OT: What are our schools learning

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snippery

So, what's the Real Purpose of teaching Chemistry? Or Shop? Or Driver's Ed?
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With regard to 'shop', ere's something I wrote as a young teacher some 50 years ago, addressed to 15 year old boys (in the UK education system).
We go to school to become educated people, and it happens that a study of designing and making furniture forms a suitable foundation for the study of design in general and for the formation of ideas of good taste, so cabinet making and other crafts are included in our studies. Let's look for a few moments about some more reasons for including craft experience in the curriculum. Imagine it were possible to keep a human brain suspended in a state of active life, gently pulsating in some kind of super fluid contained in a glass vessel, fed by numerous tubes attached to a battery of pumps connected in turn to an impressive array of dials and flashing lights and other science-fiction effects. No matter what brilliant thoughts this super-brain might conceive, it would be a virtually useless organ unless it could communicate its thoughts by speech or by actions such as writing or drawing or making prototypes of inventions and so on. The ability to use our hands (combined with a practical knowledge of materials is needed to communicate certain kinds of thought, so it is only commonsense that we should learn to use our brains and hands in harmony. People engaged in organising space research, for example, have found out that among brilliant young scientists, those who have not had workshop experience are at a serious disadvantage compared with those who have, because new discoveries depend on the invention and construction of new apparatus, and the scientist without practical training has been unable to give satisfactory instructions to the workshops. In some situations, in fact, the only satisfactory way to work out new ideas is for the scientist to do some of the practical work himself so again; the skilful and practically minded man is at an advantage. Of course, many other professions and occupations not normally regarded as crafts or trades require manual ability in some form or other — few of us would like to place ourselves on the operating table of a clumsy surgeon or in the chair of a ham-fisted dentist!
A second reason for craft education is less obvious; it concerns character training. Now we may strongly object to having our characters ‘got at’, but the kind of person we become affects other people beside ourselves so we must accept this apparent interference; it is intended for our own good. The point is that making things by hand demands perseverance, both mental and physical, and sets standards of accuracy and integrity (a kind of honesty). The simple acts of chiselling or saving wood, for example, demand perseverance when we become tired and our fingers and arms begin to ache (just as perseverance is needed during the last stages of a football match). If we are loosing the match, or the job is not going too well, we need a kind of moral courage to keep at it, or even start again. We also need the ability to resist opportunities for cheating (and there are many, we are not called craftsmen (ie 'crafty men') for nothing;) We might possibly learn that in some situations at least, honesty is the best policy. This insistence on high standards is deliberate. If, as a matter of self-respect, we never permit ourselves to produce anything that is not as good as we can possibly make it, we shall be well on the way to becoming successful and respected people.
Jeff
--
Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
email : Username is amgron
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On Mon, 18 Oct 2010 02:49:54 +0000, Puckdropper wrote:

The odds of someone who knows the field being able to convey that knowledge to someone else is a lot greater than someone who doesn't know the field.
The only problem I've seen, and I've been guilty of it when teaching computer-oriented classes, is that the expert sometimes tends to assume that the novice is aware of some basic concepts just because they're simple to him. Took me a while to figure out what I was doing wrong.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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First rule of instruction:
The mind can absorb what the ass can endure.
First lesson I learned.
Lew
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You mean your "donkey"?
First rule of instruction:
The mind can absorb what the ass can endure.
First lesson I learned.
Lew
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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net says...

A fundamental principle.
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wrote> Dumbing down the system to make

We're at 5.7% while Japan is 3.6%. Check out the scholastic standings. http://www.realonlinedegrees.com/education-rankings-by-country / Who gets the better band for the buck?
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On Sat, 16 Oct 2010 23:56:37 -0400, "Ed Pawlowski"

Hey, the USA is right there next to Elbonia!

Singapore's #1. I guess caning does help after all.
BTW, how much do "real online degrees" cost? <wink>
-- Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly. -- Plutarch
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On Sun, 17 Oct 2010 09:54:42 -0700, Larry Jaques

A lot. State schools are teaching classes online, too. The tuition is the same as those with a real classroom.
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snipped-for-privacy@NOSPAMgmail.com says...

C is supposed to be average. On a proper grading curve 60 percent of the class is supposed to get C or above, and 40 percent D or below.
So that's a _really_ good plan you have.
On the other hand if you got it implemented I suspect that when enough people were jailed you would see the plug pulled on "public education".
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There are those who are already attempting to "pull the plug" on public education... much like those who wanted to privatize Social Security benefits by turning us all into stock market investors.
THAT would have worked out pretty well, wouldn't it?
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snipped-for-privacy@indy.rr.com says...

Who would those be?

In the long term yes. And it beats the Hell out of the current system where everything that social security takes in gets loaned to the government and spent on the promise that the taxpayers will continue to make the payments on the loan.
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On 10/16/2010 06:00 PM, Steve wrote:

Let me think...
Do I want to invest in the markets (which I did) and be able to retire comfortably on the earnings of US and foreign corporations?
or
The much larger amount I and my employer "invested" in SS and Medicare which are returning much less and placing up to $100 trillion of debt on my children, grand-children and great-grand-children?
Not really a tough choice.
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Steve wrote:

Uh, yeah. When I started working the DJIA was about 600. Today, it's over 10,000 (although not as high as it was in the Bush years when I retired).
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And that's EXACTLY the point -- if we'd privitized SS accounts in the stock market during the Bush years, we'd have more retirees today eating dog food, and it wouldn't be Alpo.
There was out-and-out fraud in the markets following financial deregulation as poster-boy Bernie Madoff and the now-unrolling foreclosure crisis amply demonstrate. Those buying housing beyond their means were complicit, however those greedsters who not only enticed them but filed phony paperwork enabling the loans did true evil. They and their kind were lickin' their chops at the prospect of funneling more dollars into derivitives and other such "solid" investments.
But you pays your money and takes your choice, since, ultimately, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.
I figure I'll be working -- or trying to find work -- until the day I go toes up.
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On Sun, 17 Oct 2010 00:06:20 -0400, Steve wrote:

That's the least of the problems. *All* of our economy is a Ponzi scheme depending on an ever growing population. Consider what a static population would do to the demand for housing, transportation, and durable goods.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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That's been true throughout history. The trouble is that success breeds population decline--Japan's running into that now, the US would be fairly soon if not for heavy immigration.
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What static population would mean is that who should be reproducing, aren't.
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snipped-for-privacy@indy.rr.com says...

And who would that be?
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On Sun, 17 Oct 2010 22:03:02 -0400, J. Clarke wrote:

He has a point. The people who worry about big problems usually make better parents than those who don't. But it's the know nothings that continue to breed when the good parents don't.
That's why voluntary population control won't work. If we're going to control it some sort of compulsory scheme would be required. But first we have to decide whether it *should* be controlled. There's arguments on both sides.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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