20 Common Traits Poorly Educated People Usually Have

Poorly educated individuals may exhibit certain noticeable characteristics that set them apart from others. These include reading comprehension and grammar difficulties, lack of curiosity, and struggles with following complex instructions. On the flip side, some may also compensate for their lack of education by pretending to be knowledgeable in certain areas. This behavior is often a way for poorly educated individuals to maintain their self-image and self-esteem.

They Have Poor Reading Comprehension

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The Hechinger Report notes that young teens have been reading less and less. This directly corresponds with the US Department of Education’s data, which shows that more than 100 million adults in America display low literacy skills. This means that more than 50% of Americans between 16 and 74 have reading skills equivalent to those of a child in the 6th grade. Causes of poor reading include students’ poor attention, laziness, and even a lack of motivation to learn to read.

They Have Poor Problem-Solving Skills

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Education doesn’t only mean a general grasp of concepts and theories. To truly make them useful in everyday life, one must be able to apply these things to real-life scenarios and solve real-life problems. The Institute of Competition Sciences notes, “Incorporating problem-solving into your curriculum is a great way to make learning more student-centered, as it requires students to engage with topics by asking questions and thinking critically about explanations and solutions, rather than expecting them to absorb information in a lecture format or through rote memorization.”

They Have Poor Written Communication Skills

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Written communication skills are often ignored or forgotten. However, they can be very detrimental to everyday life, especially at work. Writing expert Josh Bernoff was quoted in Hurley Write, saying that poor writing skills cost US businesses roughly $396 billion. He said, “Poor writing creates a drag on everything you do.”

They Are Unable to Think Critically

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When we encounter something—an idea, feeling, or more—we should not only absorb it at face value. If you can think critically, you question, analyze, interpret, evaluate, and judge what you say, write, hear, or read. Monash University states, “People who apply critical thinking consistently are said to have a critical thinking mindset, but no one is born this way. These are attributes which are learned and improved through practice and application.”

They Lack Curiosity

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If you think learning and being educated is all about just listening and absorbing, then you thought wrong. One needs to inquire about things to satisfy one’s curiosity and learn and understand something on a deeper level. University Affairs notes, “We depend on curiosity as the basis of our learning and knowledge-producing process.”

They Are Resistant to Learning New Skills

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Learning is hard and tiring and often requires tremendous effort, time, and sacrifice. However, as humans are constantly evolving, no matter how tiring it can be, we must continue to learn. We must remember that learning doesn’t stop in the classroom; in fact, some would argue that proper education only begins outside of it. Albert Einstein famously said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

They Have Difficulty in Following Complex Instructions

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The ability to follow instructions starts out simply, as kids learn to put their cups on the tables or copy the letters on the board. However, as we grow older, we face more complex instructions. If we can’t follow the more complicated instructions we are given, then it might be a sign that we have a hard time processing the information we are being provided. There might also be an issue with our executive function, which refers to a group of skills we need to get through and complete a particular task.

They Have Difficulty in Articulating Thoughts

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People often struggle to articulate their thoughts because they lack enough knowledge or understanding of a specific subject matter. When this happens, they often consider discussing the topic at hand difficult or even impossible. Their minds become overwhelmed with different issues and topics intertwining and correlating, leading them to get confused when it’s time to share their thoughts with others.

They Have Limited Vocabulary and Poor Grammar

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A limited vocabulary and poor grammar go hand in hand with poor reading comprehension skills. When people don’t read enough or don’t understand what they read, they don’t fully absorb the words they are exposed to. This results in them being unable to use these words correctly in their own applications. A study shared on Neliti shares, “Knowing words involves much more than knowing its dictionary definition.”

They Are Unable to Differentiate Between Fact and Opinion

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Discerning facts from opinion is a crucial skill for success in life. However, scholars from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found that many Americans struggle with this. The Hill published highlights of their research, which showed that less than five percent of adults they surveyed could correctly identify all statements as either fact or opinion.

They Often Struggle With Time Management

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Since we were young, we were taught the importance of time management through routines and schedules. This is because managing one’s time effectively means being able to set clear goals, prioritize tasks, and manage activities. If we’re all over the place with time and organization, it may be indicative of not learning the necessary skills regarding the importance of routines and schedules.

They Lack Empathy

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If we are not empathetic to other people and their circumstances, we cannot see and gain a different perspective on the world. Masters in Communication explains, “One of the most effective ways for someone to become empathic is for them to be trained as children. Empathy is a part of education known as ‘emotional intelligence.’”

They Talk First and Think Later

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People always remind us that we must think first before acting, think first before clicking, and think first before speaking. This is because knowledgeable people can see and understand the possible consequences of their actions. We might ruin ourselves and others if we act, speak, or click before thinking.

They Are Judgmental

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At first glance, it’s easy to think that someone who judges others is a lot better than the people they are targeting. However, it’s important to remember that judgment can also be considered a defense mechanism. According to Forbes, “Passing judgments on people, especially for unimportant or irrelevant things, is often a means of shielding oneself from vulnerability. Being judgmental is how we assert authority; it is how we deem what is ‘good’ and what is not, and when we are in the position of ‘judge,’ we cannot be in the position of ‘judged.’”

They Ignore Basic Facts

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Uneducated people tend to be unable to discern fact from fiction or opinion. When this happens, they may believe they have accumulated evidence to support their claims when, in reality, they ignore many pieces of evidence because those pieces of evidence could lead them to question their beliefs. Britannica defines this as confirmation bias, and it is important to be wary of this because it may lead people to “hold strongly to false beliefs or to give more weight to information that supports their beliefs than is warranted by the evidence.”

They Do Not Read Past Headlines

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Headlines can often be misleading. Poorly educated people may believe that shortcuts are the way to achieve success in a shorter period. Because of this, they may feel they already know all they need to know after reading a headline or a title. However, aside from this being inaccurate, they will also be more prone to spreading assumptions or fake news if they only read the headline of an article.

They Pretend to Be Experts in Something They’re Not

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Similar to how judgment is a defense mechanism, people can also pretend to be something they’re not to protect their self-image. The Expert Editor shares that people who lack self-esteem typically act like they’re always right; they are overly competitive and are critical of others.

They Make No Effort to Be Better

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Poorly educated people, to preserve their self-esteem, typically act like they always have to be correct. They don’t acknowledge their mistakes nor make any effort to be better. This is because admitting they’re wrong or failing at something can be equivalent to a direct attack on their self-worth and image.

They Lack General Knowledge

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Most of the things we know today are common sense. However, some things can only be attained through proper education and training. Allison Academy notes, “Without a comprehensive education in both sciences and humanities, a person will lack the knowledge and tools that enable them to make intelligent and meaningful political decisions.”

They Expect Different Results From Doing the Same Thing

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In line with making no effort to be better, poorly educated people fail to change and improve. They are stuck looking through a narrow tunnel and fail to see the big picture. These people may expect something else or something better to come out of what they’re doing, but if nothing they do changes, they should never expect a better outcome.

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20 Things You’re Doing That Make You a Bad Neighbor

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People have different personalities; that’s a fact. When you move somewhere with a tight-knit community, you will get to know many people who will either clash with your personality or make you feel like you’ve found a new friend. However, no matter what it is, remember to establish boundaries. If you don’t, you might soon see a lot of bad blood between you and other people in the community!

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20 Signs You Have Little to No Emotional Support in Your Relationship

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Navigating a relationship without enough emotional support can feel like being caught in a storm without shelter. Constant feelings of isolation, misunderstanding, and loneliness indicate a loss of balance in the emotional aspect of your relationship. Thankfully, it’s not too late to get help because we’ve gathered the top 20 signs that can help you determine whether or not you’re receiving the emotional support you need for a healthy, thriving relationship.

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20 Christian Practices That Confuse and Puzzle Others

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All regions differ in some way. Catholics collect saint cards and plan their vacations around religious sights, and Buddhists believe in karma and reincarnation. Like them, Christians also practice some things that are simply unheard of or puzzling for others. They practice tithing, cast out demons, and more!

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.