inessential by Brent Simmons

Goin’ to school

Tonight I’m going to school for the first time in over ten years. I’m taking a continuing education class, elementary French, at the local community college.

I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve learned some French before, but my biggest problem is hearing it. Language is one of those things where to learn it well you need to learn with other people.

On a philosophic note: you’ve no doubt heard it said many times that the purpose of school is to teach you how to think, and that facts, the actual content of learning, are much less important.

I dispute that. Yes, school teaches you how to think—but the content of learning is hugely important.

Otherwise it’s like learning French without learning any vocabulary. You can’t communicate—you can’t even really think—without vocabulary.