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Author Topic: what should school/education do/be?  (Read 3239 times)

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lentower

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what should school/education do/be?
« on: April 11, 2011, 11:21:49 PM »

what do you think education should do for students?

what should be taught?

how?

what shouldn't be taught?

etc.

links, general and specific thoughts welcome!!!

inspired by:
the panel on the censorship of Columbinues by Lexington High School was awesome.

. . .

it got me to thinking that the real problem
is that school isn't about helping students be best they can be.

to teach them how to be self-learners,
and give them a delicious taste of what the many
different branches of knowledge has to offer,
and make them WANT and NEED to learn.

this would have the side effect, of teaching them to
think for themselves.

too much emphasis on getting job skills, or into college,
so you get a higher level of job skills.
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lentower

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2011, 11:26:01 PM »

from http://tech.mit.edu/V131/N18/woodieflowers.html

Our high school system and most of the education system rewards
passive learning. You sit in a room and stuff washes over you and
you make good grades on quizzes. It has very little to do with becoming
educated, in my opinion. The classroom is now a minor part of becoming
educated, I think it will become increasingly irrelevant as time goes on.
Doing things that are multidisciplinary, multifunction, multiperson,
multicultural. All that stuff is really much more important.



the whole article is worth a glance.

Woodie is one of the best teachers at MIT,
and an amazing human being.

Among other things,
Woodie was the first host of the PBS show
Scientific American Frontiers
and was both more insightful and funny than
Alan Alda, the present host.
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Tiervexx

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2011, 12:23:37 AM »


too much emphasis on getting job skills, or into college,
so you get a higher level of job skills.

I don't think this is true at all.  I know far too many people who got no job skills out of school what so ever.  Most people I know (outside of work) picked very useless majors because they studied what they wanted to.  I'm the odd man out in that department.

That said, I don't think the public education system I went through emphasized real education much either.  The most important thing to get out of school imho is a grasp of hard logic.  Without that everything you know will be wrong and you'll never know why.  I've seen too many people think assertions are proofs or not see what is wrong with a circular argument.

What schools seem to do (from what I remember) is to just make you memorize as many useless facts as possible.

I'm very vocal about how I believe Mathematics is the purest form of knowledge because of its perfect objectivity so I feel heart broken whenever I hear people say that they think it is just memorizing boring formulas.  If that's what you think it is, then you've been taught wrong.  Very, very, VERY wrong.  Most of mathematics has nothing to do with numbers or formulas.  It is about logic.  Learn the logic and you can derive formulas and anything else.

All human knowledge (that is objective) is rooted in mathematical logic.  That is where your general problem solving skills come from.  I believe that is the most important thing to teach in school.  Not how quickly they can do long division on a test and not how many dates they've memorized for historical events.
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lentower

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2011, 07:38:57 AM »

great points about logic and math!
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Tony Bones

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2011, 03:29:41 PM »

I personally feel schools should be a place where the students choose what they want to learn. Where open discussions are held. A place where each student is allowed to question. Teachers should just be people with knowledge who the students can come to with questions. Students should be allowed to teach each other. It should be a place that is open 24/7 with no specific times or ages. You learn based on your own level and interests. If there must be grades, then they will based on progress not proficiency. Anyone should be able to teach whatever they want. Only a few people actually work there and earn a salary, these are the people who verify the knowledge of individuals who want to teach something. For instance, say you read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and you think you know all there is to know about it. Then you go to the board of smart people and say, "I studied this book and I want to share what I know with others." They test your knowledge of the book and if you pass, they write on your special teachers card or whatever that you know it and can teach it. (We don't want a wikipedia trend to happen.) You can always go back to school, relearn whatever you want, or even look into some higher level stuff. No one should have the authority to deny you knowledge if you want to learn it. Students bring their own supplies. The school itself would resemble a loud library more than the prison style we have now. Treat the students with respect and you'll be surprised at how they act.
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Tiervexx

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2011, 04:00:33 PM »

I personally feel schools should be a place where the students choose what they want to learn. Where open discussions are held. A place where each student is allowed to question. Teachers should just be people with knowledge who the students can come to with questions. Students should be allowed to teach each other. It should be a place that is open 24/7 with no specific times or ages. You learn based on your own level and interests. If there must be grades, then they will based on progress not proficiency. Anyone should be able to teach whatever they want. Only a few people actually work there and earn a salary, these are the people who verify the knowledge of individuals who want to teach something. For instance, say you read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and you think you know all there is to know about it. Then you go to the board of smart people and say, "I studied this book and I want to share what I know with others." They test your knowledge of the book and if you pass, they write on your special teachers card or whatever that you know it and can teach it. (We don't want a wikipedia trend to happen.) You can always go back to school, relearn whatever you want, or even look into some higher level stuff. No one should have the authority to deny you knowledge if you want to learn it. Students bring their own supplies. The school itself would resemble a loud library more than the prison style we have now. Treat the students with respect and you'll be surprised at how they act.

I can see where you are coming from but I feel that it is necessary to force young children (AT LEAST until high school) to study things that they need to know and not give them complete freedom.

If you give kids complete freedom of what they want to study I think too many will neglect their weak points or important things they just are not interested in.

To be more specific, I think that if kids get totally open curriculum I think most kids will finish school with no grasp of science or hard logic at all (see my other post).  People will ignore it because it's hard.  And the kids who do want to study such things and become scientists or engineers will end up being even worse communicators than we already are.

I also think that basic facts about our history will become very obscure knowledge within a few generations if kids are not forced to study it when they are young.
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Morpheus Laughing

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2011, 10:36:57 AM »

Very young kids need to learn basic interpersonal skills. Some of these can be picked up informally via play and sharpened up with classroom activities. It’s important for kids to have a supportive and encouraging teacher that they can grow to respect - this is even more important if the child isn’t getting that kind of nurturing from parents. At this young age, the classes need to be kept small so that each child is receiving adequate attention and the right level of encouragement.  This should help to develop the confidence and curiosity that is essential for being a self-motivated learner.

The building blocks for critical thinking also need to be put in place early on. Again – A certain amount of problem resolving can be picked up during informal play and can be fashioned into something more substantial in class by setting up slightly more controlled situations that can be talked about in small groups or one to one.

I suppose it would be good to teach a work ethic of sorts but I’m not sure how that could be accomplished.  I remember feeling a bit cynical about the basic “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question so I’m not sure how far you can push the idea. Nonetheless – kids are more likely to say that they want to be famous than in the past(i.e. fame for the sake of fame and not necessarily fame for having a talent) and it just makes sense to me that it would be wise to encourage a mentality where the means can be appreciated as being as valuable as the ends. 

I could say considerably more but I'm tired...
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Mr. Leave Me Alone

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2011, 04:07:34 PM »

I personally feel schools should be a place where the students choose what they want to learn. Where open discussions are held. A place where each student is allowed to question. Teachers should just be people with knowledge who the students can come to with questions. Students should be allowed to teach each other. It should be a place that is open 24/7 with no specific times or ages. You learn based on your own level and interests. If there must be grades, then they will based on progress not proficiency. Anyone should be able to teach whatever they want. Only a few people actually work there and earn a salary, these are the people who verify the knowledge of individuals who want to teach something. For instance, say you read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and you think you know all there is to know about it. Then you go to the board of smart people and say, "I studied this book and I want to share what I know with others." They test your knowledge of the book and if you pass, they write on your special teachers card or whatever that you know it and can teach it. (We don't want a wikipedia trend to happen.) You can always go back to school, relearn whatever you want, or even look into some higher level stuff. No one should have the authority to deny you knowledge if you want to learn it. Students bring their own supplies. The school itself would resemble a loud library more than the prison style we have now. Treat the students with respect and you'll be surprised at how they act.

This sounds really great and everything, but I doubt that that kind of system would work for everyone. Some people thrive under the educational system as it is and some people get better results from freedom. I think that if you wanted to bring something like that in, you'd need something else for the people that it wouldn't work for.

I'm going to make this smaller because it turned into more of a personal experience ramble than it maybe should have been. You can just ignore it and keep scrolling if that doesn't appeal to you.
I personally think that it depends on the person. Before I was 13, I'd been to 10 different schools and after that, I was home educated. Some of the schools I went to were pretty strict (I recall one in particular that had a rule that before recess, we all had to sit in lines and recite times tables and if anyone was caught messing up...Something to do with staying in during recess but I forget exactly what happened) and some that had a very loose 'if you don't want to do it, we don't want to make you' thing going on. And I've seen people both learn very well and struggle terribly under every kind of teacherly reign I can possibly think of. My favourite school was one I went to when I was fairly small and it was great. We had the normal teacher-to-a-class thing but the teachers were incredibly kind and almost like our friends and I'm pretty sure that at least half of them were just old hippies and I don't really remember hearing anything about anyone playing up ever, except for this one kid who was like 4 years above me. And again, it worked for some people and it didn't work for others. I got a really good start and always had high grades when I was in school and I always credit that to those first few years, but I know a lot of other people who went there and got lazy because of how well we were treated and didn't truly appreciate or take advantage of the awesome help we were getting.
Home education was excellent because parents tend to have more time to cater to each child's individual needs and for anything that they can't teach, there is a tutor or a class. And in my experience, we had some focus on learning all the things everyone is meant to learn (maths, English, etc.) but we also got to spend times on the things we wanted to know.

(Actually, if anyone actually knows me, they'll know I have no qualifications and that really does not work in favour of anything I'm saying. I had to take a break from the studying I was doing towards qualifications when I was 15 because I got really sick and then I never picked it back up. Home education is still awesome.)

I think that what I'm getting at is that we need teachers to be more able to pick up on the needs of individual students rather than focusing on a class as a whole. Different things definitely work for different people.
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Tiervexx

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2011, 08:05:38 PM »


I think that what I'm getting at is that we need teachers to be more able to pick up on the needs of individual students rather than focusing on a class as a whole. Different things definitely work for different people.

This is definitely true.

I think Germany has the right idea when they separate students into different groups according to performance.

I think there needs to be some mix of forcing everybody to study certain things (everyone takes math through logic and algebra, everyone takes a certain amount of literature, grammar, and social studies etc.) but then everyone, starting in middle school can take some courses that they want to.  They had a limited version of this at my middle and high schools but it needs to go further...  A lot of kids are ready to do college level classes in at least one subject by freshman year of high school.  They need to be able to do this and it needs to be strongly encouraged.

Finally, I one opinion about schooling that never seems to get enough lip service, because people don't want to believe it, is that some kids are unteachable.

Some kids just have no motivation and might benefit from working for a few years (after at least going through elementary) then deciding if they want to go back to school and finish.  Many children need to be taken out of regular schooling to special schools to help them with mental health issues.  That only happens in extreme cases in America right now, but I think it needs to happen a lot more often.

...finally, and this is the part some people won't like, some kids are just too dumb to get anything out of an education.  Sometimes it is necessary to acknowledge that the situation is hopeless then train them to do some labor job.
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spider21b

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 05:27:32 AM »

i had the idea of maybe we could have classes outside the classroom as manatory so if its an awsome day outside kids could learn what happens in the real world! :icon_rr:
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lentower

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2011, 04:45:23 PM »

not exactly home schooling,
more home extracurricular activity

http://www.theonion.com/articles/cool-dad-raising-daughter-on-media-that-will-put-h,26132/

good?
bad?
both?
why?
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imaginary friend

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2011, 04:55:54 PM »

do/be/do/be/do

  :toothy1:

Morpheus Laughing

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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2011, 06:04:17 PM »

not exactly home schooling,
more home extracurricular activity

http://www.theonion.com/articles/cool-dad-raising-daughter-on-media-that-will-put-h,26132/

good?
bad?
both?
why?

The mind has to be warped one way or another. I suppose the difference here is that he has admitted to doing what all parents do to some extent or another (although many do it obliviously). The line is fine (bringing a child an edge or bringing on a mental disorder).
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Re: what should school/education do/be?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 06:54:05 PM »

I think I might stay away from this one.
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