July 08, 2004

Life: Team Sport

A response to Bill Cosby, and some good advice for anyone struggling in school:

...Here's something that might actually help a black student, instead of paralyzing them with more guilt and condemnation. It wasn't until after I got my G.E.D. and started taking community college courses that I realized that the students who get "good" grades usually get help. Lots of it. They study in groups. They tutor one another.

That may seem obvious but I'll tell you why I never did that. I had internalized the neo-white supremacist idea (being peddled, perhaps unwittingly, by columnists like Sowell) that black people are intellectually inferior. To my young, naive, indoctrinated mind, I didn't equate getting good grades with "acting white." I equated asking for help with an admission of intellectual inferiority! ...

The interesting thing about that point is that it could apply equally well to the job market. The groups that do the best in the business world are the ones that help each other. Dubya is a classic example of that, because I don't think anyone believes he'd have made it on his own if he'd been born George Smith. Even in politics, the party that currently sticks together the most is the one with all three branches of government under their thumbs.

You could almost consider this a proven, scientific fact. It turns out to be very probable that humans have climbed so high on the evolutionary ladder because there are lots of old people. That's right, old people. Extra hands to help out, better collective long term memory, more mature decision making ability, etc. So, as members of a species that got where it is because it didn't abandon the long in the tooth, we should definitely treat life as a team sport.

Posted by natasha at July 8, 2004 08:43 AM | | Technorati links |

my kid just took the infamous third grade tests in NY, and while we were going over the material (lots of which was traditionally fourth grade material), I found that no-one was teaching them standardized test strategy.

I've offered to help a friend of hers who had to go to summer school (english is her second language, so she didn't do as well on it) when it's her time to study - from what I can tell, though, they aren't teaching them test strategy there either.

Posted by: julia at July 8, 2004 05:30 PM

Boys may suffer from an overly 'feminized' learning environment. I am not an expert but I wonder if gender-segregated classes would help. Could it be that boys would do better if their competitive spirits were encouraged?

Hopefully the Internet will eventually level the playing field in terms of access to information and education. This may be more important in developing countries than in the USA too. It really seems like the World is close to a great leap in education where anyone with electricity and time will be able to educate themselves. That will truly unlock the human potential.

Posted by: John Doe at July 10, 2004 04:53 AM