Being molded by the world

This is my 11th year of being a student, and today, I learned the definition of “learning” according to my AP Psychology curriculum.

Learning –  a relatively permanent change in an organism’s behavior due to experience

This took me by surprise. I’ve never doubted the fact that learning is always a positive process to make you a better person. When I asked my teacher if that’s true, she said that it wasn’t. Learning can turn you from a positive state to a negative state, she said.

I thought about what we learn in school; we spend approximately eight hours in school every day, five days a week—that’s 1440 hours of your time (180 days/school year x 8 hours) at school excluding all the assignments and tests to study for.

Most of us who come to school believe that the mere action of coming to school, sitting in classes, and doing their assigned homework are making them smarter—moving from a neutral state to a positive state more and more each day.

I mean, we’re learning right? But what if that’s not the case?

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An army of cookie cutters. Photo by Pekka Nikrus, taken from Flickr

All teachers aren’t perfect, respectively. As students, we don’t know their life story or their background; all we know is that they’re teaching what the district and essentially the  American education system want them to teach.

I don’t deny the fact that compulsory education is not meaningless. I’m sure students who have finished all the way from elementary school to high school feels more prepared to enter society than kids who haven’t gone through the school system.

However, maybe it’s giving us a template to follow, a cookie cutter that makes you an “ideal” person. Maybe it’s taking away a lot of our individual brightness and creativity.

Humans don’t need templates to be successful and useful to society.

We certainly are capable of exceeding the expectations of society, even if those expectations are simply perceptions created by us.

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