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Changing Education Paradigms
Old 01-20-2011, 01:32 PM   #1
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Changing Education Paradigms

I was going to put it in this thread: Should the retirement age be lower, not higher?

But in the end decided it could stand on its own. It is over 11 minutes long but like all Sir Ken Robinson's stuff it will seem much, much shorter.

On the economics and opportunity of education reform:

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Old 01-20-2011, 04:11 PM   #2
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An interesting and often amusing little piece. I'll just comment on one small point, concerning how prohibition of copying is somehow embedded deeply in our enlightenment-industrial education system. It isn't, really. Before retiring, I taught university (often elementary) courses for 40 years, and I always told my students they were welcome to collaborate and copy, provided only that they give full and explicit credit, as one would in a professional journal article. Many did collaborate, and I never had a problem with that policy. There is a prejudice against collaboration, but it is not intrinsic to our education system.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:12 PM   #3
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Thanks! - I finally got to it, yes the 10 minutes goes by quickly. I really like how the drawing pulls you into the subject matter. It doesn't distract, it focuses you (well, at least me).

I'll get to some of the others later. I think he made some very good points. Though I think some standardized testing is essential, how else do we know if kids are getting the basics? But there needs to be time on creative thinking and collaboration.

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Old 01-22-2011, 07:41 AM   #4
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It just brought back flashbacks of how stultifying and excruciatingly boring school was.

I wanted "news I could use". For example, I had no interest in plane geometry or algebra. Until I wanted to learn to fly an airplane.

Had they offered to teach me how to fly/navigate an airplane then I would have been enthusiastic about it. Until then I simply didn't care, it was a waste of time and effort and I did the minimum required.

It was frustrating to teachers, my parents and me. I kept hearing "He's smart enough to do it, he's just not trying." Well of course not! Why should I when I couldn't see any reason to?
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:04 AM   #5
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It just brought back flashbacks of how stultifying and excruciatingly boring school was.

I wanted "news I could use". For example, I had no interest in plane geometry or algebra. Until I wanted to learn to fly an airplane.

Had they offered to teach me how to fly/navigate an airplane then I would have been enthusiastic about it. Until then I simply didn't care, it was a waste of time and effort and I did the minimum required.

It was frustrating to teachers, my parents and me. I kept hearing "He's smart enough to do it, he's just not trying." Well of course not! Why should I when I couldn't see any reason to?

LOL... sounds like me in a way... I made all As in the courses I liked... and either Bs or Cs in the others (being smart allows you to not do much and still do average)....

I will say... the one course that I did make a D was Trig... I was interested in Calculus, but they also made me sign up for Trig... I was not able to 'absorb' Trig and did not do well on the test... I guess you had to read the book and do some problems to learn the subject... I made an A in Calculus...


Junior High was even worse... back then you had to be with everybody else your age (as the video shows)... a friend and I would spend one day a week learning some of the courses.... and then spend the rest of the time until the test playing chess in the back of the class... he won the school math contest... I was second... but BORING.....
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:26 AM   #6
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... I had no interest in plane geometry ...
Classically, the purpose of plane geometry in the curriculum was introducing the axiomatic method. Typically, that is not interesting, at least in the beginning. It's a modern and unfortunate idea that you have to be interested in a thing to learn it.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:35 AM   #7
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Classically, the purpose of plane geometry in the curriculum was introducing the axiomatic method. Typically, that is not interesting, at least in the beginning. It's a modern and unfortunate idea that you have to be interested in a thing to learn it.
You forgot to add "and Get off the lawn."
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:41 AM   #8
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You forgot to add "and Get off the lawn."
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:34 AM   #9
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It just brought back flashbacks of how stultifying and excruciatingly boring school was.

I wanted "news I could use". For example, I had no interest in plane geometry or algebra.
I was a lousy HS student. I think I was bored ~ 90% of the time, which really strikes me as ridiculous because I love to learn. I spend hours each day on the internet, or doing little projects or calculations mostly just to learn and challenge myself. Why couldn't HS tap into that desire? I did force myself to work a little and focus to get on the Honor Roll one semester just to be able to say "there, I did it, I'm not the problem". And I regret all that, it seems like such a wasted opportunity.

One of my DDs struggles with math. I've helped her a lot over the years. They must have spent 4 weeks in Geometry on complementary and supplementary angles and proofs. They'd get to the point of having these big hash mark drawings, and would have to prove that Angle A was related to Angle B. I can see some value in knowing the principles, but it seemed silly to me to spend so much time on it. It just seemed to me there were other things the kids could be learning. And it was boring. And beyond just being exposed to the basic principles, who is going to use this? And if they are, they can then learn it in more detail at that time. Just seemed like such a waste to me.


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Classically, the purpose of plane geometry in the curriculum was introducing the axiomatic method. Typically, that is not interesting, at least in the beginning. It's a modern and unfortunate idea that you have to be interested in a thing to learn it.
Well, I agree that there are things we just need to buck up and do, like 'em or not. But even if we don't like 'em, I think the kids ought to be given some idea of why it's important to learn. I listened to a podcast from the author of the book "Getting to YES", and he made the case that people are far more likely to go along with something if you explain why you want them to do it. That holds true for me, I know.

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Old 01-22-2011, 09:52 AM   #10
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I was generally a good student. I think this was because I enjoyed learning. Practicality was a consideration but not paramount. I still love to learn today. Planning on some educational travel to meld two desires. Still think about some of the geometry I learned in highschool to solve simple everyday puzzles.
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:17 PM   #11
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It just brought back flashbacks of how stultifying and excruciatingly boring school was.
I wanted "news I could use". For example, I had no interest in plane geometry or algebra. Until I wanted to learn to fly an airplane.
Our daughter had to learn logarithms in Kumon. Best practical application I could come up with was using semi-log graph paper to turn exponential functions into straight lines for easier stock-selection analysis. Or for calculating pH of a solution. Or for estimating sonar detection ranges.

She has not been impressed.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:56 PM   #12
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Found it - this expresses my HS sentiments exactly:
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:39 PM   #13
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One of my DDs struggles with math. I've helped her a lot over the years. They must have spent 4 weeks in Geometry on complementary and supplementary angles and proofs. They'd get to the point of having these big hash mark drawings, and would have to prove that Angle A was related to Angle B. I can see some value in knowing the principles, but it seemed silly to me to spend so much time on it. It just seemed to me there were other things the kids could be learning. And it was boring. And beyond just being exposed to the basic principles, who is going to use this? And if they are, they can then learn it in more detail at that time. Just seemed like such a waste to me.
IMO, the most important thing one learns in plane geometry is the discipline of logically working one's way through a problem (i.e. a proof), rather than just trying to see his way through to the answer immediately. Geometry is probably the first time a student faces this approach after years of memorization and recall. Although geometry seems to be tedious, it takes time to hone a patient and disciplined approach to solving problems.

Think about calculus, for example. Ask a student to take the derivative of an equation and he can easily do it. Give him a word problem (e.g. a related-rates problem) and he often struggles.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:43 PM   #14
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Thought provoking.


Education equates to early work. It is a child's version of work. Maybe the problem is they want to FIRE too early.
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:21 PM   #15
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IMO, the most important thing one learns in plane geometry is the discipline of logically working one's way through a problem (i.e. a proof), rather than just trying to see his way through to the answer immediately. Geometry is probably the first time a student faces this approach after years of memorization and recall. Although geometry seems to be tedious, it takes time to hone a patient and disciplined approach to solving problems. ...
Good point. However, I think that is lost on many of the kids. And if they don't see this as a journey, they just get bored and have that 'why do I need to know this?' feeling.

Many kids would get a kick out of solving some sort of puzzle, and that's a similar thing. But it's presented as fun - somehow, the educators need to get the kids more involved and excited about gaining this ' disciplined approach to solving problems'.

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Old 01-23-2011, 05:49 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=FIRE'd@51;1027950]IMO, the most important thing one learns in plane geometry is the discipline of logically working one's way through a problem (i.e. a proof), rather than just trying to see his way through to the answer immediately./QUOTE]

Could do pure logic for the same reason. Not much more palatable initially.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:11 AM   #17
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And if they don't see this as a journey, they just get bored and have that 'why do I need to know this?' feeling.
My sentiments exactly. Still remembering the old "word problems" such as "If a train leaves Boston traveling at 45 mph at 9:00 AM going to Washington, DC and another train leaves Washington, DC at 50 mph headed to Boston at 10:30 AM when will they meet?"

For Pete's sake, Who cares?

Unless, of course, they're going to collide. If so, can I watch?
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:22 AM   #18
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Unless, of course, they're going to collide. If so, can I watch?
There you go. You just made my point.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:59 AM   #19
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My sentiments exactly. Still remembering the old "word problems" such as "If a train leaves Boston traveling at 45 mph at 9:00 AM going to Washington, DC and another train leaves Washington, DC at 50 mph headed to Boston at 10:30 AM when will they meet?"

For Pete's sake, Who cares?

Unless, of course, they're going to collide. If so, can I watch?
That's kind of the Mythbusters approach - provide a little education in the process of blowing things up. It kinda works. Personaly, I think they're far too light on the education part, but it's a step towards what we are talking about.

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Old 01-24-2011, 08:06 AM   #20
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My sentiments exactly. Still remembering the old "word problems" such as "If a train leaves Boston traveling at 45 mph at 9:00 AM going to Washington, DC and another train leaves Washington, DC at 50 mph headed to Boston at 10:30 AM when will they meet?"

For Pete's sake, Who cares?

Unless, of course, they're going to collide. If so, can I watch?
Yep.

Imagine how much more "math interest" would have been created if the problem had been couched in terms of "where should the grandstand be located to get the best view of the collision?"
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