Nature poses a big problem for our schooling system. Since it doesn’t care for human civilization, which is possible only with values alignment, it creates each human child as an unique entity.
It is up to each school then, to invest 15 years indoctrinating and conditioning that child so s/he can become an average. This is the molding process for a civilizational fit in.
As a response to this problem of infinite variation of skills in their wards, public schools have been able to invent a Fixed Mindset Model (FMM) which can accomplish the averaging task required of them. The basic objective of this Fixed Mindset Model or FMM, is to inculcate in students the view that there is only one right way of explaining this world and its contents. Buy in of that model creates a value alignment or civilizes the child as also squashes its unique potential. Two components that make a FMM( fixed mindset model) are:
- A frozen world order
- A cultural narrative explaining it.
FMMs are based on a descriptive model of the world as opposed to a prescriptive one. This means world in FMMs is taught as an established order with fixed hierarchies. The world is never taught as fluid or work in progress. Secondly it employs singular cultural narrative to describe the world as it is (from one unique vantage point) and without any competing narrative possible for its being.
To give you a feel of FMM lets look at alternate FMMs being preached in our world. Madrassas and all other religious establishments who train students, have their unique FMMs ( fixed mindset models) as well. The difference between the two FMMs (public schools and religious schools) is in their orthodoxies only. Religious schools attribute everything to their version of god as public schools underlie all descriptions to machinations of science. Once you have your cultural narrative outlined, the fixed world view automatically emerges from it.
A school has failed in its mission if its finished product, emerges without being comfortable in a set viewpoint and intends to explore the world to learn more. To prevent such failures there are 3-4 standard techniques by which a FMM is embedded in a child’s psyche by any school.
1) Reward Conformity and punish challenge to authority.
This is a big draw as when a child with its intuitive wisdom questions the fixed world model s/he needs to be weaned away from its curiosity. This is important as rampant questioning can undermine the pillars of any FMM. Thus unquestioning loyalty is rewarded and authority challenges are punished as a royal threat.You cannot question Einstein’s findings without being laughed out of your physics class.
2) Design of curriculum
Teach each kid same macho subjects of math and sciences rather than give them a chance to explore arts, arguments and expressions with equal weightages. This is Henry Fords version of customer choice around cars being infinite, as long as they were black.
Teach kids, facts as given, to inculcate a fixed word view. Present no competing narratives for world’s working to foster debate and flexibility in outlook.
3) Standardize the testing system
Test all the students in the same broad way periodically.
Base the testing on memory based tasks and calculating abilities rather than problem solving or conceptual skills. This ensures that they will be engaged in memorizing given curriculums rather than trying to develop thinking skills of problem reformulations or creative reasoning.
4) Rank the students in class
Based on the results of the standardized testing system, rank students, in an academic pecking order. This makes them feel inadequate as well reinforces the belief that if they can conform better to the fixed system they will be rewarded with peer respect and prestige.
With these teaching innovations, schools are largely able to contain nature’s trick of replicating its own infinite creative potential, in each of the little minds. However there are some students who still rebel against these FMMs as they find them to be intuitively wrong. Inspite of their prosecution and shaming, they refuse to learn through given instructions. They drop out of colleges, run with their passions, find contentment in their unique expressions.
Adult world ironically tends to reward those school renegades.