The Cut and Paste Generation

Cutting and pasting essays from the internet is a wholly rational response to an education system that is now an indoctrination system.
The word ‘education’ has its origins in the root word ‘educare’, meaning to ‘draw out and extend’. Modern education no longer does this. It imposes a curriculum on students that has its basis in making us look economically superior to the Germans. The purposes for modern mainstream education are built around economic objectives and are not about the development of human beings as individuals, their potential, values and identity in a changing world. Real education starts where you are, it is grounded in real, personal and lived experience. Real education gives you the tools to reflect on your own experience and make your own sense of it. It helps you to adapt to a new reality in the face of changing circumstances.

In contrast to this, much of our modern education is remote and distant from the real experience of students. It consists of predetermined material, often with extreme bias, which is tested by processes of examination, one of which is writing essay. Successful schools and colleges are now little more than ‘exam factories’, their main focus geared towards turning out the maximum amount of qualifications to secure future funding from the government.

A focus on industrial outputs has destroyed education in this country. In reality about 60% of the information we will need as individuals this time next year, does not yet exist. Yet we are still imposing on, rather than listening to our students. Where are the skills of learning how to learn in the curriculum, the skills of creativity, adaptability and versatility? Where are the skills of self-maintenance, of invention, innovation and self-motivation? These are essential skills for an economy that is now essentially bankrupt. These are the skills our children will need for the 21 st Century. We are imposing useless indoctrination on our students that has little to do with their lives and even less to do with the future we have made for them. Since it is the needs of our economy that is driving planetary degradation, nearly everything we are imposing on our children through a government led curriculum, is a preparation for a future that no longer exists. It is no wonder truancy rates in the UK are the highest ever.

Many of the students recognize this. They see schools and colleges as hurdles they have to jump on the way to a life. They know, at a diversity of levels, from ‘an uneasy feeling’ to real political insight, that most of what they are ‘taught’ is useless in the context of an economic system that is doomed to failure for committing the idiocy of using its capital assets as income. The students on the whole know that teachers and lecturers are so busy and stressed with the system that they don’t have a hope in hell of catching them cutting and pasting their studies. They want to get on with living their own lives, where in fact they learn far more than they do in the sterile centers of indoctrination and imposed conformity that our schools and colleges have become.

Current theory suggests that regurgitating material from one place on the internet is regarded as plagiarism but copying from ten is ‘research’. This is nitpicking when the whole concept of how we learn and the whole technology of learning has so radically shifted. Cut and paste is a rational response to a system that keeps on regurgitating the same old nonsense in a reality that has utterly changed.

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