https://www.duolingo.com/Free-Quark

Surpressing Learning

I know that maybe this post is not exactly perfectly Duolingo related, and I will receive a lot of smack for posting it, but this is important. With thanksgiving recently and the school year started a few months ago, I realize my life has changed. I used to be home schooled and now I have been tossed aside into a school whose academic counselor, who is supposed to figure out something for my advanced brain to do during class time, told me to stop learning. I remember the first time I was told that I was 7 and it was shocking to hear someone suggest such a thing then, and it is even more so now. To get to my point, these thoughts were swarming my mind on Thanksgiving as relatives bombarded me with school related questions, and I could offer up nothing positive until I crawled, gratefully, back into my introvert shell and thought. What am I grateful for? The answer is simple: the liberating, free education that tools like Duolingo and Khan Academy provide. They do not tell you to stop learning, and they do not force you to pay for knowledge, they tell you to learn with a burning passion — as we all should. So I simply want to convey my thanks to everyone who makes Duolingo possible: thank you for allowing my restless brain to do what it loves most, and learn. You got education right while the rest sat around scratching their heads and telling people with great potential to shut up and sit quietly in the corner. Happy late Thanksgiving Duolingo, I am grateful for you. ~Luna

2 months ago

29 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

"stop learning"?? did s/he mean you should devote yourself to some non-academic stuff like music, art, and drama? Or had you got too far ahead of the curriculum? I know in many schools in NZ in order to be "inclusive" they no longer stream by ability and often target the class way too low. Then they wonder why people get bored and our international rankings are dropping year after year.

If the latter, all I can suggest is what you are doing. Find outside stimulation for your brain. But don't drop out of the boring class work because those bits of paper do count in the long term.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Free-Quark

The exact quote from the more recent instance was: " I see you have completed the Geometry and Algebra I, but do not start the Algebra II, else we will have this same 'problem' next year. The same should go for the rest of your classes. Keep your As, but don't do more. " At that point I just stopped listening, it was truly despicable, and my school is a science and math college prep charter school, and my class will be the first to graduate, as it is a new school. A shameful start.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PeterPan173079

This is a teacher's dilemma. Of course it would be perfect if you could give each child the exercises they need to optimally progress according to their speed. In reality, that's like trying to cook each member of a big family a different meal. Each day. There is a limit to the hours of a day for everyone. Of course telling students that are ahead to stop learning is not a good idea. It would be far better to suggest them doing fun, related tasks within the current material and encourage them to take initiative themselves. Good teachers that try this often get discouraged if they see their lazy colleagues get away with a low effort approach every single time.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kathy336369

In Junior high science class many years ago the teacher realized that I knew his curriculum from reading and he gave me one of his wife´s college anthropology books to read and write reports on each chapter. Maybe individual teachers would be willing to give you special assignments.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/exp271828
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Balance in life is truly important. Being good at only one thing can be harmful to a career in the long haul, especially if you only focus only on your strengths and ignore the other stuff that it takes to be fully human.

On the flip side, I once (a long, long time ago) had a librarian at one our "fine" public schools take a book away from me because it was "too advanced". And I was really enjoying that book. Lesson was, don't let anyone tell you what you can or can't do. If you want something, go get it. Period. (One of my favorite lines from a movie - which movie was it? Ah well.)

If you're feeling REALLY advanced, another resource you might make use of (in addition to Duolingo or Khan Academy) is MIT OCW (Massachusets Institute of Technology Open Course Ware) ... they have lots of video lectures on a variety of subjects, some of which might be good for you. You can do a google search on MIT OCW video lectures for some ideas about what they have.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Free-Quark

First: I love Open Course Ware and MIT, they had a summer program that I went to where they taught geeky kids all kinds of stuff from Regenerative Bio to Rocket Science! Second: I feel that I do have a good balance on my life — even between the academic and non-academic parts of it, and I have tried to keep this in place, but I found that going to a traditional school has hindered this delicate balance more than I expected it to. Lastly: every teacher who is put off by the intelligence of a child first takes away the book they used to get away from the classroom boredom.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/exp271828
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Wow - I'm impressed! Just out of curiousity, what's your level in math?

I'm kind of intrigued by your screen name ... Have you ever read Finnegan's Wake? "Three quarks for muster Mark, sure he ain't got much of a bark ...", leave alone the itty-bitty subatomic stuff. ... riverrun, from swerve of shore past bend of bay ... If you like physics, a fun book you might enjoy is "A Random Walk in Science", written a long, long time ago - within my lifetime, but still a long time ago!

As for why, why, for the fun of it, of course! (chuckle)

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Free-Quark

My math level? Honestly, I have virtually no clue since I have dabbled around so much. I know for sure that I am 100% solid up until (and including) high-school geometry, but I am certainly further than that. When I was a fifth grader (in public schools at the time) I began to puzzle out Algebra I and finished it in 6th grade when I was home schooled again. In eighth grade I taught myself pre-calc with the help of Khan Academy, and I have taken courses at MIT, Yale, and Columbia University (day programs) in everything from P-adic number theory to Galois theory. Sooo.... I'm not sure. As per my screen name it is based off of a quantum physics phenomena, in which a quark cannot exist alone, and I used to say "Lone Quark!" when my teacher did roll call or called on me in class to infer that I was unable to exist and thus not able to participate or pay attention. I later changed this to "Free Quark" to ensure that it was known that this quark feels free without its counterpart. I suppose that answers the physic question as well.... I remember the first time I sat in a class on Special and General Relativity at Yale, it was when I first really realized who I was, since then I have read so many physics books including Stephen Hawking's "The Grand Design", and books by Leonard Mlodinow, Carlo Rovelli, Neil deGrasse Tyson and so many others, and as far as math goes, I have read the (British) book "Mathematics 1001" cover-to-cover. I am currently anticipating "Math with Bad Drawings" ( "hold 2 on 3 circulating copies" indeed!) by Ben Orlin, who has a blog of the same name. As per the books you mentioned, I will surely look into both of them!

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreaCarv731151

I recently started homeschooling and I've never been happier. I've had teachers get mad at me for working ahead, I've had teachers tell my parents to not let me or my brother learn more outside of school, I was constantly bombarded by overly repetitive schoolwork that did nothing but bore me. The American school system is pitiful, there are so many students who have ideas but no one ever wants to listen. To those of you who take the time to continue learning even when told not to, you guys are amazing and will one day make a difference for at least one single person. Don't lose hope or give up just because counselors or teachers tell you to.

2 months ago

[deactivated user]

    I agree. It's really just a scam. If I were an administrator, I would feel ashamed of what we do to kids

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
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    AndreaCarv731151,

    As someone who was largely homeschooled after spending a few years in the public/private American school system, I can agree that there are a lot of good things students do that are discouraged; as you mentioned, working ahead seen to be as something "bad," repetitive schoolwork, and unhearing teachers. I was 8, a speedreader with a photographic memory, reading 3 or 4 chapters ahead every night, and remembering enough to skip it later and still remain an honors student. Eventually, I quit telling my teachers proudly what I accomplished on the side...they acted like it was wrong or something of that sort.

    Aside from everything else, traditional schools' language education classes are downhill and in need of serious reboot. I would have never become fluent in Spanish this way. I know a few who took Spanish for years (as many do), and still cannot form a coherent sentence. The whole institution needs an update for language education in its totality.

    Currently I am flying through a German book while listening to Russian music with comprehension and filling vocabulary in my Serbian notebook...this is something I wish I had been doing earlier in life and something I surely would not have had time for if in "regular" school.

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/AndreaCarv731151

    LaurianaB, I took three years of French before I left public schooling (oddly enough I actually left due to home issues and missing 7 months of school, not because the school system sucked), the teacher changed teaching patterns all the time and got to the point where French 1 knew more than French 3. We were discouraged from learning outside words, and if we used a word she did not teach us the assignment was an automatic fail. It's crazy how in other parts of the world students are often bilingual before they even enter high school. I've learned more on my own in the last year than I have in my time in junior high and highschool put together.

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
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    AndreaCarv71151,

    We were discouraged from learning outside words, and if we used a word she did not teach us the assignment was an automatic fail.

    This is interesting. Why would a French teacher want you to ...not learn French, if you could? What do they gain from you staying behind or not finding your tests and homework easy because of outside study? I would have run into the same thing with Spanish.

    I'm glad to hear that you seized the opportunity you had to learn as much as possible to your full potential. It's a breath of fresh air to me among our lazy youth! Cheers to you :)

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Appletree761932

    All schools are bad. I'm unschooled, breezing through all my books, learning important life skills many kids (including some of my schooled friends) don't get a peep at, and loving it! I'm in the UK, 14 and never even been to nursery.

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
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    Appletree761932,

    Be careful with making generalizations about education! All power to you if you can live "unschooled" and be a successful and well-rounded individual. However, organized education is and has always been a highly studied and specialized path to best inform our youth with the information they need in adulthood and instill them with the work ethic and real-life skills they need. Am I saying that all schools have the method and resources right? Absolutely not. But there are girls and boys alike in underdeveloped countries who would die to have a chance at those "bad" schools. Best to keep it all in perspective...good luck to you, regardless!

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

    The problem is you may not know what you don't know. A good education should cover a broad base of skills that can be built on later. Poor preparation can make life harder later. Who would think a solid grounding in maths would be needed for someone wanting to work with horses? (Does if you later want to do tertiary level qualifications) Or spelling and grammar is needed if you are a science nerd. Also school also plays another important role - getting you able to cope with life outside school where your time is determined, your physical location the same, and you have to get on with a range of people - including complete idiots.

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
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    You've a great point there, Judit. It's not just the "books" in school...it's the real-life situations you cannot escape and social skills you learn that benefit you when you are in the real workplace and cannot just run out a room with a bunch of people you do not like (or people who don't like you). As my mother said, "you'd suffer repercussions for something you did in front of everyone one day, and then you'd have to get up and...go to school the next day. It builds character.."

    Have my upvote and lingot!

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/redneckray

    Life is crowded, learning is lonely. Don't use learning as a way to avoid doing things kids should love doing.

    Social graces. If it isn't important to you now it will be: to dance, to kiss, to tell jokes, to feel comfortable in any situation.

    It ain't found in books, it's one of those on-the-job skills.

    Been there, done that.

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Free-Quark

    I do try, however, I am extremely socially awkward. My social graces tend to be composing music and writing books. I balance the best I can.

    2 months ago

    [deactivated user]

      You don't need to be the popular kid

      2 months ago

      [deactivated user]

        The American school systems (really most systems besides finland) are the most corrupt institutions on the face of the earth. This is such a sad fact. I'm gifted, but treated less than an average kid. I feel you, dude

        2 months ago

        https://www.duolingo.com/PeterPan173079

        There may be a handful of countries doing slightly better than the USA, but the differences are not dramatic and the public education faces the same challenges. There are more than one hundred and fifty countries doing worse, some taking it to the extreme and giving students an average of two years of public education and that's while most of the kids already have to work alongside that. There is just no comparison here.

        2 months ago

        https://www.duolingo.com/Multi0Lingual4
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        Exaggeration much?

        2 months ago

        [deactivated user]

          No, actually. These systems are based on the world during the industrial revolution. Schools are like an old person just slowly holding on everyday. Everything advances, except schools

          2 months ago

          [deactivated user]

            Honestly it's no surprise that people call Americans the dumbest people in the world. Our schools (especially in the cities and rural areas) are bad.

            2 months ago

            https://www.duolingo.com/Appletree761932

            All schools are bad. I'm unschooled, breezing through all my books, learning important life skills many kids (including some of my schooled friends) don't get a peep at, and loving it! I'm in the UK

            2 months ago

            https://www.duolingo.com/PeterPan173079

            I can relate to a lot of things you're pointing out and I believe you're on the right track. You can't really rely on teachers providing you with more education than what's outlined in the class plans - it's rewarded too little, both for the student and the teacher, while "doing nothing" rewards both of them with "hey, free time!".

            The sources you mentioned are fantastic. At least Duoligo is something, everyone here knows already, so let me add some fun AND useful AND educational other options:

            Learning another skill, like art, a musical instrument, magic tricks, calligraphy or cooking asian style from sources like youtube and online skill trading platforms.

            Finding an organization in your community that lets you volunteer. Helping homeless pets or people, volunteer fire brigade, teaching elderly people how to use their mobile devices safely or helping immigrants with paperwork, there are organizations and associations for all this stuff and they often need volunteers. You not only have a chance to gain social skills, you will pick up a lot of related knowledge on the way that can even become relevant later. Teens that volunteer often study a related subject and already have a network going that knows them.

            Using online resources for learning is great, contributing is even greater. I started editing the wikipedia out of boredom during downtimes at the job I had at the time, only going for very easy edits after comparing articles in German and English - just filling in the gaps that one version had and the other covered. But it doesn't stop there. To properly do that, you need to research and you learn a lot automatically, before you even realize that.

            2 months ago

            https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
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            Someone at a learning institution funded by our state told you to ....stop learning? This is ludicrous. I must say, you are raised to obey authorities and "teachers" for certain, but they are not always right. I think this being told to your face is a product of our lazy society. And I also do not think that there are enough "special" programs (and I do not mean for disabilities, but for overachieving, high-potential students on the opposite end) for students like you. And for this reason, they would rather not help you reach your full capacity but group you in with the rest, the large bit of whom likely don't even want to be in school at all. And as a "gifted" student myself, I highly resent this.

            My heart goes out to you...this is not how people are supposed to be going about the handling of your education! Don't take it to heart, learn as much as you wish, and blow them all away. You can do it! Cheers to you, Luna! <3

            2 months ago

            https://www.duolingo.com/Free-Quark

            I know, it appalled me. My mother says they have been telling her to take away my books and ability to move ahead and learn since I first entered the public school (2nd grade... I passed the kindergarten entrance exam, and they told my mom not to send me to school). Of course, she didn't because I would apparently throw tantrums when I was without intellectual stimulation, and I am very grateful that she fueled my brain instead. Thank you for your immense understanding LaurianaB! Have a Lingot and cheers to you as well!

            2 months ago
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