Monday, March 08, 2010

Team building exercises are an odd idea. I'd imagine their usefulness as having any lasting value being as limited as a People magazine editor's attention span. Take our high school exercises for example: get everybody across this imaginary alligator pit using not-enough planks and a skipping rope. The future applications this has can be projected to what exactly? Escaping from a Nintendo game? Smuggling somebody's relatives across the Rio Grande? If there's ever a point at which I can hold my hand up to the group I'm mysteriously traveling with and say 'don't worry guys, I got this, luckily we covered this one in gym class' I'll reappraise my relationship with my junk-mail folder. Honestly, if our teachers were truly serious, shouldn't they've gone a few steps further in the imaginary activity: 'A few of you have been spraying your precious bodily fluids down your thighs for the last 8 days due to dysentery. One of you is at the end of their second trimester with the Somalian pirate-king's baby. Those two are still chained together and you over there are still blinded from the gasoline siphoning mishap in the exercise we just completed. Now get across that alligator pit.'

Hey! How about some skills we could perhaps transpose onto the real-world? Oh, I don't know, something like 'how to do your taxes' or 'this is your charter of freedom and rights' or 'massage circles' or 'fixing small combustion engines' ...anything even remotely relatable. So what was the point then? For a teacher's lounge betting pool? 'Good job. Because you were death-rolled by the alligator, Mr. Jenkins now has to dress like Monica Lewinsky for a day [this was in the late 90s]. Therefore you have a Type A personality.' Or something more insidious, like getting us used to the absolute pointlessness and subjugation we'll have to endure through much of life? Breaking our spirits with an uncompletable exercise so as to prime us for later brainwashing and ideological impressibility (this has been shown literally ad nauseum through psy-op detention exercises).

I've totally forgotten the point I was trying to make. Nothing like the introduction of gOVERnMENTAL brainwashing to prime one for forgetfulness... Um. Oh yeah, the denouement: We all made it across without a single sacrifice (voluntary or non-) and then, as a reward, we were hosed down and prodded back to our gruel-troughs.


disconnected carvings from said...

Or something more insidious, like getting us used to the absolute pointlessness and subjugation we'll have to endure through much of life?

now there's something worth teaching. but that woulda been too honest, too in touch with all those realities that don't fit into the mandate of a 'canadian' education.

we once had this supply teacher for a day in grade 6 who told us that ever kid in the class would one day try some kind of drugs, that some of us would become addicts. we were so unconsciously sold already to the society's BS ideals that we thought the supply was a lunatic, a maniac for even suggesting such an idea.

i woulda liked a class on how to get the girl/guy of your dreams and keep the relationship fruitful. coulda talked about biology, psychology, sociology, history... coulda encouraged original thinking, intimacy. yea. the presentation of ideas in schools is way outta touch.

S'Mat said...

now there's a class i'd lose sleep doing homework for. it would likely be a shame for those of us who forget their dreams as if they're made of ungraspable balloon ribbons. but then, is it better to forget or be forgotten?

i'd've liked a class about applying creativity for tangible ends, and i might've liked your 6th grade supply teacher to've taught it