Is it our national ECDD program (“Every Child Dumbed Down,” more commonly known as “No Child Left Behind”) that has warped our children to equate success with getting the right answers on a test? Or did the attitude precede that – success is making A’s, and you make A’s by getting right answers?
There’s nothing wrong with right answers. The problem comes when our quest (obsession?) for success prevents us from trying anything that we don’t know in advance that we can succeed at. “No, I’m going to skip the AP version of that class so I can be sure and pass.” (Or for the GPA hounds, “So I can get an A.”) Where’s the adventure in that? But maybe we don’t want adventure unless we can be sure and succeed at it.
I’ve done some sports bashing over the years – complaining about how sports has, for some, become a new national religion. Maybe in my haste I was throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Maybe the academic side needs to imbibe some of the “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (the Olympic motto – “Faster, Higher, Stronger”) attitude. That’s sure better than just doing enough to get by (what our state proficiency tests seem to be requiring).
We – the academic types – can also profit from the team aspect of sports. What can we do to get to the point where we think, “We will do better when I work harder and exert myself.” A team is made up of people of varying abilities and skills who all work together, for both the common good and individual good of the participants. Can we encourage, challenge and provoke each other? Can we dare (not letting the miscreants steal the word) each other to go beyond what each thinks he or she can do?