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The Flaws of High School

August 22, 2015

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 8.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Four)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 22, 2015

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,400

ISSN 2369-6885

Biography

Ryan Eshaghi is a high school senior at University High School in Irvine, California. He is a nationally ranked debater, TEDx presenter, and always strives to find creative solutions to common problems. He is the CEO of his high school’s virtual enterprise team and a certified judge for California’s public debate program. He has won multiple youth business program accolades and has experience in marketing and sales. He is also the co-founder of startup company Flexbooth. Ryan hopes to shape his future around corporate responsibility and social entrepreneurship.

Abstract

The Flaws of High School contains Ryan’s critiques of his current high school experience and what he and other students believe are issues in the high school curriculum. This short article briefly goes over what the high school experience falls short of in doing and should encompass in the future. As adolescents, high school students are growing, changing, and becoming independent individuals, and this article hopes to highlight some of the areas where teens’ education could be advanced.

Keywords: adolescent years, basic life skills, creativity, critical thinking, high school, skills, student, self-learning, teacher, test.

Common Reference Style Listing

*No Access Dates.*

American Medical Association (AMA): Matin E. The Flaws of High School. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal [Online]. August 2015; 8(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Eshaghi, M. (2015, August 22). The Flaws of High SchoolRetrieved from https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): ESHAGHI, M. The Flaws of High School. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 8.A, August. 2015. <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Eshaghi, Matin. 2015. “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 8.A. https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Eshaghi, Matin “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 8.A (August 2015).  https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.

Harvard: Eshaghi, M. 2015, ‘The Flaws of High School’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 8.A. Available from: <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/>.

Harvard, Australian: Eshaghi, M. 2015, ‘The Flaws of High School’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 8.A., https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Matin R. Eshaghi. “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 8.A (2015): August. 2015. Web. <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Eshaghi M. The Flaws of High School [Internet]. (2015, August); 8(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.

The Flaws of High School

When it comes to high school, the typical student goes through a series of changes in which he/she strives to develop a sense of identity as a young adult. Before entering the enchanting and seemingly freedom-filled life of high school, I thought of high school as a new chapter in my life where I could explore life passions, create new friendships, discover new things, and create something of myself, where I would be proud of for the rest of my life. To my surprise, although somewhat true, I felt that my personal development was quite limited. I felt that my creativity was corrupted by the intense focus on grades and standards and the rules and regulations that high school is governed by. Yes there is the chess club, yes there is the magic club, oh and don’t forget there is Model United Nations and Junior State of America. But rarely do these extra-curricular activities offer life skills in an attempt to prepare students for the challenges that life presents them with. Memorizing the quadratic formula and the exact years in which subatomic particles were discovered do not represent the academic knowledge I need to have to be successful in my life. Memorizing facts like these basically tell students that in order to receive a good grade, they have to sit in a quiet room and memorize as much text as possible before completely dumping out most information soon after taking the test on it. I have nothing against “useful” knowledge; a knowledge that helps me to become a critical thinker and a problem solver, but deep down I know that memorizing factoids only give me the skills to pass the test and get a good grade. I like to be able to feel the real world and workplace challenges, make smarter decisions, and contribute to society with the activities that I am passionate about. High school provides a basic yet fundamental understanding of important academic knowledge but falls short of providing in-depth life skills essential for surviving in real-world scenarios. Learning life skills should start in high schools and not in colleges and definitely not in the workplace.

High school does not prepare you adequately to evaluate real life situations, calculate risks, deal with emotions, and wisely spend and invest your money once you start making it. It does not even remotely paint a realistic picture on how and why to choose a major in college and how that major will affect your career choices. High schools fail to offer a comprehensive curriculum that teaches one how to cope with emotions, relationships, fitness, career choices, losses, finances, etc. Math teaches you that you need x dollars to purchase y items, but it does not teach you how to evaluate the quality of the items. It doesn’t teach you that you may be better off buying a share of the sneaker company instead of the sneakers themselves. Math teaches you about numbers but it does not teach you about how to apply your “math knowledge” in life and when making personal financial decisions mixed with your emotions. And when we do work on word problems, there is always some sort of formula, always some sort of predetermined way of spitting out the information you are looking for. High school surely does not provide many tools for financial preparedness and the importance of why a student should start a retirement plan early. Economics teaches you economic reasoning and about the dynamics of financial markets, but since emotion plays a huge role in financial decisions, the class falls short. It doesn’t teach you why it is never too early to start saving and making financial decisions/plans that may affect you for the rest of your life. And classes like these should not only tell you the facts, but also how you, as a unique individual, can deal with your own emotions and behavior while dealing with the never changing information handed to you.

High school teachers are mainly concerned about students reaching standards and making the grade. They usually have a cookie cutter approach to teaching. They teach all the students the same way and either have no time or are not interested to pay attention to how students vary in their learning skills. If a student does poorly in his/her classes, the teacher rarely tries to find out the root of the problem by asking the student “why” they performed poorly. They don’t want to know about the student’s emotional challenges and how his/her family dynamic is. Teachers do not realize that having a deeper relationship with a student who is struggling academically may benefit both parties. Students will be more interested in learning about the topic at hand when they actually like that teacher and when they know that the teacher likes the same sports team as they do. Mutual interests are the fundamental stepping-stones to good relationships. Don’t get me wrong; some teachers are undeniably understanding and caring toward students, but many are not. If teachers learn how to treat students with empathy and respect rather than authoritative oppression, students will undoubtedly like them more and they will put more effort in learning the material. The relationship a student has with his/her teacher indeed contributes to that student’s interest in the subject; it may even leave long lasting impressions. Consequently, a student’s curiosity towards a particular topic should not be held back by a teacher.

Teachers should cultivate the love of learning in their students and should teach students how to teach themselves. Students need to become problem solvers and critical thinkers. And by problem solving I don’t mean graphing a set of solutions to a quadratic equation, or figuring out how Ernest Rutherford discovered alpha and beta rays. I’m talking about the simple stuff, the stuff you need to know to be independent.

Creativity is also a hit and miss when it comes to high school. It succeeds in the sense that critical thinking can be taught and learned in the classroom, derived from an academic topic (math, psychology, English, science, economics, etc.), but fails when it comes to real-world applications. How do you come up with ways to impress your boss if you want a promotion? How do you write an attention-grabbing resume? How can you apply for a business loan? What should you do if your best friend goes through a tough break-up or loss of a loved-one? Self-learning seems like the option here. And although personal experience is great, I think an introduction to the things we will see more commonly throughout our lives is necessary. Perhaps switch out the basic, necessary lessons (bills, mortgage, emotions, car payment, jobs, exercise, etc.) for the completely irrelevant, complex, and almost useless facts that students are tested on, information we will most likely never need to know ever again after high school.

Speaking of testing, testing is useless. No, I take that back, testing is important, but I don’t think the way students are tested makes much sense. Most tests measure memorization skills and not conceptual understanding of subjects. The goal is to make an “A” and not to learn the material because that ‘A’ results in a higher GPA. The goal is to have a high SAT score because a high SAT score means a better chance at admission to UC Berkeley. What if somehow, someway, there was a test that could evaluate a student’s ability to progress? What if we invested time and money in devising tests that could show a student’s learning ability and his/her potential for growth? Instead of a test so focused on pure memorizations, why not present students with case based tests with questions that require the use of information you learned in high school? These are just theoretical ideas. All I am saying is that we need an educational reform in high schools to enhance learning and to teach high school students not only the specifics of math and biology and history but also basic life skills that can help them do well in college and more importantly throughout the course of their life. Students must learn to expand their creativity and to not be confined to formulated methods of thinking. After all, our adolescent years are the ones where we really figure out who we are.

Appendix I: Complete Reference Style Listing

*No Access Dates.*

Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD, 2nd Edition, 2003): Matin Eshaghi, The Flaws of High School, 2015(8) In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
American Anthropological Association (AAA, 2009): Matin R. Eshaghi 2015 The Flaws of High Schoolhttps://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE): Eshaghi, M. (2015). The Flaws of High School. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. Retrieved from https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
American Chemical Society: Eshaghi, M. The Flaws of High School. https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
American Economic Association (AEA): Eshaghi, M. 2015. “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
American Institute of Physics (AIP): Matin Eshaghi, “The Flaws of High School,” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, 22 August 2015, https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/
American Medical Association (AMA): Matin E. The Flaws of High School. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal [Online]. August 2015; 8(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
American Meteorological Society (AMS): Eshaghi, M., 2015: The Flaws of High School. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, 8. [Available online at https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.]
American Physiological Society (APS): Matin E.(2015). The Flaws of High School [Online]. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
American Political Science Association (APSA, 2006): Eshaghi, Matin. 2015. “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal: 8 (A). https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Eshaghi, M. (2015, August 22). The Flaws of High SchoolRetrieved from https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE, 2010): Eshaghi, M. (2015). “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/>.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME): Eshaghi, M., 2015, “The Flaws of High School,” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, from https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/
American Sociological Association (ASA, 4th Edition): Eshaghi, Matin 2015. “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight (8.A). Retrieved (https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/).
Basic Legal Citation (LII Edition, 2007): Matin Eshaghi, The Flaws of High School, 2015(8) In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): ESHAGHI, P. The Flaws of High SchoolIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 8.A, August. 2015. <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/>.
Canadian Anthropology Society (CAS, 2014): Matin Ryan Eshaghi 2015 The Flaws of High School. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Eshaghi, Matin. 2015. “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 8.A. https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Eshaghi, Matin “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 8.A (July 2015). https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
Council of Science Editors (CSE): Eshaghi M. The Flaws of High School. In-Sight [Internet]. 2015; Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
Entomological Society of America: M. Eshaghi 2015. The Flaws of High School. https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/
Harvard: Eshaghi, M. 2015, ‘The Flaws of High School’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 8.A. Available from: <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/>.
Harvard, Australian: Eshaghi, M. 2015, ‘The Flaws of High School’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 8.A., https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): M. Eshaghi, “The Flaws of High School,” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 8.A, August 2015. [Online]. Available: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Matin R. Eshaghi. “The Flaws of High School.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 8.A (2015): August. 2015. Web. <https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/>.
National Library of Medicine (2nd Edition, 2007): Eshaghi M. The Flaws of High School. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal [Internet]. 2015 August 15; 8(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/
The Geological Society of America (GSA): Matin Eshaghi 2015, The Flaws of High School: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.
Vancouver/ICMJE: Eshaghi M. The Flaws of High School [Internet]. (2015, August); 8(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2015/08/22/2387/.

License and Copyright

License
In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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