Conditioning in Schools

In the propaganda film by Disney, Education for Death, that I wrote about in this article, the young boy was conditioned to believe the cruel answers were the correct ones. Yet we must be able to see the bias from all perspectives – meaning that the conditioning is only subjective to circumstance. Just as the young boy was conditioned, we condition our students in our schools in the same manner – just with different subject matter. For example, we are conditioned to believe that our brand of Capitalism is the best method of economy. And surely, we can back it up with evidence! Regardless, we are still conditioned. This article is going to dive into everything else that we are conditioned to think, do, and behave like while we are in school.

Ring, ring, ring, run (photo by slsch1)

Ring, ring, ring, run (photo by slsch1)

#1. Running to Class After the Bell Has Already Rung

Isn’t it odd that, no matter how fast you begin to run to class, you still run in the hopes that your teacher will not mark you tardy – even if you are blatantly tardy? This is a perfect example of in-school conditioning. We are, just as Ivan Pavlov was with his dogs, trained to “salivate” (ie. run to class) when the bell rings (which oddly enough is the same stimulus used in Pavlov’s dog experiments.)

#2. Raising Your Hand

Of course, we are taught in schools that it is polite and highly appropriate to raise your hand and wait to be picked on in class. In essence, this can be looked at as a way to stifle creativity in the classroom. Others can look at it and say, oh, well, it’s just conditioning. We are able to see that if we answer without raising our hands (instead, just blurting out the answer) that the teacher will ignore our answers and go for someone who has raised their hand like a good boy or girl. Eventually, we learn to wait our turn and raise our hands like the rest of the group.

#3. Using the Bathroom

Unless you’re one of those kids who just leaves class when they’re bored to go to the bathroom, you probably don’t even recognize that you have a set schedule to use the bathroom. And no, it’s not some sort of a urinary circadian rhythm – it’s conditioning! Most likely, your bathroom patterns are the same everyday as a result of the diet and exercise you get on average. I know for myself, I had a set schedule to use the bathroom. It’s crazy what we don’t even notice happens around us every single day.

In any case, these are a few of the simple ways you may not have realized that we are conditioned in schools. From the time we are young to the time we graduate, there are so many patterns that have gone unnoticed for so, so long. Chances are, conditioning does not stop at the school’s doors as you exit. They’re everywhere – as assuredly as life is full of subtle bias.


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