Lectures at Home, Homework at School

More wisdom from Sal Kahn (of the Kahn Academy):

…it makes more sense to have students watch lectures at home and do homework at school as opposed to vice versa.

So true! And revealing of larger structural problems of school.


Robin Hanson's theory of school is that it isn’t about learning material but rather "learning to accept workplace domination and ranking, and tolerating long hours of doing boring stuff exactly when and how you are told." He links to three other possible functions of school:

  • Legitimization: Repeated contacts with the educational system, which seems impersonal and based on reliable criteria, convinces students (and their parents) that they are ending up in an appropriate place in society based on their skills and abilities. Thus, people accept their position in life: they become resigned to it, maybe even considering it appropriate or fair.
  • Acclimatization: The social relationships in the schools encourage certain traits, appropriate to one’s expected economic position, while discouraging others. Thus, certain relationships are considered normal and appropriate. Subordination to authority is a dominant trait enforced for most students.
  • Stratification: Students from different class backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and genders are overwhelmingly exposed to different environments and social relationships and thus are tracked and prepared for different positions in the hierarchy. The different experiences and successes lead each student to see her place as appropriate.

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