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UK Education: a thought or two

A very interesting point came up over dinner the other night with friends here in London. We were talking about the difference between education systems here and back in the States—or rather the experience in undergrad study abroad, and grad school that my friends had had. This is another one of my complex hyotheses, so stay with me here: They explained that students must essentially decide their professional at age 14 or 16 depending on how well they do in tests. After that point, and as a result youth are then funneled towards one of many academic paths i.e. sciences, math, literature, arts etc. That means that after basic geometry, an artsy kid will no longer take math after about 8th grade. And vice versa to the point where students have wildly varying academic backgrounds.

 

Now skip to the experience that Matt’s friend had while studying abroad at UCSB. He had made it into a frat for the year, and was enjoying himself. This frat was a sportier one. At one time he found himself hanging out and making friends with members of the artsy grungy crowd. Before long he was corrected and told not to hang out with that sort of demographic because he’s a member of so-and-so frat. The lines for Americans are drawn at the aesthetic level—what they decide to wear and how they act, and that’s how they end up differentiating themselves.

 

Here’s the point I’m getting at: The reason this friend had no problem flitting between groups is because to a Brit people are defined by their personality and interests. Brit to Brit, much the same thing applies. Two Brits could have gone through the exact same educational system, but have been separated at intellectual birth hence endless opportunities to learn from each other and share their unique expertise. I think it’s for this reason that I’ve found conversation here absolutely fascinating.

Comments:

Katie Barglowski, University of Northern Colorado

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Katie Barglowski, University of Northern Colorado ~ St. Patrick's College, Dublin, Fall 2015

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