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I wish I could recall the name, but I read an essay on the general concept of this topic not too long ago. Essentially the author referenced how schools are stratified into a series of groups: lower class, lower middle class, upper middle class, and elite (not sure if these are 100% accurate).

The author explained (from a series of in-person observations) the differences in education at each of the various levels. Children at the lower class level were taught to always listen to their teachers, be on time, and not to question things too much. Jump to upper middle class and the children were taught how to organize into groups or promote consensus (much like a mid-level managerial position). Finally at the top, children were given less concrete homework and were asked to explore their creativity. They were also taught to question their teachers, and most class time was spent as a dialogue between the group and not a lecture from the "instructor."

Really interesting topic and I wish more people paid attention to these things. Imagine where we'd be as a society if we didn't mold each other into groups or social brackets. Blows my mind.

I can relate to this based on my experiences from high school. I don't think that things are structured like this intentionally. (I think that few teachers and principal's would intentionally hold back the lower class students) But, if you have a kid who tends to do his homework less, think school is 'not cool,' and in general doesn't like authority (something I feel was more prevalent among the poorer students in my education), you get a much stronger attitude of 'sit down and do your homework' from the teachers.

Then you have the upper level classrooms, where assignments were almost never turned in late, and students generally had less animosity towards authority in general. They still disobeyed and did creative things and whatnot, but they did it out of curiosity, and not because they were trying to irritate the teachers.

Actually, I'm thinking of several cases specifically in my class where students held visible animosity towards these teachers. These students consistently had the lowest grades in the class.

There's definitely something to this.

If the students won't cooperate/behave/listen, how could the teacher ever hope to progress beyond reinforcement of "you need to cooperate/behave/listen"?

It's sort of like the old adage that you need to understand the rules before you can break them. If one doesn't understand why you have to listen to the instructor, they're far less likely to be productive in a setting where interruptions are expected/encouraged.

I'd add some theories cynically stating that the education, at times, designed to sustain replenishment of industry and nothing more.

I guess i'm more individualist than pluralist, but it seems too much of a society-impeded existence rather than growing of the inner self. I'm also tempted to bet that this layered approach you experienced, by providing tension between layers, is endebting us more in the long run.

I'm curious where this came from. I wonder if it can also be broken into something like:

[1] Public school: low, low and mid classes

[2] Alternative school (private or public): upper mid class

[3] Best private schools: elite

With [2] and [3] making use of alternative education models (e.g. Montessori, Waldorf, Democratic), and most importantly recognizing that EVEN STUDENTS can be fairly competent human beings that have the capability to both breathe and think rationally at the same time if given the opportunity a sufficient amount of times.

I've seen [3] at public schools, from a very slim handful of teachers. Those teachers tended to generate strongly polarized opinions about themselves among students.

From what I can see, there is also a pretty strong correlation in the UK between the "rank" of a school and the amount of time pupils spend playing sports (particularly rugby) as part of the curriculum - presumably for the perceived leadership/team-building that these sports are believed to promote.

At my high school, and at my college as well, the sports players are generally looked down upon by the 'gifted' or 'AP' students. I don't know how sports players compare to the average student, but the average GPA on our cross country and track teams always shocked me a little. Few of my friends ever got below 3.5, and the sports teams often had averages below 2. The football team (by rumor, I never actually saw the numbers) was the lowest gpa sport in our school.

NB I was using the UK sense of school - high or junior school. People here generally don't refer to universities or colleges as "schools" (apart from "law school").

Possibly because rugby is a good way to get rid of excess energy and constructively channel some aggression as well as the team building and discipline aspects.

I remember reading that it had been suggested that all schools do 1 hour of physical education/excersize before school officially starts, this would help children concentrate.

This is the basic premise of "Waiting for Superman." It's a fairly good documentary on the failings of American public education. The majority of the film focuses on the problem of stratification and the impact it has on both lower and upper levels of the stratification.

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