The Myth of Learning

Tarantado, Asintado | Eric Gerard aRuiz

When she entered the room, Mrs. Doomsday happily announced that she would give a quiz, an unannounced quiz. Tada! Students were caught off guard. The teacher was delighted, humming while her students trembled, crammed, and skimmed through their notes.

Grabe pud ni si Devilia oy,” said Way. He and his friends, Tu and On, gave Mrs. Doomsday a cute nickname, Devilia. Way, when asked, said that it best reflects her personality as a teacher.

In the upper hemisphere of the class, Nag, Memo, and Rice are calling all the angels and saints to aid them in this battle against all evil, and the devil incarnate, Mrs. Doomsday.

Jusko lord, at least naka-memorize ko sa process,” said Nag.

Hala! Basin malimot ko sa ‘kong gi-memorize,” said Memo, Nag’s friend and classmate.

“Basta remember the mnemonic device, maka-answer ramo,” said Rice.

As she stood in front, everyone could see her joyful face as she listened to the noises caused by panic and fear. It was music to her ears. And when she distributed the paper, the aura of the room changed. The air became colder; time was moving slower; and silent prayers were being said. In every tick tock of Mrs. Doomsday’s stilettos was seconds passing by, or perhaps items that Way, Tu, and On couldn’t answer. It can also be a reminder that Nag, Memo, and Rice should keep in mind the mnemonic device, or the keywords they memorized in the definition of important terms.

To study is to learn. But, learning is not limited to studying. In fact, it expands at a large range, or perhaps life itself is under the range of learning. Things are taught in the four walls of the classroom, but not all things are learned in school.

Merriam-Webster would define “learn” this way: to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something.

On other hand, Merriam-Webster would define “memorize” this way: to learn (something) so well that you are able to remember it perfectly.

But, how did “memorizing” equate with “learning” if the latter encompasses a larger scope than the former?

The answer is in our education system. Whenever a teacher “barely” discusses a lesson or just reads his/her slide presentation without even explaining it, students resort to pure memorization. By pure memorization, I would call it as the art of just memorizing information without asking “why is this information here?”

I myself memorize. But, there’s a difference between memorizing barely discussed facts and information than those that were properly explained and discussed. If a teacher barely discussed a lesson, through pure memorization, I can answer questions like “Who is the father of Maria Clara?” or “When did the Suez Canal open?”. But, what if the question was different. Question like “What is the best literary criticism for this short story?”, how can pure memorization help me? It is given that I know the definition of every literary criticism, but how can I use these memorized definitions to answer that question?

Now, our education system has become a playing field, not a ground for learning. Why? Some teachers think that by making their standards too high, it will make them reputable and look scholarly. But, it’s not the case. Before one sets a high standard, one must establish his/her credentials. Teachers should make themselves “believable.” Some are just trying-hard-educators. There are only a few teachers in Silliman whom I can call legit, and most of them are my teachers in arts subjects.

My teacher in religion said that learning is not a game. Giving surprise quizzes is a form of game because the teacher is merely playing with the students. It’s like the never ending chase of cat and mouse. Learning should not instill fear to the minds of the students. Coincidentally, fear starts with F of which its meaning is known to be the greatest weapon of most fear-inspired teachers. Here’s an advice: before they fail a student, they should remember if they failed their duty as teachers. Giving an F to a student who deserves that grade is an act of good faith that the teachers have done their jobs, but the students didn’t do their part. On the contrary, I shall not disclose further.

As a student, I look up to my teachers. I love them, even though I curse some of them whenever I study for a pretentious exam. Though they’re not doing their job, I can still get a lesson from them: not all people are meant to be educators.

But, my only request is that teachers should look back to the roots of learning. They should ask themselves, “why am I teaching?” Every teacher should stop and contemplate. My teacher in EL 33 always reminds me that when writing an essay, I should have a purpose. And, I would use that reference to all the teachers. What is your purpose in teaching? Why should the students look up to you? What is your aim for the students? I know that these questions can be answered by a Miss-Universe-type of answer. But, make no mistake. An answer from the heart reveals one’s true purpose, and shows pure dedication and passion.

About theweeklysillimanian (1996 Articles)
Official student news publication of Silliman University.

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