I will always place myself firmly in the Arts field; literacy, history, reading, writing, religion, philosophy, etc etc. Maths and science? Not so much. So I did a law degree; it catered for everything I enjoy, love, about learning; reading, analysis, writing, evaluation, debate… then I had to do Property and Tax Law and I was handed a calculator. I quite genuinely didn’t know how to work out 1%, and had no idea how many zeros were in 1.2 million. Ideally no child should go to University lacking these skills, but shockingly enough I actually received a C at A-level maths… I had the skills didn’t I? No, no I never. Why? Because I hated maths! Why did I hate maths? Because I had never been told how maths would ever be relevant to my life. I had to learn the basics of maths again on my own. I really enjoyed teaching myself maths and it pains me to admit that I really could have secured an A. Had maths been put into different contents, perhaps even as a small part of English or History, moulded into examples of how the world really works, I might not have had an A-level at all but I also might have had no problems in University. What I really needed from maths was parallels with everyday life, and not a generic Timmy walked to school at this speed, for this many miles, how long did it take him? I needed real life maths, the things I am now struggling to understand and deal with… I really didn’t need differentiation, integration or Trigonometry! I needed very basic, real life situations, maths lessons; and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Science is different. As much as I really didn’t need science, I did enjoy it; some of it. I did A-level Chemistry, truth be told I was more interested in Physics but the dreaded maths was problematic for me. I really don’t think this is fair. As an inquisitive person I actually enjoy all areas of science- I never thought I’d enjoy Biology but Richard Dawkins converted me- the only problem is I enjoy the theory of science. I don’t care about working out the theory I just want to be educated in it, I want to know how the world works without being given a complicated equation to prove the probability of a finding, or memories the periodic table, or know the inner workings of a leaf; school doesn’t offer anything that comes close to what I wanted. Most unfortunately school really teaches you nothing, or very little, about evolution and the scientists version of Creation. I am fascinated by religion, but I lack a balanced argument because the science was never shared with me in school – and I know many will argue that religion and science should never be brought together for a balanced argument, I’m not one of those people and I mean no offence to anyone, but, I am 100% with Dawkins on the campaign for evolution to be taught in schools; without it you can never claim to be fully informed. I am exploring what I like to call the scientific part of my religious education, by myself (hence the new Dawkins obsession) and, like my self-taught maths journey, I am really enjoying it; to the point that I know it is incorrect for me to currently use the word religion, really I should say Christianity, but I am working towards religion because now that I’ve started I want to fully understand it all; or my argument will never be balanced and my opinion will never be informed.
The point is, while school didn’t offer me what I wanted, I was always aware of my strengths and so I played to them. I gained the literacy and analytical skills that got me into a Law Degree, and my passion for learning is allowing me to fill in the gaps school created. A lot of people do not share my enthusiasm for learning; I firmly believe that in the majority of cases this is because they had the same unfulfilling schooling as me, while also lacking the curiosity that I, apparently, was born with. While I went to University desperate to learn more, I came out even more willing and anxious to explore new avenues, because my natural curiosity was toned, groomed and heightened by a selection of amazing tutors. People are wrong when they state they hate education or learning, everyone enjoys to discover something new; it’s school, the education system, that people have gained a massive dislike for; this can be changed, curiosity can appear in places it never showed before. Curiosity exists in everyone, we are all born with it, but the current mode of teaching seems to quash and frown upon it, this is so very wrong. Curiosity killed the cat… maybe, or maybe it was the bus that hit the cat, or the river he fell into; it really is the worst of all clichés, but can be perfectly matched by… you’d never leave the house in the morning. Leave the house. Explore the world, become inquisitive again, learn to ask question again, become that 3 year old who asks Why to everything, learn to learn again and you’ll be amazed at the change it will make; not just to you, but those around you, and most importantly to those whose education you are responsible for.