Most school systems give us fish instead of teaching us how to fish.



“The reality is that most of us grow up strapped in an educational system that favors obedience over independent thinking. We’re rewarded for trusting authority, and punished for challenging it. We focus on memorizing the stuff other people came up with—formulas in math, grammar rules in English, theories in physics, cell functions in biology—rather than grasping the logic behind our most important breakthroughs and tracing the footsteps of their discovery. We answer test questions with what we think our teacher wants to hear. We chase grades instead of knowledge. And worst of all, we leave the classroom woefully unequipped with the thinking skills that matter most: how to balance open-mindedness with skepticism, how to identify bias, and how to challenge assumptions—including our own—in a way that’s truly objective.

To hijack a famous analogy, most school systems give us fish instead of teaching us how to fish. That might be fine for a meal or two. But it ultimately grooms us for a lifelong dependency on others to feed us what we’re too ham-fisted to catch ourselves. And when it comes to our health, that means we end up hopping from authority to purported authority—sometimes unscrupulously—in search of our next premade meal of advice.”

There have been multiple occasions when i end up thinking on these lines.

Some such occasions / scenarios being –

  • When teachers used to ask students to memorise formulae’s in mathematics or physics class?
  • When a workshop participant asked me – “What is the best format for a JD”? or “What is the best approach to “Performance Management” ? or some thing similar.

imageIt seems that every one is looking for a shortcut. It’s not bad to look for shortcuts, its good. It’s good to learn formulae’s in Mathematics, however its more valuable and meaningful if you know how to get to them in the first place.

That may easily help you solve other problems.

I found my thoughts worded appropriately in an interesting book & it’s not a career guide. It’s – “Death by Food Pyramid” – Denise Minger.

Praveen Mishra

Praveen is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Khedge Business Consulting Pvt Ltd. He works with organisations in areas of business strategy and human-resource management. Over the last 15 years he has helped various organisations with their HR processes, structure, alignment and effectiveness; and talent strategy and processes. You can connect with him at 

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