Study Tech has been around for several decades, but today, only Scientologists recommend it for use in public classrooms. Its proponents claim miraculous results, yet no independent evaluation of its effectiveness has ever been done. Its creator claimed that it represents a revolutionary advance in learning, yet it is in practice little more than a method of compelling mindless rote learning devoid of any critical thought or interpretation.
Those who support Study Tech undoubtedly believe in its effectiveness. Then again, as Study Tech’s supporters are overwhelmingly Scientologists, they also believe many things that the general populace would find hard to accept as everyday reality: recall of past lives, possession of super powers, and at the advanced levels, telepathic contact with space alien spirits. No proof is ever offered for the existence of these things. That poses no problems for Scientologists, as proof is never requested. For Hubbard’s followers, it is an article of faith that whatever Ron says must be correct, even if its correctness is not evident to anyone else. The effectiveness of what Scientologists call “the tech”, of which Study Tech is a part, is a matter of religious doctrine. It HAS to work.
But Study Tech is no more a secular learning methodology than wine and communion wafers are a Sunday morning snack. Its ambitions may be entirely conventional, but its vocabulary and practices are part of a religious doctrine closely tied to Scientology beliefs. The end product of Study Tech is an individual who has been taught to “duplicate” uncritically any proposition, no matter how dubious. It deprecates critical analysis and genuine understanding in favour of a mindless acceptance of the author as an unassailable authority figure. It reflects L. Ron Hubbard’s profoundly authoritarian desire to be seen as the “Source” of all Scientology wisdom and it serves his aim of encouraging unquestioning acceptance of his authority.
The real danger of Study Tech is that it was designed for indoctrination, not education. While it may be good at producing obedient Scientologists, it is completely at odds with promoting the ability to think independently. It quite deliberately aims to reduce a student’s ability to think critically. Students are taught to distrust their own intelligence and background knowledge, passively and uncritically accepting whatever they are being told. This can only deprive students of a skill vital in an age saturated with conflicting messages, where critical thinking is essential to making sense of the world. Study Tech’s doctrinaire and authoritarian approach to teaching is hostile to, and deserves no place in, secular educational institutions.