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Ambition

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GuyBarry
1315180.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:30 pm Reply with quote

(Spin-off from "Sexism Redux" thread, q.v.)

Responses to post 1315023, post 1315031 and post 1315047:

suze wrote:
GuyBarry wrote:
At the risk of stating the obvious, no one has flown to Mars, whether they believed it or not. Nor is anyone likely to in the foreseeable future.


I expect Neil Armstrong's teachers said something similar to him when he graduated high school in 1947.


I doubt whether Neil Armstrong had even considered the prospect of flying to the Moon in 1947, though he was certainly interested in aviation from an early age. He served as a naval aviator and then as an experimental research test pilot before being selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962.

Quote:
But if it is feasible, I don't want any girl who leaves school this summer wanting to do it to go away thinking that it's only for other people, or - worse yet - that it's not for girls.


I'd have hoped that any girl with an interest in becoming an astronaut would be aware that the first British astronaut was Helen Sharman in 1991. (There have admittedly been no female British astronauts since then.) I'd question her commitment to becoming an astronaut if she wasn't aware of that fact.

Quote:
I don't think Guy is deliberately misunderstanding, but he is misunderstanding all the same.


Playing devil's advocate, perhaps...

Of course I agree with you that schools shouldn't be putting pupils off their aspirations because of their social status or gender. But equally I think they should be encouraging them to set goals which are realistic.

Almost no one who wants to fly to Mars will do so. Almost no one who wants to become Prime Minister will do so. This is regardless of social background or gender considerations - it's just a fact. Unless you make your pupils aware that the probability of failure in their stated ambition is very high, I think you're doing them a disservice.

Helen Sharman was selected out of 13,000 applicants after responding to a radio advertisement. Theresa May became PM because David Cameron resigned after screwing up the Brexit referendum and all the other candidates in the subsequent leadership race dropped out. In both cases there was a substantial element of chance.

PDR wrote:
Suze didn't say that all these girls would become astronauts (or any other specific job). She said that they will leave with the attitude that they can do what they want to do and be who they want to be - that their grasp should not be constrained by a feable reach. They will not believe that have to take what oithers dole out to them; they will have choices and they will be prepared to put in the hard work that may be required to achieve their desires.


But that's what I'm saying. You can put in all the hard work you like, but the odds are still overwhelmingly against you. The number of people who have failed in their ambition to become an astronaut or a Prime Minister vastly outweighs the number of people who have succeeded.

Maybe suze just picked some bad examples.

Quote:
Now I know you feel you were let down by "the system" because your view is that you were not properly prepared for a world in which you have to take responsibility for (and thus control of) your own destiny.


This isn't really about my personal situation; I gave up on any sort of ambition long ago. Trying to be ambitious gave me a mental breakdown, and I'm certainly not going back there.

I wish society would accept that ambition simply isn't suitable for everyone. I dislike being required to have an ambition, and if I don't want one, then it's surely my choice not to adopt one.

Quote:
But I would suggest that you are a specific case which is an outlier rather than the mode of the population - the attitude Suze looks to instill is a "good thing[tm]" for pobably over 99% of the population, and probably over 99.99% of the population of her (selective) school.


Oh, I'm sure there are plenty of people around in a similar situation to mine - I've certainly met a few of them. You don't tend to hear about them much, of course, but Jocelyn Lavin is an example of someone who showed exceptional early promise and then couldn't cope with the pressure.


Last edited by GuyBarry on Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
barbados
1315184.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:48 pm Reply with quote

Nobody was suggesting everybody should have ambition, what was said was that everyone should be able to aspire to anything regardless of gender.

Anyone can be an astronaut, anyone can be PM, just because you dont wish to, you should not discourage others that have that aspiration just because you don't think they will make it. Failure is not a bad thing.

 
GuyBarry
1315185.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:54 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Nobody was suggesting everybody should have ambition, what was said was that everyone should be able to aspire to anything regardless of gender.


And everyone can. No one can stop anyone else from aspiring to something.

Quote:
Anyone can be an astronaut, anyone can be PM, just because you dont wish to, you should not discourage others that have that aspiration just because you don't think they will make it. Failure is not a bad thing.


Failure can be absolutely devastating if you don't know how to cope with it.

 
barbados
1315186.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:56 pm Reply with quote

Quote:

And everyone can. No one can stop anyone else from aspiring to something.

But you are suggesting that suze should not encourage her students to follow their aspirations/

 
GuyBarry
1315187.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:59 pm Reply with quote

No I'm not. Please go back and re-read my opening post, especially this bit:

Quote:
Of course I agree with you that schools shouldn't be putting pupils off their aspirations because of their social status or gender. But equally I think they should be encouraging them to set goals which are realistic.

 
barbados
1315188.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:03 pm Reply with quote

So when you said
Quote:
Do you think that your job as a teacher is to set your pupils up with unrealistic expectations?

What did you mean?

 
GuyBarry
1315189.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:05 pm Reply with quote

Precisely what I said. Encourage people to have goals, but realistic ones.

Are you just trolling again?

 
barbados
1315190.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:14 pm Reply with quote

So because you failed at your aspirations we shouldn't encourage others to aim for their full potential.
We should encourage anyone to follow their dreams of being an astronaut just because someone once failed?

One of the roles of a teacher is to encourage their students to strive to achieve their ambitions in everything, of they choose to be a hairdresser, then the teacher's job is to encourage that person to be the best hairdresser they can be. Similarly if they want to become an astronaut, then the teacher should provide all of the tools and encouragement to achieve that goal.

 
GuyBarry
1315191.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:15 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
So because you failed at your aspirations we shouldn't encourage others to aim for their full potential.


No, I didn't say that.

If you're just going to put words in my mouth then there's no point in continuing this discussion.

It really pisses me off when I take the time to put together a detailed, thoughful response to what other posters have said, and someone comes along and attacks me on the basis of a load of nonsense that I didn't write.

 
'yorz
1315193.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:19 pm Reply with quote

As for ambitions being realistic or not - there wil be plenty examples of students who have thought "Sod this" at their teachers' safe suggestions and went on to reach heights that those teachers really thought those students shouldn't have been capable off.
Go for it. Always.

 
barbados
1315196.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:26 pm Reply with quote

You did say that, unless you meant something else when you said "Do you think that your job as a teacher is to set your pupils up with unrealistic expectations?"
Just because the aspirations are unrealistic in your opinion, who is to say they aren't acheivable by someone else?
There is nothing to stop any one of suze's students from becoming PM, or an astronaut, or a hairdresser for that matter - Ambition is a good thing, and preparing for failure is part of the process of educating the student. They are taught what failure means from a very early age - and they are taught how to cope with it and move on.
So in answer to your queation, all students should always be taught to chase their dreams, because if they don't then that is when they are doomed to failure

 
Alfred E Neuman
1315197.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:40 pm Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
Failure can be absolutely devastating if you don't know how to cope with it.

Then teach people how to handle failure. Teach them about themselves. About their strengths and weaknesses, and give them some coping skills to help overcome their weaknesses. And then let them be as ambitious as they want.

 
Alfred E Neuman
1315199.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:43 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
So in answer to your queation, all students should always be taught to chase their dreams, because if they don't then that is when they are doomed to failure

No, they’re not doomed to failure. They may well (probably will) be relegated to mediocrity and anonymity but if they’re lacking in ambition that hardly counts as a failure. If they’re content and we’ll adjusted, who are you to call someone a failure for not chasing rainbows with you?

 
barbados
1315200.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:50 pm Reply with quote

Do you think that not fulfilling your potential is succeeding then?

 
GuyBarry
1315202.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:57 pm Reply with quote

Alfred E Neuman wrote:

Then teach people how to handle failure. Teach them about themselves. About their strengths and weaknesses, and give them some coping skills to help overcome their weaknesses. And then let them be as ambitious as they want.


Yes, I think that's very good advice. I wasn't taught how to handle failure when I was young, because I was good at pretty much everything. I know a lot more about myself now but that's despite the education system rather than because of it.

 

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