Unpleasant learning at school

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This text is part of: "I would never send my kids to school" by Piotr Wozniak (2017)

Most children don't like school. Many children hate school. Why do we then keep the schools open?

Why schools seem to work?

For learning to be effective, it must be pleasant. You may then wonder how we can release millions of reasonably educated graduates from schools that are notoriously unpleasant. There are many factors contributing to that paradox:

  • some kids enjoy school
  • some gifted kids ignore school and learn on their own
  • mass of bad learning can smuggle a bit of good learning

The sad truth needs to be stated loud: school education is predominantly inferior and school experience is predominantly unpleasant. Schools utilize a tiny fraction of the human brain's potential to learn. See: Why schools fail.

To make things worse, teachers often encourage learning without full comprehension.

In this short section, I will try to illustrate the problem with an example that will hopefully help young people gauge their own approach to learning.


Here is a short unhappy story of a family. Read it with comprehension and try to remember the details.

Important: Set the timer to 3 minutes. If you go beyond 3 minutes, the test may not be valid:

Carlo had 11 children. His fourth child was a boy born on a hot August day. The boy was nicknamed "Little". When Little was 10, he was sent to a good school. At school, Little was ridiculed for his height, low social standing, and his accent. Despite all the ridicule, he was a good student and received a good education. He mastered French. With his brother Joseph, Little attended college. Despite his high intelligence, Little graduated 42 in a class of 52. His dream was to join the army. He would read a lot about history and geography. He married at the age of 26, but he and his wife Rose could not have children despite a decade of trying. In desperation, Little divorced his wife. At the age of 41, he married again. His new wife Marie was only 19 years old. In a letter to her father, Marie wrote "He loves me very much. I respond to his love sincerely. There is something very fetching and very eager about him that is impossible to resist". Marie delivered a son Franz within a year. At 2.5 months, Franz was baptised. The ceremony was held in an beautiful cathedral and was impressive. From a very young age, Franz received a great deal of schooling at home in religion and philosophy. At the age of 8 he decided to become a soldier when he grows up. He would learn German, Italian and mathematics. Franz was intelligent and focused. Unlike his father, he was very tall. The story does not have a happy ending though, Franz died young just 11 years after Little's own death of cancer. At the age of 21, Franz died of tuberculosis.

Learning for a test

Did you enjoy the text? Did you read the text in the limit of 3 minutes? If so, drop this article and come back in a month. Do not continue reading! Please come back in no less than 30 days. We will test your memory next. In the meantime, you can read Futility of schooling.

In a month, see: Memory test