A Provisional Curriculum
For When Walking Is Taught At School
Photo © Vladimir Costas/Shutterstock
To secure the quality and consistency of walking skills in forthcoming generations, it is anticipated that walking will soon be taught by professional teachers in properly equipped educational facilities. The following curriculum has been designed to achieve optimum results.
N.B. This is a tried and tested teaching program, which systematically imparts approved walking technique, in easily accomplished stages. Each stage builds upon previously acquired skills. Consequently, it is vital that every student fully complete the current stage, before advancing to the subsequent stage. Under no circumstances can any stage be omitted or taught out of sequence.
Stage 1. Motivation
While it is fair to warn children about the enormity of the task they are about to embark upon, we must prevent them from becoming disheartened. Accordingly, the teacher will also present details of the dire consequences of failure, illustrated with tragic examples. When this is delivered in a suitably urgent tone, it will evoke the necessary determination and understanding of the importance of model walking skills. Children should be encouraged to participate by relating stories pertaining to sorry individuals unable to walk correctly. Only when each student demonstrates sufficient fear of failure, recognition of their personal inadequacy, and conviction of dependency on professional teachers for all learning, can they go on to pledge their dedication to this program and be allowed to continue.
Stage 2. Inspiration
A multimedia presentation will be introduced, depicting renowned specialist walkers, both classical and contemporary. An admiration of their extraordinary achievements should be orchestrated. An overview of the history of walking will be delivered, highlighting that erectness of posture indicates evolutionary advancement and superiority. This will lead on to study of a key area: defining the optimum stance and stride, which best displays sophistication and earns most respect. Students will be set projects on their favorite, famous walkers, and be required to copy a multitude of diagrams relating to correct posture.
A limited portion of time should be allotted to the development of essential walking muscles. This will be safely executed by specialized exercise equipment with computerized individual achievement records. The brighter students may even learn the name of the specific muscle that each machine targets.
Stage 3. Theory
The obstructive habit of the untrained mind to disregard irrelevant information, or subject it to undesirable comparisons with experience and commonsense must be addressed. This problem can be cured by overwhelming the analytical mind with a barrage of vaguely relevant facts, presented with an urgency that implies that their very survival depends upon the student’s ability to instantly absorb facts like a compliant receptacle. Regular testing and a systemic obsession with marks helps to reinforce this anxiety. Ultimately, this provides the basis for induction into the scholastic paradigm: that data retention is knowledge and faithful regurgitation is intelligence.
For example, the instructor may contrast human walking with horses, examining trotting, cantering, and the gallop, and direct the students to detailed conclusions about the complexity of bipedal mobility. The study of walking equipment, map reading, and popular long distance footpaths may also help yield the necessary plethora of material.
Calculations of stride length and frequency and how they relate to distance and speed will be examined at length. Most students can’t be expected to repeat the more complicated calculations, but these lessons will still serve to reaffirm the class’s confidence in the superior knowledge and expertise of their teacher. In addition to establishing dependency on constant instruction and direction, the tutor should exploit this opportunity to install the fundamental precept of the education industry: that the academic hierarchy is the embodiment of the hierarchy of truth, thus rendering all archaic faiths obsolete by re- placing them with the pure light of official scientific dogma.
Students must demonstrate a working understanding of how a top-heavy, unstable mechanism such as the human frame can be balanced, accelerated, and decelerated by adjusting the centre of support relative to the centre of gravity. The complimentary practical task will require each student to learn to balance a purpose-built ball-on-stick on the tip of one finger. This vital skill may take some time to acquire, so it should be set for homework.
A note on homework: It is critical to solicit the help of parents, in order to extend the learning environment to include the home. This accelerates learning by reducing the amount of time children waste on unstructured pastimes. Parents have two important roles in assisting the success of this program. They must administer any practical exercises and help consolidate what has been learned in class through relentless reiteration and quizzing. More importantly, they must insure that the child makes no attempt to walk spontaneously, without the protection of proper facilities and competent supervision. It should be impressed upon parents, in simple terms, that any attempt at premature walking might cause injury, retard progress, and risk the development of irreversible idiosyncrasies, which will prohibit their child’s graduation.
Stage 4. The Components of a Stride
It is useful to further break down the process of walking to enable students
to master one component at a time. Students must be made to understand that
walking is a cyclic process involving:
1. balancing on the left foot
2. swinging the right leg forward
3. transferring weight to the right foot
4. balancing on the right foot
5. swinging the left leg forward
6. transferring weight to the left foot
It is therefore proper to study and practice each of these skills separately, before attempting to bring them together.
Once these concepts have been absorbed, a series of practical lessons must be administered. Protective clothing, including full-face crash helmets, and knee and elbow pads are compulsory and must be worn throughout all practical sessions. A large bare room free of distractions will be provided. Any objects or points of interest risk the danger of being chosen as destinations, which could lead to disastrous attempts at premature walking, or contemplation of auto- determination, which is known to lead to behavior difficulties. Similarly, crawling, shuffling, and other forms of self-propulsion must be strictly banned, in order to maintain motivation and focus on the task in hand.
Students will be instructed in the delicate art of transferring weight between feet, first with the left foot forward and then the right. Next, they must become adept at balancing unsupported on either foot. Once proficient in these skills, the student is ready to practice the most difficult component: balancing on one leg whilst swinging the other. No form of support should ever be offered as this would result in dependency and laziness.
Stage 5. Walking Practice
The proper sequence of the components of a stride will be taught and thoroughly memorized – both in forward order and reverse order, for walking backwards. In the practical class, each component will be executed in order, at gradually increasing speed until they merge into a more fluent movement. The early attempts at walking are to be conducted individually, while the rest of the class observes. By witnessing the rigorous and repetitive corrections of their teacher, the students will develop a critical eye and inherit a dedication to perfecting the approved technique and uniform posture. This will lead to essential mental enhancement, affording effective peer-correction and ultimately, the all-important self-critique.
Stage 6. Examination and Graduation
Graduation is such an important personal milestone that this learning program should never be rushed. A child who has produced copious amounts of tidy paperwork demonstrates possession of the dedication and conviction necessary to be entered for the examination. More capable children will be ready to graduate by the age of five or six. Others may take considerably longer. A few will entirely lack the necessary discipline to ever be awarded this crucial qualification.
During the examination, it is important to bear in mind that the capacity of students to recognize and revere proper method is far more important than their actual ability to propel themselves. The weighting of marks towards the theory component of the exam reflects this principle. In the practical exam, poise, posture, and proper technique will score more points than distance covered or accuracy of navigation. Correct walking expresses class; sophisticated form is far more important than crass, utilitarian transport.
Stage 7. Rewards
Graduates of this advanced walking program will be immediately recognizable by their distinctive and refined technique. Teachers should encourage graduates to feel a justified sense of superiority over those unfortunate feral walkers who exhibit a crude imitation of bipedal mobility without having had the advantages of essential training. The success of graduates represents a sustained investment of time, effort, and money and he or she should be made to feel proud of every well-deserved entitlement and reward, which this qualification affords them.
At this stage, all students will have inherited a healthy disdain for vulgar walking anomalies. They will be competent at classifying all aberrations such as skipping, hopping, jumping etc. Above all, this program will ensure that every child will know better than to ever engage in that most dangerous and reckless excess commonly known as running.
Some students, especially the less able, who may have found this course difficult, will fail to graduate or even refuse to utilize the gift of proper walking skills. Having discharged your duty to instill the necessary knowledge, you need take no responsibility for the genetic limitations of these sad miscreants. After all, one may lead a horse to water, but regrettably remain unable to compel it to drink. Some losers may attempt to blame school for giving them a crippling conviction of inadequacy. But their failure actually confirms the success of the system, which sorts the wheat from the chaff and clears the field for the advancement of the more promising individuals.
Please note: This is a provisional curriculum. For an updated version please apply to The Dept. of Bonsai People, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For a documented exposé of the real purpose of school, please read Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto.
Being the intellectual runt of a large Catholic family in Wales, Dave Butler was awarded the prestigious accolade of “school reject” at age five. He sustained this early momentum throughout his scholastic career and went on to earn the coveted title of “least qualified school leaver of the year.” Despite this, he managed to retain the naive delusion that “if someone else can do it, why shouldn’t I?” Without further “education,” he learned computer programming, electronic engineering, and rudimentary writing skills. He now lives in Ireland with his two teenage adults, runs a one-man business, and is almost done building the “Eco” house he designed – unremarkable achievements, except that they were accomplished with a monstrous, school-sized chip on his shoulder.