The Transition to Valuable Social Contribution
Shaun Kerry, M.D.
Diplomate, American Board
of Psychiatry and Neurology
One of the reasons for
low morale among students is
that they feel their work is meaningless and has no lasting value.
We could free up the student's time by eliminating required courses and
allowing the students to develop according to their own unique
personalities. If we are to solve the problems that confront our
society, we will need to do more than memorize data, pass tests, and
forget. We will need to develop creativity. And the biggest
obstacle to developing creativity is fear. Along with criticism,
fear is the
|primary motivational force in today's school
Goleman, Kaufman, and Ray (1992) call this psycho-sclerosis, or a hardening of the attitudes. Fear
activates the limbic system and shuts down the cerebral cortex.
Play - which stimulates creativity - is all but outlawed. If
evenings and weekends are packed with homework, there is no time for
Our mind has evolved over hundreds of thousands of
years and is accustomed to
learning through a wide variety of experiences and senses: visual,
perceptual, intuitive, interpersonal, emotional, artistic, and verbal.
If our only method of conveying information is through the printed word,
then we are ignoring ninety percent of our brain. We are not
adapted to sitting in a classroom for hours on end with a narrow focus
on words alone.
||Dr. Myron Tribus had a powerful influence on the post-World War II
recovery of Japan. In a few decades, that nation went from almost
being completely devastated to becoming a prolific producer of extremely
high quality products.
William Glasser, M.D. has applied Dr. Tribus' principles to
education. He states:
|"Boss-teachers tell students every day to work
hard; even though they are punished, many students still do not work
hard. In fact many do even less after they are punished."
fear isn't a good motivator, what is? Let's look at what
● Real-world relevance
● The skills that are needed to get a good job and earn a
Information about health and medical issues
● Ability to make a
● Teachers who listen
rather than lecture
● Adults who care rather than
Some of the most highly praised books on
education that exist today, though in a more verbose
style, will say essentially the same thing. Children are generally
curious about the world around them, when information about it is
presented in a colorful and engaging way. But they want to be in
charge of their own lives. They learn much better when they are in
control. For some reason, our educational system can't seem to
break out of this rigid straightjacket. We are prisoners of our
own mindlessness, and each one of us must realize our responsibility to
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