August 20th, 2008 12:01 EST
Bruce Lee on Education
Wahhhh, Whoooo, Whacha. And then there`s that look in his eye. Unnerving each of his senses he waits. In a sort of constant motion his mind, unconnected to the world around him, begins to slow everything down; feeling, tasting, becoming his opponent. Woosh, the punch is thrown, hitting only the hair on our heroine`s neck. We realize this is the end. Hi yaa, it echoes across the theater filled with silent spectators glued to the screen like moths to a flame.
I`ll never forget the first time I saw Enter the Dragon. Like scores of kids growing up all across the World, Bruce Lee is to martial arts what bread is to sustenance. But unknown to many the little dragon, as he was affectionately called, was also a philosopher. Amidst the flying punches, roundhouse kicks, and superfluous subtitles he often questioned the validity of the well established oligarchy of Kung Fu.
Bruce Lee once said, knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do. It is in this seemingly insignificant declaration that the most profound of realizations is found. We cannot let the tide of incompetency corrode the pier of future knowledge. We must do! Not only as students, but as Americans we need to seriously explore and evaluate the state of education in our country today. With barely 18% of twelfth grade students performing at or above the proficient level in math and science, and half of all college freshmen taking remedial courses, something clearly needs to be done.
But what can we do? To combat these unbelievably complex issues, first, national standards need to be imposed insuring that a bar is set equilaterally. Ideally they would provide a base of knowledge for students across socio-economic lines. It could also help alleviate the difficulty most college students face as they transition from high school. It`s impossible for students to compete if they`re not in the same race.
And how about a more career oriented approach? For most students the last year of high school is purely spent waiting for acceptance letters or worse, crushing denials from their dream schools. An optimistic alternative would be an intensive internship to acclimate students to the realities of their prospective careers.
Teachers would have a hard time losing students if engaging material was taught and applied. Education needs to be reinforced and enhanced by active participation in a thorough process which will stimulate interest. Students should be immersed in the field or given the opportunity to experience real life situations. Only after application can knowledge be built and retained.
Just as you can`t learn a language by learning all the words, schools across the country cannot continue to repetitively address educational concerns with complex and untested theories and hypotheses; for example, No Child Left Behind, but we`ll leave that subject for another article.
With all this in mind our greatest goal should be to apply and to do; to take the book learning or classical mess, as Bruce would say, and strip it away until realistic solutions are found and put into practice.