Thursday, August 12, 2010

Importance of Education

Last night I finally watched the movie "Monster" about Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. I have not seen the documentary regarding this person. Apparently, she was sexually abused while living at home.

I happen to believe behavior is a result of the mixture of nurture and nature. My belief is based upon my research into astrology, especially Aquarian Age Astrology, in which we may be locked into specific boxes called genetics, but our experiences help us in determining how to deal with the situation.

This woman's life goes to show me a few facts about which I already am adament - 1) the system needs to respond in a more effective way to children who are sexually abused, 2) education in the primary and then all elementary grades needs to be strongly based upon skills that can help one manage his/her life and NOT based upon theoretical ideas put forth by educators with PhDs and EDs whose intent is solely upon developing the "upper intellect." I know many people with highly developed "upper intellects" who can barely manage their lives from day to day. Fortunately, many of my friends in this situation are married to or have significant others who are partners or even families who take care of practical matters. Also, 3) when people whose job it is to protect individuals instead use and abuse them, they need to be prosecuted themselves. In most law enforcement agencies, people typically know who are the good guys and who are the bad, yet, just as in the medical profession, legal profession, and many other professions, people protect their co-workers and peers instead of having the courage to "out" them for behavior outside the rules or accepted boundaries. I did NOT say unethical because that is a subjective matter.

Do not think I am EXCUSING her behavior. I am not. She had no right to murder others. What I am saying is there should have been interventions into her life many years before this killing spree began - interventions that could have helped her move down a different life path and better handle her circumstances. I don't remember hearing in the film, but I wonder if she quit school before graduating or how her grades were. Even bright people have a hard time making good grades when they are being abused at home.

The key to a well-managed and civil life is what we go through as young children, older children, then teens. We build neuron pathways when we are young and those become habits, which later become behavior patterns that are difficult to break.

Watching the movie hurt - it was very sad to see what happened to everyone involved in this woman's life. This woman seemed to have become a monster because of what was done to her, but many steps led to that moment.

How do we find the individuals who will be the next "monsters" and do something about that now? When I taught and was an Academic Coordinator, it was easy to see which children were problematic even in Kindergarten. I wanted us to intervene into the lives of those young children in order for them to have what I considered a better future. Others wanted to give the kids gifts (which I knew would immediately be pawned by the people with whom children lived). Some of us called CPS regarding children. Some of us pushed for better testing - my big push related to dyslexia. However, as nice as many of the teachers were, many were simply overwhelmed by the educational system and did not have the energy to do anything about any problem.

Education is EXTREMELY important in our lives - we must do better with the system and that means less waste of resources, more practical curricula, getting rid of ineffective teachers and administrators and district managements, etc.

We are an intelligent nation and we could do better than we now do. For that to happen, everyone would have to actually spend time getting involved in what is going on in our country. At least with the current financial downturn, more residents appear to be anxious to get involved.

For the most part, the brains of serial killers work the same way as the brains of the rest of us (in terms of neuron development and function). More training on brain chemistry and function should be taught to educators so educators can better help students learn to monitor and alter, when necessary, their own behaviors.

When I taught, I showed my students a PowerPoint I created to show them how their brains developed and how neuron pathways became stronger as behaviors were repeated. The lessons were 1) you have choices, 2) don't even start bad behaviors, and 3) if you do activate a negative behavior, don't ever repeat it!

I absolutely believe astrology charts and consultation help us to identify stresses and find ways out. We all experience negative situations - it is how we handle them that makes the difference.

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