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Cheers - AE

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Here's your certificate in showing up for certificates.

Short one, this. Having seen that kids get rewarded in school for pretty much anything up down to, and possibly including, metabolising their fucking lunch I was going to blog on what a farce it is. Then I noticed that Leg-Iron has already done it in detail and said everything I would have in 'The award for remembering to breathe goes to...'
The point is, those certificates and prizes mattered because we had to work for them. The sporty types won prizes for running fastest or throwing things the furthest or lifting the heaviest thing. First, second and third counted. Nothing else. There was no certificate for 'totally bloody useless' so there was no point in me entering. I didn't feel left out or isolated. Those folk might be able to throw me around or run rings round me but not one of them would ever beat me in an insult contest. It meant sports day was worth watching because only those who thought they were in with a chance would enter, which meant there was a real competition going on.


These kids will eventually leave school. Some might get jobs. They will expect to be applauded into work every morning and to get a certificate for turning up more than half the time. They will want sitting-at-a-desk certificates and coffee-making awards. They are going to get a very nasty shock.

In real life, there are punishments for getting things wrong but no awards for getting trivia right. Some things are just expected and if you can't do those things without constant praise, nobody will employ you for long. The way we were taught prepared us for that. The way these kids are being taught does not. Worse, many will fail to spot the difference between these random awards and real qualifications.

Go read the lot - about all I can possibly add is that the only way they'll be alright is if they're employed by peers who would also have been conditioned into thinking that a certificate in eating without forking your own eyes out is sufficiently noteworthy to put on a resumé, though of course if things get to that stage we're all fucked.

Now, class, who thinks they know what mistake Tommy made?

The only hope is that kids prove us wrong again and turn out not to be as stupid as adults sometimes think they are. Some people think they can't tell the difference between reality and videogames and unless I was some kind of child genius (and all the evidence says otherwise) I reckon that's probably crap for all but a very small minority of children. So maybe most of them can see a bullshit certificate in a meaningless activity for what it is as well.


JuliaM said...

"The only hope is that kids prove us wrong again and turn out not to be as stupid as adults sometimes think they are."

I'd hope most of them will, but this war is being fought on two fronts.

You'll have missed the police 'public service' adverts that have played non-stop over here during Christmas, telling us all not to forget to lock our doors at night and keep valuables hidden.

Now, on the one hand, there's a subtle message that we shouldn't 'flaunt' possessions or it's our own fault if they are stolen, and then there's also the mesdsage that the public need someone to tell them this in the first place...

I don't know which is worse, frankly.

Angry Exile said...

Sorry for not replying to this, though I sort of did over at yours. It's a little patronising perhaps but good on 'em for the tacit admission that the cops can't be everywhere and that individuals really need to take the responsibility for looking after their stuff themselves. The only part that really annoys me is that people are denied all the means of doing so.

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