When they teach you things in school they never tell you why they’re going to be useful. I think this is a failing. I mean, I was the kind of kid who generally speaking liked school, and was never particularly averse to learning things just because, but even I might have been more enthusiastic about certain subjects if they’d been prefaced with some kind of practical application.
Granted, I never needed a real world application for learning about post Enlightenment revolutions in Eastern Europe or reading Jane Austen. This is probably a good thing because I’m not sure that 10th grade me would have been convinced by the argument that I would desperately need to know 19th C European geography in order to read a newspaper one day. I might have been on board with the idea that learning how to parse an English text would stand me in good stead for critical readings of Ethan Allen commercials and the problematic racial narratives of wildly lucrative, if not very good, movies in later years. Then again in 9th grade I didn’t pepper my conversation with words like agency, heteronormative and paradigm, so maybe not. I did, however, use words like parse, because see above about being that kind of kid. Read the rest of this entry ?