Bring Back the Failure


Somewhere over the last two or three decades, our society has fallen into a state of political correctness where children are taught that everybody wins.  Youth sports give out participation trophies and children are always told they are winners by parents, teachers, and public officials.  This creates a generation of entitlement, as many people believe that they “deserve” to get good grades, have a great job, earn a high salary, or ultimately be successful in life without putting in the work necessary to achieve that goal.  Yes, some people may have to work harder than others to achieve a certain goal, but everyone is capable of doing so.

Many areas of youth sports are guilty of political correctness in the use of participation trophies.  By giving everyone an award, winning is devalued and children are not taught how to handle failure.  There is then no incentive to work hard to get that trophy and it sets many young kids up for disappointment when they get older, as mediocre efforts are no longer rewarded.  Children who have been praised their whole life are likely to shy away from a difficulty for fear of failure.  They may take the easy way out, try to cheat, or do the minimum to get by, yet they would still expect to go to a great college or get an offer from a high-paying job.  Failure makes people stronger and makes it that much sweeter when people are awarded based on their merits.

I propose that we reinstate the merit-based society that was seen in previous generations and help children learn at an early age that they will not be given things in life and that every accomplishment must require a certain amount of work.  If we transition away from a society of entitlement, we will restore the American Dream mentality among U.S. citizens.  The change mainly will come from society as a whole, as parents, teachers and public officials must make conscious efforts to let the children fail.

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I Hate School!


If one were to listen in on a typical conversation between high school or college students there is a very good chance that the topic of disliking school or the work involved with going school will be mentioned. I am not writing this blog to argue that school is a bad idea, quite the opposite in fact. I think that today’s system for evaluating students through grades is extremely flawed. The point of going to school is about learning, not obtaining grades. Often students simply do the bare minimum to get by so that they can post the GPA that they “need” to get into college or get the job they want. This can lead to students cramming to finish projects/papers/study at the last minute. And when students cram they often to not actually learn the information. The competition for grades can also lead to cheating. Grades also are a distinct way or measuring people and there are people in the world who do not think and work the same as the majority. Therefore, these students whose minds do not work the same way are heavily penalized by the grades, affecting the entirety of their lives.

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TED week, Blog 10


This week is about using media, finding interesting topics, and exploring horizons.

The Technology Education and Design [TED] conference started some 30 years ago as a way for Silicon Valley, academia, and public intellectuals to share ideas and help set the stage for “the next big thing.”  Partly as a response to criticisms of the cost of attending, partly as celebrating information transparency, the talks, more than 1,000 now, are free to view online.

Your goal: watch a TED talk and talk about why it moved you or made you think.  We cannot all watch 18 talks, so be sure to reference a particular place in the talk that is key or memorable.  You can do so by indicating the time.

TED talks are EASY to embed in your post.  There is a special embed code for a ted talk you just cut and paste into wordpress.com  See here for instructions.

TRY NOT TO REPEAT someone else’s talk.

Optional: you _might_ find a talk related to your paper 2 OR white paper. For example, thinking of Dan, i put in “patriot act.”  The search result had this hit about ways to address violence.  Or, Jenna is doing hers on the Khan academy.  Well, Salman Khan has a talk there!

TED has many ways to search its archive.  You can use playlists.  There is a catalog of speakers. You can also search by topic.  For the super-interested, you can sign up and it will recommend content.

ENJOY!