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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!


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.
(no subject) - gavarilo - Dec. 6th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - angiasaa - Dec. 6th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC)
wager - vijucat - Jan. 14th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
Re: wager - angiasaa - Jan. 15th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
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) - (Anonymous) - Dec. 6th, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Mind games indeed.. - angiasaa - Dec. 6th, 2005 06:17 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Dec. 7th, 2005 03:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Mind games indeed.. - angiasaa - Dec. 7th, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC)
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)
(no subject) - subtle_blues - Dec. 6th, 2005 03:38 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - angiasaa - Dec. 6th, 2005 04:08 pm (UTC)
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) - (Anonymous) - 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) - (Anonymous) - Dec. 6th, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - angiasaa - Dec. 6th, 2005 06:23 pm (UTC)
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.

(no subject) - mansu - Dec. 6th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - angiasaa - Dec. 6th, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - vijucat - Jan. 14th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)
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!
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.

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