Words, Weights, Whatever

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

***Joel A-Z (E)***

E is for education. (Not the same as learning.)

I've debated about returning to school. Originally (and many, many years ago), I originally planned to, after high school, attend summer school, four years of college, then pursue my masters degree in business (MBA). Plan was dashed when I learned most masters progs prefer you to get some working experience before enrolling. Plan was throw off kilter when I decided not to pursue business as a career. Course I made this decision after graduating from Cal Poly.

I took course at a local junior college (jc) for a couple of years and found them useful. I even entertained the notion to get a masters in writing (MFA or a masters in fine arts). But R. pointed out--and I later confirmed--possessing such a degree provides no monetary benefit. Many writers who have gone through the prog actually have found them detrimental: like many modern industries, MFA progs seemed determined to mold their students to write in one particularly way. That's like telling everyone how to describe their favorite sunset to a blind person using only words found under the letter "G" in a dictionary.

From the 1800s. In Queen's English.

I'm not knocking formal education. There reaches a point, though, where experience matters more. I sometimes feel sad when I listen to college-age kids these days discuss their after college plans but keep my mouth firmly shut. Certain things can't be taught in the classroom.


  • Most degrees are just "pieces of paper" but if you could find a writing program that matched your goals and style that would be nice. Many programs do sell the "party line" though - especially in fine arts.

    By Blogger Leon, at 5:48 PM  

  • "Certain things can't be taught in the classroom."

    You know, I was thinking about that very thing today. Apart from writing courses--I looked at them too, but didn't like the over-structured way they generally do things--many subjects are taught by "experts" who have no practical experience.

    As for the degrees in David-Beckham-ology that some unis in this country were offering a few years back ... well, we won't go there. :)

    I've often thought that the perfect qualification is one which offers a balanced amount of theory and practice, for example the Computing Science course with a year in North America working for an IT company. In my case, the best example would be the Mountain Leadership training programme. It's specifically constructed to convert people like me into confident, experienced mountaineers ... and 80% of all teaching is conducted on the hill!

    This philosophy can't be applied to all subjects, but a good starting-point would be for teachers to actually have experience in what they're teaching. How many Creative Writing courses are actually run by a successful, published author? From what I've seen, not many!

    By Blogger Alex, at 1:33 PM  

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