- During each 45 minute period, teenagers and adults are expected to engage fully in absorbing information and/or participating in activities that have no connection (explicit or otherwise) to either the 45 minutes that came before it or those that would follow it.
- The chunks of the day are meted out by loud ringing noises, whose volume is intended, one must assume, to cut off any train of thought they might be interrupting.
- Students' behavioral patterns are regulated in innumerable ways, so that they must adhere to appropriate use of speech, restrooms, physical space, movement from place to place, and exercise. Similar behavioral patterns are imposed on inmates in prison.
- The vast majority of students' intellectual (and sometimes physical) output has no practical function; its sole purpose is to demonstrate a set of knowledge or skills (as determined by the teacher, often without adequate justification provided to students), after which it is usually discarded.
Sir Ken Robinson argues the point masterfully in his TED lecture about the need for schools to teach creativity. He says that, in today's world, creativity is just as essential as literacy, and it should be given the same gravity in schools. You wouldn't believe the number of blank stares I get when I ask my students the last time their teachers asked them to be creative. The implied message (and sometimes even the stated one) seems to be that, in the confines of a traditional school - with all the trappings presented by the bulleted list above - schools aren't equipped to encourage creativity; students will just have to wait for college to get that.