10 Things You Shouldn’t Be Taught In School

10 Things You Shouldn't Be Taught In School 10) Einstein was a bad student If there’s one line bottom set math teachers love to crack out, it’s that Einstein sucked at math too The idea that the German physicist and man-who’s-just-come-out-of-a-wind-tunnel was a terrible student is an often repeated one

It even found its way into an edition of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not And in this case, you’d be better off not believing it In reality Einstein was, obviously, an excellent math student In fact, as an adult he was once asked if the rumor was true and laughed openly That’s probably because, by the age of 12, the genius was coming up with his own ways to prove Pythagoras’ theorem

And by 15 he’d mastered integral and differential calculus The myth likely comes from his old school changing their grading method While little Albert was still a student there, the Aargau high school graded all tests on a scale of 6, the lowest mark, to 1, the highest mark But in Albert’s final year, they swapped the scale around, making 1 the lowest mark and 6 the highest That means that, to a casual observer, it looked as if Einstein suddenly started flunking everything

9) Homework is useful It’s not exactly news that homework can be dull and tiring But we have more bad news: it’s also largely pointless Research has repeatedly shown that giving homework to children under 12 achieves nothing And when we say repeatedly shown, we mean repeatedly In 1989 Duke University compiled a meta-analysis of 120 studies into the effectiveness of homework

They did the same thing to 60 papers in 2006, and across those 180 papers, they could find NO link between homework and improved grades However, what they did find was that homework significantly worsened children’s attitude towards education In order words, all that extra work was achieving nothing except making them hate school With older students, the research is less clear-cut Once you’re in high school there’s more focus placed on independent learning, which can be improved by the right kind of homework assignment

But even with high-schoolers, Duke University recommended they never be given any more than two hours homework a night 8) Columbus discovered America The legacy of Christopher Columbus has come under fire in recent years Yet in schools across the country, Columbus is still taught to children as the man who discovered America in 1492, and the guy who worked out the world isn’t flat In fact, he did neither of those things First of all, claiming Columbus discovered America ignores the fact that people had already been living there since forever

Scientists believe that modern Native Americans are descended from the Clovis tribe, a people who moved to North America in around 10,000 BC Secondly, explorers were accidentally stumbling across America long before Columbus was in diapers The viking Leif Erikson is widely credited as being the first man to actually discover America, having voyaged there in 1000 AD Not only that, but some historians argue that the Chinese admiral Zheng He also beat Chrissy C to America, landing there a few months before Columbus Oh, and it was already widely known that the world was round before Columbus

Hell, Aristotle and Pythagoras knew it as far back as 350 BC 7) Strict Grammar Rules Depending on how old fashioned your school is, you’ve probably spent at least a few hours having tedious grammar rules crammed into your brain Which is a shame because, as much as your teacher may enjoy droning on about split infinitives, there’s no proof that’s the way to create better writers Over 100 years of research by The International Reading Association has concluded that the way we teach grammar rules is completely wrong Of course, understanding grammar is important

But the research shows that rote learning rules that aren’t even true half the time is less efficient than good ol’ trial and error Besides which, not all grammar rules matter in the real world A professional scriptwriter wrote the words you’re hearing right now And yet, this video alone has broken countless grammar rules [Animation: Maybe show this sentence on a blackboard and underline the “And” at the start] The most important thing for English classes to teach is to learn how to use language as creatively and effectively as possible

Then again, maybe that’s more effort than just yelling at someone for misplacing a comma 6) Lincoln was Anti-Slavery It’s fair to say that Abraham Lincoln was a man with a few achievements under his belt He rose to the office of President, won the Civil War, and once even tried to entertain a crowd by headbutting a bullet at Ford’s Theatre But even in a life as intense as Lincoln’s, one achievement stands out from the rest And no, we’re not talking about those spectacular mutton chops

The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was an executive order declaring that “all persons held as slaves” were to be set free immediately This liberation of over 3 million enslaved people remains Lincoln’s crowning achievement Which is why it’s weird he was so ambivalent about it You see, despite being lionized as one of slavery’s greatest opponents, Lincoln wasn’t that concerned about it His concern was keeping the Union strong at a time of war

In a private written to New York Tribune founder Horace Greeley, Lincoln confessed: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it” In fact the Emancipation proclamation was largely taken to press the Union’s military advantage over the South 5) Primary Colors Let’s be honest, most people didn’t learn a whole lot in art class Sure, for some people it was great, but for most of us it was mainly an excuse to spend an hour messing about, chatting, and wondering why the teacher always smelled of pot But maybe it’s a good thing you spent art class dossing off

That’s because it turns out that one of the principal rules they taught you was a lie The primary colors, red, blue and yellow, are three colors that follow two simple rules: 1: They can’t be made by mixing other colors together And… 2: They can be combined with other primary colors to produce any other color imaginable Well, it turns out that your art teacher isn’t just a kindly stoner dropout He’s also a liar, because two of those colors fail at both of those rules

Red can be made by mixing yellow and magenta together And blue can be created out of cyan and magenta Moreover, using red, blue and yellow as your primary colors leaves you unable to create a huge number of hues The actual primary colors are yellow, cyan, and magenta That's why printers use them for ink

4) Not A Math Person We’ve already talked about how Einstein was no math moron But the chances are, you aren’t either Bending your mind around algebra or trigonometry can feel like trying to understand an alien language written by a species that hates you specifically And there’s always the temptation to give up and say: “I’m just not a Math person” But the good news is that, even if you’re not math-orientated, you can almost certainly do high school math

It’s kind of like how we can’t all paint like Michelangelo or Picasso, but most of us could probably bash out a stick figure Studies by Purdue University and the journal Child Development have shown that perseverance is the number one factor determining high school math results Sure, some people are more genetically predisposed to numbers than others But if you force yourself to keep trying, you will get there in the end And the good news is that with increasingly powerful technology doing the heavy work for us, only one in four Americans actually use anything above high school math in their job

3) Abstinence Sex ed classes are one of the most uncomfortable experiences of anyone’s school career After all, kids tend not to enjoy listening to a middle-aged man tell them about something they’ve already watched 100 times on the internet Still, at least you weren’t stuck in the 23% of US public schools that teach abstinence-only courses If you don’t know, abstinence-only sex education is when a school skips all the stuff about condoms and pills, and exclusively tells students not to have outside of marriage The methods used to convince teens to keep it in their pants can be incredibly insulting

One common tactic is to get an entire class to spit in the same cup The pupils are then told that dating someone who’s had sex before marriage is like drinking from that cup It’s probably worth pointing out here that abstinence-only sex ed is extremely ineffective A report by the reproductive health group the Guttmacher Institute found that, unsurprisingly, convincing teens not to do the one thing they REEEEALLY want to do is way harder than simply convincing them to do it with a condom on But that hasn’t stopped the government sinking $1

75 billion into the programs since 1988 2) The Thanksgiving Myth We all know the story of Thanksgiving In 1621, a group of Pilgrims celebrated their first bountiful harvest at Plymouth They celebrated by having a three-day feast, hanging out with the native Americans, and generally having as much fun as puritans were allowed to have This happy tale has been hammered into the brains of elementary school kids for generations

But historians now think there is very, very little truth to it First of all, your Thanksgiving feast looks nothing like the pilgrims’ While you chow down on turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, they most likely ate deer, lobster, and even seal Then there’s the date; the last Thursday of November Historians actually don’t know when the first feast took place, but it may have been as early as September

The whole last Thursday of November thing was arbitrarily selected by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 The date was even briefly changed by FDR to the third Thursday in order to lengthen the holiday period and allow companies to sell more stuff Darkest of all, some experts believe that the feast may not have been to celebrate a successful harvest, but rather the successful massacring of 700 local Pequot tribespeople Still, National Genocide Day doesn’t have quite the same ring to it 1) Stop daydreaming It’s kind of understandable that teachers don’t like seeing their students daydream

After all, they’ve dedicated their life to the low salary, high stress existence of trying to get children to understand things And this is how you repay them? By staring gormlessly out of the window or aimlessly doodling cocks on your mate’s textbook Well actually: yes It turns out that daydreaming is incredibly useful as a problem-solving tool A study by Dartmouth University found that daydreaming activates parts of your brain that active problem solving doesn’t

If you’ve ever been spent hours labouring over a question, only to have the answer suddenly come to you the second you take a break, you know this is true What’s more, in 2012 scientists at the University of California discovered the benefits of distracting the brain with a simple task, like doodling Taking a two-minute drawing break in the middle of a problem was found to increase the brain’s performance as much as 40% when focus was returned So next time your teacher tells you off for not paying attention, show her this video You’ll probably still get detention, but at least deep down she’ll know you were right

So, those were 10 Things You Shouldn't Be Taught In School Were you taught any of these scholastic myths? Did we leave any educational lies off the list? Let us know in the comments below And if you want bust more myths join us for 10 Lies You Still Believe About Dinosaurs, playing now

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