Can You Teach a Zebra Some Algebra?: The Alchemy of Learning

Can You Teach a Zebra Some Algebra?: The Alchemy of Learning

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This book asks what seems like a silly question-can you teach a zebra some algebra? You may in turn ask-what kind of a question is that? How can one teach algebra to a zebra? However, that is exactly what the education system that we have inherited is attempting to do. Teachers go on to teach a subject with very little knowledge of the real subject-the student.

Our schools remind us of the story of a sports school for animals. Here the teacher is employed to train animals to compete for the Animal Olympics. The teacher looks at a rabbit and teaches it to fly. Then he gets hold of an eagle and forces the bird to run. The elephant is asked to swim and the tortoise is advised to practice a high jump. Finally, after fifteen years of training is over, the duck is declared the Olympic champion. Why? The duck can do a little bit of hopping, flying, jumping and swimming-a jack of all trades and master of none. Think of what's happening in our schools today. Students, like the duck in the story are asked to do a bit of everything with no deep knowledge of anything.

Our schools remind us of the story of a sports school for animals. Here the teacher is employed to train animals to compete for the Animal Olympics. The teacher looks at a rabbit and teaches it to fly. Then he gets hold of an eagle and forces the bird to run. The elephant is asked to swim and the tortoise is advised to practice a high jump. Finally, after fifteen years of training is over, the duck is declared the Olympic champion. Why? The duck can do a little bit of hopping, flying, jumping and swimming-a jack of all trades and master of none. Think of what's happening in our schools today. Students, like the duck in the story are asked to do a bit of everything with no deep knowledge of anything.

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