Lesson 3: Beware of "Teaching to the Test"

In this lesson, we look at the common practice of "teaching to the test." Regarding this, Ted agrees with Mark Twain's philosophy: "Don't let your schooling interfere with your education."

Mark Twain's words about not letting schooling interfere with one's education are needed today more than ever, as academic institutions have become tools for the elite to control the minds of young people. "Teaching to the test" has produced high test results but has hindered the overall learning process, as it puts pressure on students to jump through a bunch of hoops, while neglecting exploration, creativity and critical thinking. It also wastes the abilities of teachers, as they often don't have enough time to teach from their own personal experiences. (Note: "Teaching to the test" may be different from the idea of outcome-based rubrics, which may have its own set of strengths and weaknesses.)

Teaching to the test also unjustly punishes students who are not as good (for whatever reason) at jumping through hoops. This is especially true in Confucian societies, where meritocracy through standardized tests is the primary metric for deciding upon advancement in society. It was a nice idea in Confucious' day, but now it's become something Confucious probably never intended.

There's more to life than getting a job and making money. True wealth is primarily intangible - things like having peace of mind, understanding how things work, having freedom from guilt and curses and evil spirits, having purposeful work to help society and having harmonious personal relationships with our Invisible Soverign Creator, family and friends. All of these things take time to develop.