Image source: KADOKAWAanime on YouTube

I’m not saying that a standardized educational system can stifle creativity and growth; I’m just saying that a standardized educational system can stifle creativity and growth.

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor (Roku de Nashi Majutsu Kōshi to Akashic Records) is the story of a class of students studying magic that has the misfortune to be taught by a slacker of a teacher. Of course, he turns out to be more than he seems at first.

[Note: This article contains major spoilers for the first two episodes of Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor.]

The character of Glenn Radars, the teacher of the unfortunate students, is obviously more than he seems. He’s your template “crass, slack-off teacher who turns out to be really good at what he teaches.” Unfortunately, while Glenn may an expert at magic, he’s not necessarily good at it. He’s slow at spellcasting and can’t shorten his spells—a basic skill that most of his students can do. As a result, when challenged to a duel by one of his students, he outright loses.

However, despite his lack in basic magical skill, Glenn understands magic. He understands the fundamental building blocks of magic, which allows him to creatively rearrange and restructure them. Glenn demonstrates this in a captivating way when he deconstructs the very basic lightning spell that he lost at his duel with. He demonstrates how by incanting a spell in different ways, one can cause various effects that seem random at first, but are all quite predictable if one understands the workings behind them. He shows his students a side of magic they’ve never seen and never even thought to explore. That there is more to magic than just repeating learned lines. That there is meaning in not just the lines they learn, but how they learn them and why. While the students had all read their textbooks and memorized their spells, they had never thought to question what they were learning or the mechanics behind it.

Image source: KADOKAWAanime on YouTube

This is something that can be said for the standardized education in most countries. Students are told to memorize facts and formulas, but never really the reasoning that leads to the facts or how such formulas are developed. They’re encouraged to learn the end products and not how to question and explore. It’s rare that students will be blessed with a teacher who will go against the system or outside it to teach their students what the need to learn as opposed to spoon-feeding them what they’re “supposed” to learn.

Glenn Radars is the best kind of worst teacher. He has nothing against his students. His beef is with the educational system itself and how it raises submissive drones who don’t know how to be creative and innovative. While some of his methods could use some work, he does what every teacher should do: He teaches his students to question everything. Even him.

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor can be viewed with English dialogue on FUNimation and with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.

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