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OurIdeaOfEducationIsFundamentallyWrong

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 4 months ago

Our Idea of Education is Fundamentally Wrong

Jeff's talk based on outline of manifesto in progress.

 

 

  • something's not right
    • "Don't let your schooling interfere with your education." --Mark Twain
    • just get through it
      • As if it was just a game, where you play to finish and anything else is secondary
    • 65% of engineers don't practice engineering after graduating. 17% of Ph.D.'s never work in the field they studied. Roughly 95% of what adults use on a day-to-day basis was learned from experience on the job or before school.
    • "There's a big difference between doing things right, and doing the right thing." --Peter Drucker
      • Ackoff believes that our educational system is set on doing the wrong things right. That is to say, we're becoming more efficient at being less effective.
    • 1991 New York State Teacher of the Year, John Taylor Gatto
      • Compulsory government schooling had nothing to do with education
      • Taught young people to be confused, predictable, dependent members of the economy and social order
    • Are we doing the right thing?
  • why i like history
    • Industrial Revolution
      • Machine Age; mechanistic worldview
      • the universe was believed to be a machine that was created by God to do his work; it was also believed that God created man in his image... it obviously followed that man ought to be creating machines to do his work.
      • educational infrastructure
      • 11+ and academicism
        • grammer schools, secondary modern schools
        • failing the test was like a blood test; it showed whether you were smart or dumb. really only testing for certain abilities requiring certain intelligence
          • sometimes they'd make it harder when there were less schools
    • Prussia
      • Frederick the Great fascinated with machines, dreamed of a mechanical army
      • first modern military: standardization, uniformity, and drill training.
      • "he introduced many reforms that actually served to reduce his soldiers to automata."
      • free and compulsory primary education to indoctrinate social obedience
        • reading, writing and arithmetic, but also ethics, duty and discipline.
        • structure and process from military
      • influenced assembly line factories as well as modern schools
    • Modern schools
      • Heavily influenced by the machine-like efficiency of the assembly line and Prussian military
      • As Peter Senge wrote in Schools That Learn, "The result was an industrial-age school system fashioned in the image of the assembly line, the icon of the booming industrial age. In fact, schools may be the starkest example in modern society of an entire institution modeled after the assembly line. Like any assembly line, the system was organized into discrete stages. Called grades, they segregated children by age. Everyone was supposed to move from stage to stage together. Each stage had local supervisors--the teachers responsible for it. Classes of twenty to forty students met for specified periods in a scheduled day to drill for tests. The whole school was designed to run at a uniform speed, complete with bells and rigid daily time schedules."
      • In Schools That Learn, Senge continues, "Those who did not learn at the speed of the assembly line either fell off or were forced to struggle continually to keep pace. It established uniformity of product and process as norms, thereby naively assuming that all children learn in the same way. It made educators into controllers and inspectors, thereby transforming the traditional mentor-mentee relationship and establishing teacher-centered rather than learner-centered learning. Motivation became the teacher's responsibility rather than the learner's. Discipline became adherence to rules set by the teacher rather than self-discipline. Assessment centered on gaining the teacher's approval rather than objectively gauging one's own capabilities."
      • Successfully made a high-throughput education system, but has drawbacks that are becoming increasingly detrimental
      • Business organizations had a similar conceptual model applied to them during the industrial revolution, but were able to evolve because they exist in a free market.
  • breaking the bank
    • college degrees
      • academic inflation
    • interdependency of globalization, increasing rate of change of the world, driven by technology.
    • continuous flux
    • This means that more and more, we'll be preparing students for jobs and technologies that don't yet exist, to solve problems we don't yet know of.
    • adaptability
      • we have no idea what's going to be needed; what can be learned must be more adaptive
      • industrial age: increasing number of educated, just like assembly line
        • henry ford dissolved problem of production
        • failed to appreciate the implications of this success by not address "what kind"
        • "They can have any color as long as it is black," Ford gave GM the opportunity to eventually dominate the market.
      • achieved a high throughput education system.
        • how much is not a problem.
        • "what kind" can't keep up
        • redesign the system to address the necessary issue of adaptability
    • creativity
      • intelligence is multifaceted; academicism
      • abundance of information. doubling every two years
        • analytically thinking lawyers, doctgors, accountants, engineers, executives, etc
      • a whole new mind
        • 20th century influx of analytical knowledge workers and professsionals creates demand for new level of differentiation
        • information age => conceptual age
          • high concept, high touch creators and empathizers replace knowledge workers, which replaced industrial workers, etc
        • functionality is less of a differentiator
          • youtube had 100 direct competitors in a year
          • pbwiki made one night at a party
          • technology is empowering people to make stuff. the qualitative value becomes important. the experience, the high concept, high touch qualities
          • not the specialty of academic knowledge workers but the creative class where values of design and experience are held strong.
    • unfortunately, adaptability and creativity are the things schools are worst at, both at imparting and having themselves
  • new approaches
    • incremental improvements might yield results, but without an ideal redesign to iterate to, we won't be able to fully dissolve these issues.
    • i think there are fundamental bottom up issues that i would like to address
    • experience
      • "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." --John Dewey
      • how can you prepare students for the real world by denying them access to it?
      • start companies, design community services, run the school, mentorships
      • experience is about making mistakes.
        • learning requires mistakes and failures
        • you never learn anything doing it right, you already know it
        • success if confirmation already know, lucky result of blind experimentation
        • you can only learn from mistakes and correcting them
      • any institution that wants to encourage learning should make a safe environment for making mistakes
        • instead we have testing and grading. mistakes are bad. fail and you're held back.
        • that's not learning, if they wanted you to learn you'd get the test back to correct and learn from your mistakes.
          • tests aren't for learning, they're for grading
      • schools focus more on teaching than they do learning.
        • difference between talking and listening
        • but teaching can be industrialized
      • mistakes are things you do in everyday life, which is why much of what you learn happens outside of school
        • most people don't believe that. they believe, they've been conditioned to believe they must be taught in order to learn.
          • not only do they not fully realize the importance of everyday experiences, they believe they need more post-school education with all the same problems
        • learning from mistakes has to be a conscious decision. you need to know how to learn, but most people don't
    • higher order education
      • "Give a man fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." --Lao Tsu
      • intelligence is multifaceted, dynamic and diverse.
      • most people don't know if they learn better
        • visually or aurally
        • linearly or nonlinearly
        • by exploration or imitation
        • observing or creating
        • narrative or list of facts
      • help students learn how they individually learn best and let them
      • skills to be self-sufficient learners
        • information: show them how to find it
        • experience: show them how to get it
          • apprenticeship or internship
        • understand why: find them somebody who can best explain it
      • teaching
        • "When one teaches, two learn."
        • you can't teach a topic without learning it first
        • "You see, everybody recognizes immediately that teachers are the ones who learn the most. School is absolutely upside down. Students ought to be teaching."
        • network effect
          • why should students be educational sinks when they have the potential to be effective educational value producers
          • Imagine that the tests you take didn't affect your grade, but the grade of another student that taught you. And your grade would come from those that you teach.
        • armed with the ability to learn for themselves in the most effective way, reinforced with the ability and opportunity to teach.
          • If this was the only know-how obtained in school, it would allow students to remain students for life and on their own terms.
    • feeding curiosity with inspiration
      • "Education isn't the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." --WB Yeats
      • once know how, all they need is a reason
      • most people, even children, will learn what they need given enough motivation
      • jt gatto: reading, writing, arithmetic takes less then 100 hrs given proper desire
      • system with sole purpose of inspiration would probably be marginally successful
      • systems thinking book:
        • the function of learning systems as "reinvigorating the ability and desire of the members to satisfy their needs and desires both individually and collectively.
        • desire is equally important responsibility as ability
        • "Ability without desire is impotent, just as desire without ability is sterile."
    • context and systems thinking
      • real world doesn't divide itself up; ww2
      • disciplines/subjects are perspectives
        • most problems are best solved from a diff perspective than found
      • neurosurgery for headache? systems
      • formalized wisdom is systems thinking
        • reductionist method of analysis => systems oriented, context-aware method of synthesis and analysis
        • forward, long-term thinking to effectively change the future; wisdom?
  • An ideal system
    • create an ideal framework for the things above
    • creating the future by design
    • my ideal
      • integrated part of the community
      • available as a lifelong opportunity
      • subsidized by both government and business
      • longterm oriented
        • measure in retrospect
          • quality of life
          • value of schooling
      • varied, an ecosystem
        • best fit the environment
        • to experiment with the process itself
    • designed with teachers, parents, and especially the students
      • West Churchman taught philosophy by having students design inquering systems.
  • Experiments making a difference
    • More with less (ephemeralization, Fuller)
      • Mexico students story
        • better education with 1/3 the budget
        • big city high school students taught a rural area to get free college
        • testing on rural students were just as good as big city student
      • One room schools
        • Jimmy Wales (montessori)
      • Computers
        • Failure of computer aided teaching
        • Success of computer programming
        • computers are the ideal students
    • Democratic
      • Summerhill
      • Sudbury
        • "How can you expect a kid to know what democracy is when for 12+ years they're raised in an autocratic, fascist society?" --DG
    • Home schooling
    • Self-directed, play
      • Waldorf
      • Montessori
        • Jeff Bezos
        • Sergey, Larry
          • 20% time
        • Will Wright
  • rethinking education
    • we're unique in our ability to transmit our collective intelligence through the generations. education is the vehicle for this ability
    • not fixing this will sabotage our ability to compete, devalue what our country stands for
    • more importantly, letting this go will increase the drag on ability to design our future and limit what we're capable of
    • We need to reclaim education as a symbol of learning and adaptability, and once again, if not for once, align our institutions of school with that idea.

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