The more I read and think about the mainstream education, the more I am convinced that it does little good to our creativity, independence and critical thinking. The system based on exams and standardised tests doesn’t teach us asking questions and seeking the answers actively and creatively. What are we taught instead? To provide ready answers to precictable questions asked by the teacher or the examiner. And to try to be good at everything, no matter what our individual talents are. The old fable I am quoting below tells this story best and has lots of morals. In fact, each one of us can find a different, very personal moral in the story:

The Animal School

a fable by George Reavis

Once upon a time the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world” so they organized a school. They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practise running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a “charley-horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well and also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.

What moral does this story bring to you?


Im(prove your En)glish Fairy advises:
click on the green words and phrases
and she will take you to the right dictionary
entry, explaining what they mean.