Hello, Matt Skripek here. While I’m new to the English MA program, I finished my BA in English at Chico State in 2013. During my time as an undergraduate I nurtured a growing interest in creative writing and made the decision to pursue an MA in the field while simultaneously preparing for a career in education. My writing focuses primarily on poetry, in particular the works of Scandinavian writers such as Tomas Tranströmer and Robin Robertson (although he is quite Scottish, stylistically he’s one of my favorites). I also have an interest in fiction that stems from several years spent reading science fiction and fantasy from the likes of Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, and Brandon Sanderson among others.
I’ve tried to be open about my academic experiences in high school that led me to harbor disdain for the educational system. By doing this I’ve gathered that my own means of learning about various subjects differs greatly from the established means of producing children in batches based largely on age rather than individual learning style or capabilities. The reading and conversation about Dewey led me to a further understanding that the model for education is inherently broken by design. It is built on the idea of uniformity, like an assembly line that discourages the unique, the different, in favor of the universal. Ideally, school should be a place that nurtures the individual in a way that is of the greatest benefit to the child and what they can contribute in adulthood.
It’s my belief that children are inherently curious, but that curiosity can be easily lost under the pressure to fit in as opposed to exploring their own interests. I believe that an ideal composition course would allow students to be reflective on their own interests, to find an element of a topic that they feel is particularly important and to expand and explore their own views on it, be they supportive or opposing. It is through these measures that they can find their own voice rather than sticking to a formula that would earn a desired grade. Ultimately, education should be focused on the growth of the student rather than the letter grade at its conclusion.