REAL WORLD 101 by Alcott Germany II


: Student Guide
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Germany explains why kids should stay motivated in their schooling.

It’s a subject that most kids, once past kindergarten, will shudder to think about–school. Thus Germany wisely keeps his comments short and snappy, describing easy-to-visualize scenarios with a touch of earnestness since, as he writes, education is a business to take seriously. Kids sometimes find it difficult to understand the value of repetitious and boring schooling, so the author gradually builds to his point. First, he draws real-world applications for each subject, demonstrating that math teaches basic logic by using the example of a restaurant bill. Germany writes that social science provides historical lessons which can be expanded upon in everyday situations, while science allows us to ask important questions, as when at the doctor. Art, the author explains, cultivates our imaginations and pleases our eyes. Germany then shifts up a gear, suggesting that readers need at least a basic appreciation of all these subjects to build a foundation of knowledge, from which they can add to society. Students’ attention may begin to drift at this point, but the author reels them back by noting that “leaders”–those who listen to the needs of the citizenry and then use their intellect to think creatively–have the most exciting jobs. He’s too hard on the “executors,” those who manage the tasks assigned by the leaders: “Since executors are so focused on the task, they cannot make positive changes because they do not understand what people need.” Not only is this untrue, it’s certainly more interesting to be both a leader and an executor, for variety’s sake. Still, Germany ultimately seals the deal with the crux of his argument–neglecting to cultivate one’s wits “places the control of your decisions in someone else’s hands.”

A paean to learning filled with warnings against willful ignorance.

Pub Date: July 10th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4196-9808-8
Program: Kirkus Indie
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