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Mind games....

  • Dec. 6th, 2005 at 1:31 AM
Over Stand
There are some people I know who spend their formative years studying like maniacs.  To them, the be all and end all of life is to score those oh so sought for A+ grades.  They study hard, they're always engorging their brains on textbooks, they have their noses drooling with green stuff, and they have their eyes shuttered with painful looking spectacles.

That's what the academic system imbibes in us.  They want small kids to learn about stuff they'd never use during the rest of their lives, they want all of them to be able to answer straight-on questions without so much as a blink of the eye.  However, there are problems with this system.

All the uber-high scorers that I have known have never gone on to be great people.  My last company had an interesting recruiting policy.  This was followed to the 'T', no matter what the situation.  The hiring mechanism follows a default setting wherein resumes are scanned and coded according to specific keywords.  Resumes that claim CGPA's higher than 4.25 on 5 and less than 2.25 on 5 are trashed.  Yup.  Not even recycled, they are purged from the system without so much as a question as to the individuals claims of other successes.

I came upon this hidden bit of code while I was debugging another section of the recruitment software. Half confused, since the code definitely was'nt a bug, It was PUT THERE ON PURPOSE!  I gathered my mental faculties together and asked my HR manager why this was done and if it really was a bug.  To my utter astonishment, he laughed like a banshee for a minute or two.  Knowing him, a laugh that long was far beyond convention.  He's the kind of guy who people would actually pay to see laughing.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he came round the table, clutching his ample tummy.  Little sporadic bursts of chuckles left his lips from time to time.  *deep breath in, deep breath out*  Finally, he tells me matter of factly:  "Those kids who score so well, they're just that, they score well!  You ask them to work on a simple problem, and they won't know what tit is and what tat is.  You give them a problem, they'll look for the closest formula from their text books and apply the recommended options to fix the problem.  They can't use their minds.  They merely use their brains!  The job they're best suited for is to be teachers.  As human assets, they rate below an individual who scores a zero in their examinations.  We can't afford to hire teachers, we want people who can get the job done.  Therefore, high-scorers are better left alone and out of our little picture."  That's more or less the gist of what he said.  I've left out the profanity and some hard-to-remember statement malformations.  :o)

NEhoo, what he said made sense!  I've never been a top-scorer in all my miserable life.  However, I've always been able to run witty circles around those who are or have been at the top of their class.  Why does this happen?  What's the point of the education system if they're just breeding grounds for the brain-intensive rather than the mind-intensive?

I feel the world would do a heck of a lot better at being a better place to live in if we'd all stop concentrating on shoveling hard facts and figures into the heads of our children, and start trying to help their minds to evolve!  People should _Learn stuff_, not _Mug things up_!  It gets them no where, or rather, it does'nt get them far.  Not in life, and not in anything more than ranking at the top of their respective classes.

People are'nt born dumb!  And I'm sure no one wants to create dumb people.  Still, the education system in most countries on the planet follow a system that breeds stagnation.  They're not gonna change till they realize the problems they're creating.  They want a better future for their children, but don't want to admit that the system their forefathers have set up is ALL WRONG!

Comments

premshree wrote:
Dec. 5th, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
I think you're hiring manager is quite a dope. While it is possible that people who scrore very high may not be very good and stuff, it does not necessarily imply that all the time. I've known a lot of folks who've scored well, etc., and some of them *are* good.

(PS: I've never scored well.)
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
When you're talking in terms of thousands of dollars being spent on recruitment and training per employee, it's better to be safe than sorry. Many companies that used to hire recruits based on academics alone felt the biting dust. Now, they perfer to reduce the chances of a failed recruit by eliminating the entire group in one clean sweep.

I agree, this is no generalization. But it's a valid point to ponder upon. A calculated risk in some cases, but I guess some companies just prefer to play uber-safe before the recruitment, rather than having to let go of a bad hire.
gavarilo wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
I think if you've to get high grades...you have to be disciplined systematic and hardworking...and generally for ppl who have greater application skills and are more intelligent,things come easily,so they tend to be a lil lazy and thus the grades are lesser....its a tradeoff..but certainly the probability in the mid band grades is more...what say management guru jim;) ?
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC)
Good point! :o)

But it's not necessarily discipline that gets the top scorers those astonishing grades. Often, it is pure hard work, and the constant kick in the butt from parents and family members that forces the kid to cram and cram till those marks are carved into their brains as the only thing worth living for.

It's true that the application oriented guys tend to be lazy and therefore, just do what's necessary to pass, but they too are compelled to get those high-scores. It's a social provocation toward scoring better and better all the time.

It's definitely a tradeoff, and as you said, it's the probability that really makes all the difference to the mid-bands. :o) You hit the nail right on the head! :o)
vijucat wrote:
Jan. 14th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
wager
The one who scored well AND are good are NOT female.
angiasaa wrote:
Jan. 15th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
Re: wager
Big AND! :o)
smithi wrote:
Dec. 5th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC)
Mind games indeed..
I used to think that grades reflected how smart or intelligent a student is until i had a talk with my papaji and realised that the only thing they reflect is the amount of time you spent on the assignments the teachers gave you. It did upset me when i didn't get all A's but then thinking about it i get reminded that what matters more is if i understood the subject or not and if i learnt its application well enough to use it with another task.
I have to agree that the high-scorers who are very concerned about grades are not always the best of people. They have a good amount of knowledge about subjects, but are terrible at other things. Worse they are terrible with people.

angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Mind games indeed..
And in most cases, they're unable to apply their tremendous knowledge to real-world situations and problems.

It's not that they are incapable or anything, it's just that they've lived so long solving ideal text-book problems, that when they're faced with real-world situations, they're thrown right off balance.

Scoring an 'A' does'nt mean you'll do bad in the real world, it's just that _most_ high-scorers are'nt worth their salt.
(no subject) - cosmodoc - Dec. 6th, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC)
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 06:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Mind games indeed..
Brilliant point! You've established just what I wanted to say in a single paragraph! :o) I could'nt have said it better!

Sadly, even in the US and the other advanced countries, Medicine and a small handful of other proffessions are following the 'practical approach'. Still, the ease with which the medical community has embraced this new mode of instruction is encouraging to say the least. If only India was wiser....

In India, we rely on brain-power alone, to outwit our foreign counterparts. When our walking RAM chips are faced with computational requirements, we crumple up and die. That's why we keep forcing the same old tried and tested(?) methods of instruction. We FEAR change!

Perhaps that's another reason why we're so slow in accepting the proposals to install nuclear power generators in our country. People shout Pollution, they shout Radiation, they shout Expensive.... What's the hurry? Nuclear fuel is comparatively cheaper (energy output v/s. price economy), It's safer with the new technology and stuff. It produces roughly 1/8'th the amount of pollution that a conventional coal/steam or natural gas generator would. And nuclear waste disposal is no longer a terrible problem to deal with.

We just fear change. We fear the number of lost jobs that these changes would entail, we fear that our booming population is gonna have to die out before we can fend for our new, and better streamlines selves.

We really _have_ to change or we'll be killed off anyway!
(no subject) - cosmodoc - Dec. 7th, 2005 03:03 pm (UTC)
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 7th, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Mind games indeed..
Yes, I fear India's going to the dogs if we don't turn around and embrace change that we've been running away from all this while. :(

I have'nt seen "The Village", though I've seen all his other movies (I think).
smriti wrote:
Dec. 5th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC)
The job they're best suited for is to be teachers.

I disagree. 'Tis not as simple a job as that comment makes it sound.
You need to be more than just a 4.0 GPA person to be able to teach.

I also see that this is just a picky tangential comment, away from the main point of the post. Just had to state it for the record. Peace :o)
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 03:08 pm (UTC)
Yes, being a teacher is definitely not a simple job. What I am trying to point out here is the fact that they are generally 'best suited' for that job-profile.

Teaching requires a teacher to be able to rattle off facts and figures and never go wrong with Adjectives and Pronouns. Only someone who's worked their lives dry, trying to master these little insignificant facts 'n' stuff can do a good job of teaching students.

A teacher can't afford to teach something they don't have concrete knowledge of. They should be able to say "Go to page 362 of the Cambridge Semantics text and look up the subtopic on associative cognition". And they should'nt go wrong! Students have the bad habit of poking teachers in the stomach nice and hard if the teacher happens to go wrong with a fact.

There's a heck of a lot more to a teacher, but that's beyond the scope of my post. :o) Not all top-scorers can teach. :o)
subtle_blues wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 03:38 pm (UTC)
There's a heck of a lot more to a teacher, but that's beyond the scope of my post.
I'm glad you cleared that up. :o)

Some of the best teachers I've known never quote from the text books, though they are compelled to do so at times, cause the students would insist that they had everything the way it was in the prescribed text. No room for the teacher's whims and caprices!

I myself have been a text book freak. That's the way my parents brought me up. The reasons they gave, seemed logical to me. They would say 'Your teachers know shit! You read the books(maybe more than just text books if you can manage) and you'll know what it is all about. Notes are for marks, We want you to know the subject':)

Never took notes in class after that, unless the teacher was exceptional and the book poor!

start trying to help their minds to evolve!
It would require a complete rerouting of the existing and a new system for the future. You would be pulling the ground from beneath the feet of millions of them societians.:)

Tiny steps, one in time, one at a time!
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 04:08 pm (UTC)
and why do the students want text-book crap? to satisfy their urge to mug stuff up and reproduce it verbatim in the final exam!

There are some good teachers who actually do an active part in causing positive evolution in the children that they teach. But those are very few in number and usually, child-minds are so distorted by the rest of society, that by the time they are old enough to think for themselves, they've started believing in the existing system so strongly that nothing you or I say can convince them that they're not really right.

Books are often WRONG! it's absolutely necessary to keep teaching yourself new things about the same subject. What the teachers teach you in class are from outdated books and curriculum that has hardly any relevance to the real world.

It would require a complete rerouting of the existing and a new system for the future. You would be pulling the ground from beneath the feet of millions of them societians.:)

check out this thread to see my take on the same thing.
vaguelyalive wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 08:00 am (UTC)
I've my exams going on right now and this made me feel so much better. Sometimes, I get all panicky thinking that if I don't do super well on every test in my life I'll have no future. Npot that all the stress makes much of a difference I still don't exactly do super well, usually my scores hover around the average mark.

I loff you for typing this up! ::hugs::
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC)
Glad to be of assistance. :o)

You have'nt been getting all panicky because of an inherent reason. It's because of the expectation that's in the minds of our parents and friends. They even go so far as to show pleasure and happiness, or even relief, when they find that their ward or friend has maxed the paper.

In part, they are the cause for all the pressure. It's not bad to do badly, but it's not good to fail either. If you're averaging somewhere in between, you're doing good. :) It shows that you're not all gray-matter, and that you have enough brain left to deal with the reality around you. You are able to focus our thoughts dynamically, rather than reading and believing in what the books (or your teachers) tell you.

Being a knowledge-bank reduces you to the status of a hard drive without processing power. In the days when computers were not around for us to refer to in times of need, it was a good idea to have such a 'learned' person around who you could ask for details. But today, they're obsolete. We have machines that work faster and better than most human beings ever could. What's the point in striving to take over a machines work when we know we'll never overtake them? :o)

You're a good girl. So.... *Hugs!* (I trust there was no naughty intent behind that.) ;o) lol!
(no subject) - cosmodoc - Dec. 6th, 2005 08:42 am (UTC)
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 03:26 pm (UTC)
Ah! The system has been a pain in my neck since a time as far back as I can remember. I've been surviving it by barely scraping through each grade. However, today, I've discovered ways to conning the system into believing that I'm way more intelligent than I really am. I can make teachers give me higher scores based on their own un-updated knowledge. :) I talk of the new things that are happening around the world, things that they've only gotten whiffs of. They can't help it, they score me with less exactitude. :o)

Yeah, I studied there between 1992 and 1997. It was a beautiful five years. :o) When abouts where you there? My sister studied at Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya as well. They (our sisters) might have known each other.
(no subject) - cosmodoc - Dec. 6th, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 06:23 pm (UTC)
Creatives such as us, always find ways of doing things. :)

Ah, we missed each other by miles in Gwalior then.... One of my favourite pastimes was to wander around the fort, studying it's various monuments and ofcourse, the palace itself. :)

I miss the old days.... :)
mansu wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 11:41 am (UTC)
I have been reading a lot of such stuff lately bashing educational systems and heres my take on it.I have been a victim and a survivour of the system.

As i see it, there are 2 ways of looking at the system , 1) You work with the system and you stay at the top
2) You work outside the system evolving yourself and then you stay at the top.

I have miserably failed at 1. But when i took path 2 i had success. But it is very difficult to walk along path 2.

Now coming to my comment, most of the bashers i see, only see path 1. Why do they not see path 2? I am not supporting the present system. I am only challenging the bashers to come up with a system that actually creates intellectuals.

IMO, path 2 is the best. You stay within the system and evolve. You will not be at the top of the class initially, but with time you will.As a bonus you also end up as a better individual.
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC)
Actually, path 2 is what the system should promote. However, the very basis for path 2 is that path 1 should first exist, or path 2 has no relevance.

Teaching has evolved in many ways since the times of our maha hrishis. Today, there are almost as many forms of teaching as there are religions on the face of the planet.

I suggest that children are tested not on their ability to retain meaningless data and formulae, they should be trained to evolve their own theories and ways of doing things. They should be given enough of a free hand to refuse the system that currently exists in India today, and to reach for their own instruments of mental evolution.

To support this, there should of course be specially trained teachers who are capable of thinking along the same track as their budding students. They should be trained in the art of unbiased evaluation, based on the merit of an idea and not just that, but also based on the methodology evolved by the student to actually derive that final idea or end product.

Sadly, actually convincing the government to do that will mean that millions of teachers (that currently teach in schools across the country) will be left without a job. It is VERY VERY hard to teach someone with an open and unbiased mind. I know, I've tried, and only been partly successful! It's very very hard!!

With so many people going out of jobs, you can believe me when I say that it's almost a hopeless battle. We'd get nowhere!

Teachers around the planet would oppose a move in this direction. Yes, they'd see the value of the new system, and deep in their hearts, they'd know that it was the right system to follow. However, they would never say so publicly since they know that they would be jobless at the end of the day. Few, if any of them, will end up being hired by companies for any job different from teaching.

They'd have no means of survival. And no matter how hard we try, there's no way we can get people to sacrifice their jobs for the good of the future. Trust me, there is'nt!

That's why the 'bashers' (as you so insultingly call them) don't bother trying to explain their theories. It's pointless. And at the end of the day, no one who really cares about their jobs will actually follow through with a suggestion to actively change the existing system.

There are a few organizations and educational societies that already follow the new models of teaching, but they are few in number and are yet to gain widespread acceptance form the public. Reason: They still need to overthrow the force of the existing academia.

Kaydeeyoh!
mansu wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
As i said already i am not supporting the old system. The reason why i call them bashers is because almost all of them critique the system without showing an alternative.(Though my exposure has been what i got my hands on and may be limited)

However, encouraging people to think on their own does not solve the problem.They have to be taught to look at the bigger picture, which any education will fail to teach because it is something related to an individual.

I tried thinking about an objective way of evaluating a person, assuming he is taught to evolve his thoughts, but i do not have any solutions.I did not say much about the argument, because your line of thought presumes an objective evaluation, but a true education IMHO does not need an "evaluation" of the student .

If you are not looking at a objective evaluation,my thoughts are similar to "Zen and the art of motor cycle maintainance", but on moq.org you would find people who take it to the extreme and conclude nihilism is the only way to gain true education, which is very absurd and sad.

Teachers loosing their jobs because of "evolving thoughts " education system is analogous to saying that people would loose their jobs because of computerisation. I only feel that in the new system, the bar will be very higher than present and there is lot of inertia in the system.And training teachers for a new system doesn't gel well with the argument, because teachers should always practice what they preach, else we are back to square one.
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC)
In that case, I'd call feminists and MCP's bashers too, I'd also call most politicians in India bashers! As a matter of fact, even our own education system is following the same regime. Most teachers would be called bashers and sadly, so would a lot of the so called research professionals.

Encouraging people to think on their own spawns a whole new breed of thinking individuals that would circumnavigate the entire theory behind a 'school education'! Schools are good for one thing: "Keeping kids out of their parents hair", and that's about it. It does'nt teach a child to be a part of mankind, it does'nt teach a girl to be a lady and it does'nt teach a boy to be a man! There are ways around that facet of the system, but that's beyond the loci of this post.

People can be taught to evolve their own thoughts. Much of the procedure involves allowing the growing individual to evaluate matters for him or herself. Sadly, that's another thing that our society fears. They think that allowing our kids to do their own thinking would mean a huge influx of so called "bad things" that would mess with these peoples lives, turning them into gun toting criminals and axe-murderers! People fear what they do not understand. We have to realize that we have to let go of our current beliefs sooner or later, and the sooner, the better.

People are'nt born fools, fools are made!

True education does not, as you've pointed out, need an 'evaluation'. However, if you plan to hire someone for your company, there will be certain evaluation criteria that you'd follow before accepting a new candidate. We're all different from a sub atomic level. But that's again, beyond our scope since we'd be delving into a level of discussion that's even lower than genetic variances, chromosome shifts and protein folding.

For the reason stated above, evaluation is necessary, but that's to the final prerogative, not for education. However, it's good to have evaluation from an early stage so that we are able to have an estimate of our current standing and therefore, be able to correct things that we might think need changing. However, it should be an individual thing, not a generic evaluation as such since that would only serve to breed machines. We'd go full circle and come right back to the point where we're following the gist of the old system once again.

I seem to side with nihilism to a great degree. The reason is obvious. It's perhaps due to my overwhelming attraction toward relativism. Since my old discussions on right or wrong, I've not changed my path away from that aspect of reality. However, I doubt nihilism is an appropriate mode of education. Such a choice should be an individual noe, and made by the individual him/herself.

Teachers loosing their jobs because of "evolving thoughts " education system is analogous to saying that people would loose their jobs because of computerisation.

Only, in this case, we're fighting against a movement that's also a way of life. It would be much harder! Besides, when we talk about computerization, we're talking about an established fact-fact situation. However, with my proposition, we're turning the world inside out. We're not making education faster, we're not performing millions of calculations a second. We're talking about modifying the crux of what a human being is being made into. And until enough people are convinced regarding the demerits of the current system and the ways in which the new system will overcome those flaws and incorporate new and more meaningful value to the population, NO ONE is gonna turn around and open their minds enough to accept such a 'wild ass' (in their opinion) proposition.

And as you say, we'll be back to square one!
vijucat wrote:
Jan. 14th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)
Can't put it better.

sticky_toffee wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
sorry if u get the same comment twice...
in a lot of educational institutions, students end up just cramming information in to their minds without understanding it because of competition to get that higher grade.
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC)
Re: sorry if u get the same comment twice...
Exactly! The entire point of 'an education' is lost because of that very fact!
sticky_toffee wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC)
Re: sorry if u get the same comment twice...
universities accept students with high grades AND THEN if they have space assess the students with lower grades. but then again, a lot of universities now want students who have more of a personality .. all rounded students over just straight A students with no activities...

That's why in an educational institution students should be encouraged to do well academically but also try to get more out of life and gain more life skills and indulge themselves in other activities that could shape their personalities...
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
Re: sorry if u get the same comment twice...
Yup, I'll agree with that. When I got selected into Wigan & Leigh a few years ago, I was surprised at their method of evaluation.

There was first the general aptitude test, followed by a screening test, then a trio of varied Group Discussion rounds and finally, it was all capped off by an interview by a panel of evaluators.

I'm a born 'aptitude test' whiz, so those were chill. But when it came around to the group discussion, I did'nt say a word! I just sat there wondering what was going on.

During the interview, they asked me wierd questions. Why my marks were always at the 'just-scraping-through' level, why I did'nt say a word during the entire GD, so many why's.... They also followed it up with personal questions, my views about sex before marriage and other strange things. Finally, they topped the cake with a background check involving my family and friends and relatives.... Also, my past schools and stuff.

A month later, when I had lost all of the little hope that I had of having made it through, I get my letter of acceptance, along with an 80% scholarship. It's a different matter that I refused the offer, but the fact remains that it turned out that I'd topped the selection in North-India.

Shocked as I was, I realized then, that marks really were'nt everything that a person is made of. That one letter was enough to boost my morale a good thousand points or so. :)

Other activities do matter, it's who and what you are, not what you have mugged up from a textbook, that really makes all the difference. :o)
chocnnuts wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)
Nice...!! I've never come remotely close to the top of class...
so whtever you've written was indeed very pleasing 2 d eyes...
but there are some very smart ppl out there who also are mugpots...
my best friend for one ;)...
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 6th, 2005 07:30 pm (UTC)
I've reached second position (total aggregate) once, and have topped in singular subjects from time to time, however, They're all sporadic achievements. I don't count them among my achievements. :o)

As for the mugpots, check out this comment thread, it works both ways.... :o)

profound_1 wrote:
Dec. 9th, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
A very good post. Much has been discussed here which I personally think about academic and on-the-task performances. I agree scoring high doesn't necessarily reflect your capability to add value in real task.
...that when they're faced with real-world situations, they're thrown right off balance Exactly, they are so much into text books, mugging up that they lose on wholistic learning...
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 10th, 2005 04:37 pm (UTC)
Thankyou. :o)

India, as a country, has great potential to develop into an intellectual super-power. Sadly, the system is too rigid and people are too unwilling to embrace change for the better.

It's not something we can sit down and fix overnight. And even if the majority of the population wanted to follow up on positive change, the ruling parties would never accept it. We're helpless. and we dare to call ourselves a democratic country! :(

Sad, India is doomed. At this rate, we'll be a country full of computers and knowledge bases. But technically, we'd be just as helpless as a powerful server, with no means of accessing its potential.

We've locked ourselves in.
acaptivatedk wrote:
Dec. 26th, 2005 12:06 am (UTC)
Hello Sir!
Merry Xmas n Happy New Year.

Good Luck for everything!
angiasaa wrote:
Dec. 27th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Hello Sir!
Thankyou kaykay_arr, that was indeed very thoughtful of you!

Here's wishing you in hope that you had a very Merry Christmas, and happiness and joy in the New Year to come.

Kaydeeyoh!
vijucat wrote:
Jan. 14th, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)
to wit
People are'nt born dumb!
But then they get educated.
angiasaa wrote:
Jan. 15th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
Re: to wit
You have my full agreement there....

In fact, even if we take the stand that people are born dumb, the fact remains that it's the education system that ensures to keep them that way! :oP