In a world that has seen countless changes over the years, it’s crazy how one thing seems to have remained unaffected—the education system. The typical classroom setting first came about in the late 1800’s, a time that called for obedient workers to fill the workstations of factories owned by big corporations. Learning how to answer questions a certain way was the ultimate goal since this system sought to mold students in a way that would fit the needs of the time.
Over the years, scientists have learned a lot about how the brain works. The problem is that the current education system doesn’t appear to support the facts already uncovered by researchers. For instance, it has been proven that pictures help the brain learn better than reading words or hearing a person talk. Standardized performance tests also fail to recognize the different types of being intelligent, causing a divide within the student population.
What Standardized Tests Tell About Student Performance
Clearly, our present needs are different from those of the past. The academic system, however, has yet to keep up with the times. Students still need to take standardized tests, and they end up being held back another year when they fail. This is precisely how society has started to categorize “good” and “bad” students, ignorant of the fact that high grades do not necessarily translate to excellent real-world performance.
It may not be apparent at first, but standardized tests are not meant for educational purposes. Their driving forces are administrative, political, and financial in nature. This becomes evident when you realize that test companies have essentially turned education into a product, one that has become a necessity for all students, schools, and administrators. They rake in billions of dollars each year, yet those who pass the tests with flying colors may live the rest of their lives earning a meager salary.
People like to draw conclusions based on standardized tests, but they do not really tell much about the student. If anything, these tests only tell about how well students can answer questions about a particular subject based on a specific learning style. Beyond that, no conclusions can be drawn. These one-dimensional tests do not reflect the emotional intelligence of students, their leadership skills, nor their ability to think outside the box.
The Edge of C Students in the Real World
It’s amazing to think that the people we would consider “the powers that be” aren’t all-A-students. In fact, many of the most successful people performed poorly at school. Included in this list are Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Walt Disney, and Richard Branson. The list goes on and on. Heck, even Einstein was thought to have learning disabilities. These people only highlight the fact that low grades do not mean the end of the world, but perhaps the opposite.
The primary edge C students have over A students is that they know how not to confine themselves within the system. Instead, they go out of their way to break the barriers and explore the world at their own pace and preferred learning style.
Funnily enough, C students do not consider themselves stupid for failing tests. They work with the understanding that the classic classroom setting, and the way teachers operate inside the classroom just do not fit their style of learning.
Instead of spending hours upon hours every day listening to the teacher, they try to figure things out in a different light. Memorizing facts and knowing what math formula to use can help anyone pass a test, but the results of the test may not be worth the time and effort.
How Self-Directed Learning Leads to Success
You have probably heard the success stories of well-renowned figures. While the little details are inevitably different, there’s one common denominator you couldn’t miss. These people value self-directed learning.
It’s unfortunate that the society views C students as those who do not love learning. This isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, many students who fail to get high grades still enjoy learning. It’s just that they try to equip themselves with knowledge and experience through unconventional means. Instead of forcing themselves to study hard for an exam, they spend more time learning about their passions.
While A students aim for a perfect score, C students feel satisfied even after making a lot of mistakes. Perfectionism is far from their goal. They understand that what matters is jumping in and seeing what happens. From there, it’s a matter of making adjustments in order to perform better next time.
This explains why many successful entrepreneurs didn’t perform great in school. As the adage goes, the experience is the best teacher. Even an experience that society would consider terrible such as getting kicked out of school can be the trigger to learning new things.
The Hustle of C Students
Many people are quick to raise an eyebrow upon hearing the argument that C students perform well in the real world because they know how to hustle. They argue that this is a lame excuse meant to cover up their lack of intelligence. But wherever you look, you see people hustling and crushing it.
Aside from being hustlers, C students can be described as lazy as well. That may not make a whole lot of sense, but only because the word lazy has a negative connotation. Being lazy can actually be a good thing. C students try to figure out the minimum amount of effort they need to accomplish a certain task efficiently. Going beyond that point is only a waste of time and energy.
Bill Gates has famously said that he wants to hire lazy people because they look for the easiest way to get a difficult job done. Obviously, this trick has worked out pretty nicely for him.
Starting the Shift
You can’t do much about changing the current education system, but you can certainly do something about expanding your learning horizon. By now, you should know about the different types of intelligence. It’s a good start to determine the style through which you maximize learning. If that’s through reading textbooks, then there’s no harm in remaining in the status-quo. But if it means spending more time trying to learn by yourself, do not be afraid to make the shift.
We live in the digital age, a time when information is more accessible than ever. You’re always a couple of clicks or a few taps away from getting the information you need. This entails the careful and mindful use of the things technology has afforded us. Remember that while a GPA fails to measure your real learning capabilities, digital resources may also fail to provide the right information necessary to improve learning.
It’s about time that we stop categorizing students as good or bad. If someone performs poorly in school, it means just that. The person may not be interested enough to exert time and effort into getting a perfect score. In fact, the person may choose to ignore school completely. But this doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t have any skill or ambition. It’s all about how you identify and use your skills to achieve your ambition.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t bother talking about how C students can outperform students. We wouldn’t even have this distinction in the first place. Everyone will be seen just as students trying to explore their passion and dedicating their energy toward achieving their dreams.
Keep in mind that even if you always seem to struggle with exams or complete your homework on time, this doesn’t mean you would be also struggling as soon as you step out of academia. Your future success does not depend on an arbitrary score based on an outdated school system.