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  1. #1
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    Default Changing Education Paradigms

    [YOUTUBE="zDZFcDGpL4U"]Changing Education Paradigms[/YOUTUBE]

    Thoughts?

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    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    [YOUTUBE="zDZFcDGpL4U"]Changing Education Paradigms[/YOUTUBE]

    Thoughts?
    I agree, like I said in vent, I feel like education should be more individualized- but you can't individualize everything when you're trying to teach a mass amount of people. End goal would be productivity, I guess- (it doesn't seem like America will be one that is about learning for the sake of learning. Yeah, 93, I know you're from Canada.) But even so, you kind of need to consider how people can learn in mass groups and individually without slowing things down a lot. I liked what he said about age. I don't think it matters. I think young children can absorb a lot, so you could maybe regroup them accordingly. I don't know if schooling makes you more linear or if you naturally become more linear as you get older. Maybe gearing it more towards "divergent thinkers" that appear to be even more frequent in the current information generation is the way to go like the video implied.
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    I think the speaker raises interesting points on many fronts that go beyond "Can or should we individualize education for every student?" (because you're right, we can't)

    Is how we're teaching things for the greater good anyway? I don't think we 'teach' children so much as we train them to be rote memorizers. At least as far as math and the sciences go (which, as the speaker touched on, are valued more highly than social sciences, language arts and fine arts). A child doesn't learn how (conceptually) to multiply two numbers together so much as they learn to memorize "times tables". If a kid can't memorize 8 x 7 = 56 that kid is pretty much fucked for the rest of their academic life.

    What does one do with an education in the sciences and mathematics anyway? Are what we're teaching them the best, most 'worthwhile' things? That all depends on what we consider worthwhile, and as the speaker said we still base our 'value' of education solely upon how much money an adult can make with the knowledge that comes with a particular education. Is this the right way of going about things? The way I see things most of our jobs are not creative in any way whatsoever and that's why our education systems essentially teach us to be uncreative. We turn our kids into little computers who will output the answers that are expected of them. And we quash any kid's drive to ask a completely different question ("divergent thinking").

    I mean, think about a very skilled doctor. What is a doctor? Basically a diagnostician, right? I mean, we go to doctors with symptoms of an ailment and the doctor checks these symptoms with a mental list of potential ailments and deduces which one it is. Your average doctor isn't creative or 'smart', like I said they're a computer. They receive input and spit out an answer. A doctor is like a mechanic, but instead of mending cars they mend people. It's the same job though, the same process.

    What about a lawyer? Most of what a lawyer does is read. They read volumes of law and figure out ways to game the system. Same thing as a doctor: they're given a problem, given a few parameters, and we expect them to delve through the codes and acts of law in order to prove their client's point.

    Engineers? Most engineers aren't particularly creative; work somewhere long enough and problems become routine. You learn the industry standards, the government standards and codes, and you calculate your solution based on those things.

    It's the same with most of the other professions. It's all just deductive reasoning.


    We teach our kids to be good at these sorts of things because that's what will get them the most amount of money as an adult. Or at least that's what we thought. In the last couple years we've, collectively, all over the world, seen employment drop significantly. Now there are all these young adults out there with degrees in law, engineering, etc. who went into those fields for the expressed purpose of making money when they finished; they'd have a job waiting for them. We have a glut of these professionals. Now they're in the same boat as the stereotypical "English major": no expectation of a job. The sad part in all of this is that these engineers and scientists and computer scientists and mathematicians aren't really any more qualified for some regular old piss-ant job than an English major, or a dance major, or an arts major. They're not any 'smarter', they've just been trained to regurgitate information in a particularly specialized field of knowledge. Outside of that their knowledge is practically useless.


    The more I think about it the more I can't necessarily think of a better way of going about public education (by public I mean by any school outside of the home irrespective of its funding). It needs to change though, that much I can see and not just because I watched a YouTube video.

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    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    I think the speaker raises interesting points on many fronts that go beyond "Can or should we individualize education for every student?" (because you're right, we can't)

    Is how we're teaching things for the greater good anyway? I don't think we 'teach' children so much as we train them to be rote memorizers. At least as far as math and the sciences go (which, as the speaker touched on, are valued more highly than social sciences, language arts and fine arts). A child doesn't learn how (conceptually) to multiply two numbers together so much as they learn to memorizes "times tables". If a kid can't memorize 8 x 7 = 56 that kid is pretty much fucked for the rest of their academic life.

    What does one do with an education in the sciences and mathematics anyway? Are what we're teaching them the best, most 'worthwhile' things? That all depends on what we consider worthwhile, and as the speaker said we still base our 'value' of education solely upon how much money an adult can make with the knowledge that comes with a particular education. Is this the right way of going about things? The way I see things most of our jobs are not creative in any way whatsoever and that's why our education systems essentially teach us to be uncreative. We turn our kids into little computers who will output the answers that are expected of them. And we quash any kid's drive to ask a completely different question ("divergent thinking").

    I mean, think about a very skilled doctor. What is a doctor? Basically a diagnostician, right? I mean, we go to doctors with symptoms of an ailment and the doctor checks these symptoms with a mental list of potential ailments and deduces which one it is. Your average doctor isn't creative or 'smart', like I said they're a computer. They receive input and spit out an answer. A doctor is like a mechanic, but instead of mending cars they mend people. It's the same job though, the same process.

    What about a lawyer? Most of what a lawyer does is read. They read volumes of law and figure out ways to game the system. Same thing as a doctor: they're given a problem, given a few parameters, and we expect them to delve through the codes and acts of law in order to prove their client's point.

    Engineers? Most engineers aren't particularly creative; work somewhere long enough and problems become routine. You learn the industry standards, the government standards and codes, and you calculate your solution based on those things.

    It's the same with most of the other professions. It's all just deductive reasoning.


    We teach our kids to be good at these sorts of things because that's what will get them the most amount of money as an adult. Or at least that's what we thought. In the last couple years we've, collectively, all over the world, seen employment drop significantly. Now there are all these young adults out there with degrees in law, engineering, etc. who went into those fields for the expressed purpose of making money when they finished; they'd have a job waiting for them. We have a glut of these professionals. Now they're in the same boat as the stereotypical "English major": no expectation of a job. The sad part in all of this is that these engineers and scientists and computer scientists and mathematicians aren't really any more qualified for some regular old piss-ant job than an English major, or a dance major, or an arts major. They're not any 'smarter', they've just been trained to regurgitate information in a particularly specialized field of knowledge. Outside of that their knowledge is practically useless.


    The more I think about it the more I can't necessarily think of a better way of going about public education (by public I mean by any school outside of the home irrespective of its funding). It needs to change though, that much I can see and not just because I watched a YouTube video.
    What change can you see, besides the you tube video? A lot of what you listed above seems to have to do with the economy rather than the level of education. I would agree that it would be nice to have jobs that require creative thinking that also will get you the income to survive. At the same time, people have to follow the "set formulas" to do the right things to make money and avoid law suits in their practice. Doctors, lawyers, engineers have protocols. It's like the entire way of thinking is going to be geared towards set protocols and success- education would be geared in that direction too. (Just playing devil's advocate)
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    I don't disagree, but I think that that focus on crapping out professionals has made us miserable now that (as the video put it) our old way of thinking (if you worked hard and did well in primary and secondary school, went to college and got a degree, you'd have a job at the end of it) doesn't apply anymore.


    In other terms: why are we teaching kids to get jobs that they won't have?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    Is how we're teaching things for the greater good anyway? I don't think we 'teach' children so much as we train them to be rote memorizers. At least as far as math and the sciences go (which, as the speaker touched on, are valued more highly than social sciences, language arts and fine arts). A child doesn't learn how (conceptually) to multiply two numbers together so much as they learn to memorizes "times tables". If a kid can't memorize 8 x 7 = 56 that kid is pretty much fucked for the rest of their academic life.
    A few years back when my son was learning multiplication tables (3rd grade? can’t remember), I taught him to figure it out in his head instead of simply memorizing it. He actually liked doing it, and was really excited when he figured out that he could even multiply double digits in his head as well. Soon afterward, in a parent/teacher meeting, the teacher explained to me that he was “doing it wrong” and needs to memorize them- “because they’re graded by speed and it takes too long for kids to figure it out in their heads.” I’ve got several similar stories. It’s like teachers all have some pre-formulated argument they regurgitate to ‘difficult’ parents- because I heard practically the same thing from every teacher every year, there are buzz words and certain phrases that get used over and over again to shift the language to make it sound like it’s in the child’s best interest- but yeah, the goal is clearly about getting the best standardized test results possible. Suffice it to say, in spite of getting off-the-chart results on tests which measured math ability (seriously, I know parents brag, but the kid was off the motherf*cking charts!), he grew to absolutely hate the subject because it was so difficult for him to solve problems the specific way the teachers needed him to.

    Schools have to cram as much memorized information into children as they can to compete for the best scores because their funding depends on it. It’s all about the standardized testing and making the school’s statistics as impressive as possible. I have a hard time blaming the teachers for perpetuating the system because their livelihoods depend on it- but at the same time, I’ve been astounded time and time again at the way they truly discourage critical thinking and not only seem oblivious to it but get really annoyed with me for stepping in to help my son figure out how to get things done in a way which suited him better. The alternative most of his teachers REALLY pushed was to try medication (this is where the pre-formulated phrases and buzz words start getting creepy). One teacher would get openly annoyed and make comments like "I don't understand why your mother doesn't just home-school you." (edit: comments like that were made in class while angry and in front of other kids.) I do understand they have several kids to teach and ridiculous expectations to meet- but I'm disgusted by the way they basically bully parents into medicating children for the sake of making their job easier. This is a rather touchy subject for me. ( )

    Another one of my biggest pet peeves is the way children are taught about the constitution. They don’t learn about democracy in any experiential sense, they’re simply expected to memorize a definition of the concept while being wholly encouraged to behave as autocratic subjects. It’s like teaching someone how to fix a car using a bicycle- then being surprised when they don’t actually know how to fix a car when the lesson is over. John Dewey wrote an excellent book on this, Democracy and Education, in which he explains why he believes it’s ultimately disempowering: we’re not creating responsible citizens of a democracy, we’re creating cogs. Even now, in highschool- my son's teachers go on about new programs that supposedly encourage “critical thinking” but the kids are told exactly when and how to apply critical thought and exactly what to apply it to. It’s got the appearance of being progressive, but it’s still more about quantifiable results than actual teaching.

    There’s another good book, How Children Fail, written in the late 60s (?) by Jon Holt- a teacher who noticed the detrimental effects of standardized testing and spoke out about them. And of course, I love Sir Kenneth Robinson.

    Anyway, I haven’t watched the entire video above yet, but if I remember correctly what Robinson suggests in one of his Ted Talks is placing less emphasis on standardized testing and giving more authority/elbow room to individual teachers to teach individual kids as they see fit (as opposed to having ridiculously strict expectations for them to adhere to- which is the direct result of standardized testing). The system can’t change overnight, but I think that’s a good step in the right direction. The biggest obstacle is that results aren't quantifiable right away.
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    Interesting video. A few thoughts of mine on it (note: I'm not American, so I'm not familiar with the education system there):

    * It all seems pretty familiar, albeit with more basis in research - the "stifling of creativity (in this case, the more general 'divergent thinking')" is a phenomenon I see discussed time and again. Has there been any progress in fixing/remedying it so far?

    * I can't help but think about the whole SJs vs. iNtuitives thing. Are SJs less comfortable with divergent thinking, or is there no correlation/correspondence?

    * Is there a place for "linear thinking" in the modern world? Are some children (the 2%) more skilled at it?

    * The 98% number is quite interesting. Do most people have the potential to become divergent thinkers? Are the 2% "inferior" to them?

    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    I don't disagree, but I think that that focus on crapping out professionals has made us miserable now that (as the video put it) our old way of thinking (if you worked hard and did well in primary and secondary school, went to college and got a degree, you'd have a job at the end of it) doesn't apply anymore.


    In other terms: why are we teaching kids to get jobs that they won't have?
    Do you suppose the flawed part is the education necessary to get a job, or the expectation to find one at all?
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    LOVE THIS!

    My wish list for future education would be to blow the doors off institutionalized learning, making it available to everyone at any age, within any culture, at any speed. To do this, technology would play a major part. Internet learning by learning style, with or without teachers, reliant on the individual's learning style.

    Categorisation would be by classification of subject and levels per subject, where you can level up in any subject at any pace with as many subjects as you can juggle at any given time.

    The only reason I'm bothering with categorisation and levels, is for the sake of future employers. While it grates to consider this aspect when we're discussing education, it's a pragmatic necessity.

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    Formal education has such many disappointments for the quick and agile mind, but just as such minds that designed it aren't perfect, the institution can not be perfect either.

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