s feelings. Nobody likes public humiliation no matter what stage of life you are at. Rather than build a child’s self-confidence, this is a sure way to push them into a shell and eliminate any self-expression.

“Honor the highly graded. Keep grading and real-world accomplishment as strictly separate as possible so that a false meritocracy, dependent on the support of authority to continue, is created. Push the most independent kids to the margin; do not tolerate real argument.”

An extension of the last point, the children with not-so-high grades will be further isolated this way. Instead of receiving the extra help and support they seriously need, they are more likely to stay low on the radar for fear of being humiliated and misunderstood.

Naturally, this means they grow up lacking the self-esteem needed to achieve their dreams. Not tolerating any argument eliminates any chances left of a child showing signs of independently thinking for himself.

“Forbid the efficient transmission of useful knowledge, such as how to build a house, repair a car, make a dress.”

This one speaks for itself. When children leave school they should feel adequately equipped and ready to take on life. However, in this case, the opposite is in effect, where they feel as though they have not learned any practical “real life” everyday skills, which should be included in the school curriculum.

Do you agree that the schools today create empty children? We would love to hear your thoughts on this.

H/T: Intellectual Takeout

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. El Fodón

    I’ve been a teacher for 16 years. Though I’ve never won teacher of the year, I completely agree with the views mentioned above. The educational system in the developed world feeds too much useless info into kids heads, completely ignoring real life skills, family and society.

  2. Richard

    I am a teacher in England and I agree. However, it’s not schools who create empty children, it’s country’s governments. In England, the current Department of Education (DfE) is hell bent on meassuring absolutly everything and everyone in the school (children, teachers and the school itself). When excessive measurement is used alongside performance related pay, it’s no wonder teachers will do what they need to do in order to reach their targets. Yea yea yea, I hear you say, a good teacher will retain their morals and do what’s right for the children. But, getting back to reality, when a teacher has their own family to look after and they are basically told to ‘teach the test’ what do we really expect from them? It’s unfortunate but in my view, schools try provide a wealth of extra curricular learning for children and teachers do all they can to give a round and balanced education but the government? They are producing empty children.

    1. Bry

      Two part word based in latin

      Govern: control
      Ment: mind

  3. Letchmikanthan

    Whatever ssid & done the children must taught to Read,& Write with basic arithmetics. Followed by living skills & art of healthy living during elementary school fron std 1 to 6 .
    Next thry should be taught whats career alk about , followed by entrepreneurial wealth creating ideas & vision s. Lastly ti be self employed & independent .
    Technology can be used as a tool ti develop individuals talents .
    The educators know this but its the politicians who undermine the DNA of the society for sekf interest . Hope NGOs & other social activist can create a movement seeking help from United Nations . God bless future generations .

  4. Deepika

    I absolutely agree with this article since I am one of those empty children. School life was a nightmare for me I still tremble when I think of those days. College has been no different but finally found the courage to raise my voice and drop out. No regrets

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