Re: The school game

Eric Crump (wleric@SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU)
Mon, 12 Aug 1996 12:36:15 -0500

You've reminded me of one of my favorite bits from _Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance_:

"The best students always are flunking. Every good teacher knows that."

The same thread runs through a book I'm reading now by John Holt: _How
Children Fail_. He observes that the best intellects are not always the
best students, that some students really are more interested in learning
for their own reasons and purposes and decline to cater to adults, refuse
to pay for approval with obedience. And the 'successful' students are
sometimes not so much more intelligent or creative as simply better at

I think the *best* thing students can do is turn the game to their advantage.
Apologies to the well-behaved quiz-takers out there, but obedience is too
often a gesture of concession to the seemingly monolithic authority of the
teacher, of the school. Attempts to thwart it are understandable, maybe even
laudable, but they often come in the form of disruptive and distructive
behavior. I think we ought to appreciate students who thwart cleverly,
creatively, and even productively.

--Eric Crump