Re : Arnold Lieberman
"People have been brought up to think that everything should be easy/unchallenging or it isn't worth doing."
I agree with your overall statement but not the last bit "…or it isn't worth doing."
For many years our educators (can't call them teachers because teachers would know better) have decided that children shouldn't fail. AT ANYTHING. The easiest way to do this was by not placing the kids into a competitive situation, by reducing the attainment levels so that anyone could meet them, by feeding the kids the precise knowledge required to pass a test. All of this isn't education, its just training.
While the educators have, overall, been successful in their quest at removing failure, they have also removed successes.
They have taken away the feeling of accomplishment when a difficult task or skill is learnt, they have removed a strong impetuous to improvement, they have destroyed some kids soaring achievements just because not everyone could reach the same heights. They have removed the kids pride in attainment. In their rush to prevent anyone “losing” they have prevented everyone from winning.
So now the products of our education system will be wondering why they can't walk straight from school into a well paid, exciting job, why, if they do get a job which doesn't involve smiling a lot and plastic stars on their name badge, their colleagues treat them with (almost) contempt for the first couple of years. After all they haven't ever failed before so why can't they succeed now? How are the kids going to cope in the real world which doesn’t really care about their poor bruised feelings.
Recently I have spent time talking to one of my (an honourary) grandchild. She is due to leave school soon and is expected to gain 4 or 5 reasonable GCSEs. Unfortunately she is as thick as two short planks strung end to end. An essay produced by her for her English GCSE course work was about three quarters of an A4 page in length, with poor handwriting, atrocious spelling and almost nonexistent punctuation. She expected good marks for that piece of cra^W course work. Her chances of gaining the desired gainful employment is only a little less than that of finding an honest politician. And she will have a certificate saying that she obtained a good standard in four or five subjects. Subjects that she cannot discuss to any reasonable degree. She doesn’t have the very basic skills that are needed for her to properly start her adult life. She has “succeeded” in her schooling. In business she would have been considered a failure and removed years ago.
My primary / secondary schooling ended in ’67. Though I did not sit any exams or gain any qualifications then. I could recite the times tables without thought. Read and comprehend what I was reading. Write structured sentences to communicate my ideas. And, most importantly of all, I knew how to learn. I have since gained an MSc and have since been working in technically difficult, and monetarily rewarding, areas. I have used quadratics at work, and Fourier transforms. Though the only split infinitive I know is the one from Star Trek.
Mines the one with TWO Daily Mail’s in the pocket.