What Should We Really Be Teaching?

The Failure of Education?

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Re: What Should We Really Be Teaching?

#61  Postby Agrippina » Aug 03, 2014 2:50 pm

Indeed. It's easy enough to teach it to even small children by answering their questions, not with merely what you know, but showing them how to find out what you know. I used to tell mine, from even a small age, when they asked questions, that I could give them an answer but that it was better to look up the answer in a book. So when we went to the library, that week, I would find a book on the subject they were asking about, and show them the answer, or I'd buy a book. The result was that even by the age of 8 or 9 they were able to do the same thing with their teachers. It caused some dissent in the classroom, and they weren't terribly popular around teachers with ego problems, but the result is that now they call me out if I post some nonsensical stuff on Facebook. Sure people don't like being asked to "cite your sources" however, if the person being asked is a keen student themselves, they'll do that, or argue their position and indeed cite a source.

Education is only valuable when children are actually learning something. When kids are made to merely quote whatever the teacher has given them in notes, and not required to look up more information on what they're learning, they don't learn, and they also soon forget what they may have learnt.
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Re: What Should We Really Be Teaching?

#62  Postby The_Metatron » Aug 03, 2014 2:56 pm

You're damned right, they should. That would have been valuable to me, I can tell you.
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Re: What Should We Really Be Teaching?

#63  Postby epepke » Aug 03, 2014 3:45 pm

I'd personally like it if people were talk critical thinking in primary and secondary school, but there's just too much evidence that most people don't want it. Even on this forum there doesn't seem to be widespread support for critical thinking per se, but only certain kinds of critical thinking or thinking that is critical of certain things.
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Re: What Should We Really Be Teaching?

#64  Postby tuco » Aug 03, 2014 3:51 pm

Thinking "hurts" - requires time and energy and these are quite limited during our lives.
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Re: What Should We Really Be Teaching?

#65  Postby The_Metatron » Aug 03, 2014 3:59 pm

epepke wrote:I'd personally like it if people were talk critical thinking in primary and secondary school, but there's just too much evidence that most people don't want it. Even on this forum there doesn't seem to be widespread support for critical thinking per se, but only certain kinds of critical thinking or thinking that is critical of certain things.

What does want have to do with it? I've taken plenty of courses I didn't want to take. No choice.
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Re: What Should We Really Be Teaching?

#66  Postby tuco » Aug 03, 2014 4:23 pm

I took Russian for 8 years and know nothing of it.

The way I see it, there is no question that critical thinking, balloney detection kit, should be part of education.

The question is, how to make more people thinking? Challenge for sociology perhaps. Homo Ludens precedes Homo Sapiens. I mean Sapiens.

Sure, critical thinking is one part. Popularization of science another. But do we have the luxury to do thinking? Is there need? Can't we just let someone do it for us and consume, entertain, have fun, sleep and basically anything else?
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Re: What Should We Really Be Teaching?

#67  Postby surreptitious57 » Aug 03, 2014 9:46 pm

It is a no brainer that critical thinking as a skill should be taught to children [ and indeed adults too for that matter ] I have
had no formal education in it myself [ never did it in my day ] but since becoming an atheist and subsequently interested in
science and particularly physics I now no longer accept any truth claim unless there is either evidence or proof to validate it Where something is objectively true and can be demonstrated to be so I accept it. Where something is objectively false and
can be demonstrated to be so I reject it. For everything else I maintain an open mind relative to the probability of the thing
in question being true. This should be the natural default position for assessing the validity of all truth claims
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: What Should We Really Be Teaching?

#68  Postby Agrippina » Aug 04, 2014 12:21 pm

My formal education only came to me late in life. My critical thinking, at a very early age, mostly because I would only believe something if it made sense. Not that I've never believed in some stupid shit myself, of course I have, but over time, and with formal education, my ability to question, and my preparedness to accept that I'm wrong, have improved.

My thinking about education is that kids should be exposed to learning from the start. They should be taught to become self-sufficient as soon as they demonstrate an interest in doing something for themselves. They should be read to as much as possible, and every outing, even if just to play with a ball in the park, should be a learning opportunity.

Once they go to formal school, it shouldn't be a matter of passing exams but once they've been taught to read and write and to manipulate numbers, they should be encouraged to explore the subjects that interest them. While I get that kids should be encouraged to learn languages other than their own, or be taught the basics of mathematics at least, I see no point in making someone who is gifted at sport, for example, spend years of their lives studying poetry. I use poetry as an example because it was always a problem for me at school, and still is. I can't write it, or even read it, unless it's put to music.

So I'd sit through literature classes, staring out of the window while the teacher rattled on about the mechanics of the work contained in the books of poetry I was forced to study, and subsequently, I failed every poetry exam I ever wrote.

The same goes for essay writing. I've never been able to write fiction, but at school, they insisted that we had to do "creative" writing, and I failed at it. Hopelessly.

This made the study of language extremely difficult for me, even though I was fluent in English, and could construct grammatically correct prose, I was never able to dissect a piece of fiction into parts of grammar or explain the motives of the characters.

Had I been allowed to study English or any other language, purely from a technical point of view, and been allowed to write research work for the language accreditation I would've done well. I did this when I did English at university level. One of my second year courses was on Jane Austen's work, not from the point of view of the stories, although I finally got them once I'd watched the movies, it was more about the technical aspects of her life, times, and her writing, stuff I could research, so I did well.

I was also forced to learn Afrikaans at school. Again, it was fine as long as I was merely learning the language, but then they started with the fiction-writing and poetry business again. I did well in my final year with this one, because the book I had to read was a work of historical fact about the development of the language from settlers coming from Europe to the place it is today. That was great. I could research it, and write about it.

This is what I mean when I say that kids should be allowed to learn what interests them, and if poetry, or trigonometry doesn't, then why send them on a course towards failure by forcing them to study the thing they can't learn?

Our education systems all fail from this point of view. We make kids into drones: they are taught the basics and then given subject options that suit the majority of the pupils in the system, without any chance for individual interest, advancement, exploration and so on. I'd like to see people who, for instance are computer-literate by the time they are 10 years old, and able to do amazing work on computers, be allowed to bypass classes in biology or poetry, or all the other "general" subjects that they have to study to get a school-leaving certificate..

I'd also like to see more kids being allowed to go to places of higher learning at younger ages, or being allowed to leave school altogether if they have an interest in some sort of manual labour. Hell, if a boy, or girl, wants to be a horticulturist or a horse trainer, and they're only 13 years old, why should they be forced to go to school to learn poetry, or algebra?
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