Educating a Brave New World about Roman Numerals in the 21st Century

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by danshawen, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Bad idea. Either you can go wide, with a corresponding penalty in terms of a lack of educational depth, or else you can narrow subject areas and differentiate the students (a la BNW) and give students most gifted in subject areas that matter to society greater depth. Something irrelevant needs to go. If not PhysEd, why not something like philosophy? Name one instance in your life where a knowledge of philosophy helped. I can't. Total waste of time, money, and educational resources: Philosophy 1o1.

    The main problem with something like NCLB was that it dumbs down everyone's assessments for the sake of the ones unable to compete, and also punishes school systems when that stupid idea produces poor results. I liked NCLB inclusion provisions for students with physical disabilities, but that's about the only part of NCLB that shined. I actually know the man (Tom Webb) responsible for that part, and he was one of my best mentors when I was a teaching intern.
     
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Or algebra, biology, history, social studies, etc. If relevance to the immediate and identified adult needs of a majority of people is the purge criterion, you'll end up replacing geography with lessons in thumb typing.

    My grandfather lived a long and very successful life as a dairy farmer, putting several children through college and leaving a fine estate for his widow on the proceeds of 360 acres, a couple of dozen Holsteins, some turkeys, some sheep, some ducks and game birds raised under brooding hens, a fair garden, etc etc etc. He oversaw the transition from horses to tractors, hand milking and lanterns to pneumatic milkers and light bulbs.

    Capable guy.

    The school subject he found most helpful in life, and he had a four year college degree, was Latin. That's what he said, and he was serious.

    If you want to teach math well, a good music program and hardcore physical education help a lot (studies show). If you want to teach future doctors, biologists, engineers, and the like, intense study of drawing and painting help a lot. Lawyers very often need algebra, physics, Greek, Latin, statistics - and theater. I wouldn't be surprised if housewife and mother benefitted most from philosophy and poetry. There are no intrinsically irrelevant subjects.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Teaching. I've had to teach for several of the roles I've filled, and understanding basic philosophy helps render information in a manner best accepted by a student.
     
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  7. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    I'd be the first to admit, while you are still learning to read and write, something engaging like philosophy is fine. A broad enough exposure to help students make good life choices would be even better, and my wife, who has been a teacher for the last 30 years, has found the real keys to the kingdom. You make videos about the students you are teaching and let them all learn to read and write ABOUT THEMSELVES. You'd be amazed to see how effective this is, even with the lowest ability students. MUCH Better than philosophy, and also more engaging. Why do you suppose texting is all the rage with our kids? Exploit the gifts nature has given our children to advance their education. But control the ways they may exploit them. Just like search engines are already doing.

    But along with Bloom's taxonomy of cognition and meta cognition, let's also teach the teaching interns the taxonomy of IGNORANCE. I'm dead serious. It's the reason most Harvard graduates get degrees without actually understanding enough science to account for seasonal climate change! These are kids who will be dealing with the regulation of whole industries effecting catastrophic climate change right now!

    What good is it, really, to teach ANYTHING, only to have it ignored as soon as it is assessed?

    Instead of learning Latin, I opted to learn Spanish instead. I don't need to tell you, that was an excellent early choice of mine. Chinese should be made available as an option for today's students, and for more than one good reason.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  8. Jason.Marshall Banned Banned

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    Listen to the man he knows what he is talking about. (excellent statement on texting) hmm... deeper and deeper the rabbit hole goes. Philosophy I like personally but its essentially listening to stories of someone's point of view, but that is probably because I am an artist so I can appreciate the creative capacity of others.
     
  9. Jason.Marshall Banned Banned

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    Just to be clear and setting the record straight Danshawen is in no way "endorsing" any of my opinions or point of views I can just see value in his views I am aware that he is a very grounded individual with much wisdom "the biengs" obviously favour him although he may choose to ignore them.
     
  10. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    I was blessed by having some of the finest high school teachers ever, particularly math and science, followed by a handful instructors so bad in the earliest college lecture courses, I almost gave up. I learned a lot even from the worst ones, mainly serving as bad examples.

    Student evaluations of instructors should have political teeth, both before tenure and to revoke it if appropriate. Whatever works for coaches should go for academics; one losing season is enough pain.
     
  11. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Better yet, how about an education where switching instructors is easy, and can be done on a daily basis, if desired, solely at the student's discretion? That would be the best model of all.
     
  12. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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  13. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Some of the best teachers I've had have been the more unpopular ones.
     
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  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I'm wondering why that is contrasted with "philosophy", rather than presented as an example of how to teach philosophy.

    btw: In my own childhood such a class would have been a misery. But kids vary.

    That is the de facto setup in many undergraduate subjects as taught at large universities - where there might be, say, four profs and twenty TAs available for any student taking freshman calculus in any given year. In my experience it had some benefit for a few students in avoiding personality conflicts or illegible handwriting, but made no sea changes.

    Younger students are not capable of choosing good teachers from an available pool, for themselves - although their assessments of a teacher as "bad" should be registered somehow: kids of age past grade school seem overall pretty good at separating "popular" from "good" in teachers, and I have heard even children in single digit ages talk about a teacher they did not like for some reason as nevertheless a "good teacher", and a "bad teacher" as nevertheless likable.
     
  15. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    One of the biggest problems with education are public sector unions. These union protect bad teachers at the expense of the students and tax payer. The good teacher is treated the same as the bad teacher such that the union way leads toward the downhill path for all. Why work hard if you get the dame for no work. The best get tired of carrying the load that makes the test scores stay up there for the collective.

    I do not think there should be public sector unions, period. The reason is, the employer for all public sector employees is the government. This is the same entity that writes the workplace rules for all. Conceptually, a union should only be needed if the government was corrupt, greedy and could not be trusted. The existence of public sector unions implies the government is corrupt and untrustworthy.

    Private sector unions came about, because the employers were greedy and untrustworthy. These original unions did not appear because the employers were men of character. The same is true of the government. Why is greed and corruption allowed in government leadership, to where employees feel the need to unionize? Is it because politics does not allow the best people to lead? Incompetence in high places can't be trusted?

    If we have corrupt and untrustworthy government, as reflected by the need for unions, to protect people in the government family, doesn't that mean the tax payer needs a union too to protect itself? Corrupt and untrustworthy people do not cherry pick victims but tend to branch out.

    One use of public sector unions is it provides a cover for money laundering back to the corrupt leadership. The unions will get new concessions that cost the tax payer money. This does not come from the employers, directly, but from the tax payer. In turn, the union will kick back some of this money to the leaders who voted for this concession. The math adds up that the tax payer pays the politicians, so the unions get more, and the tax payer gets nothing for their campaign donation. This is why we need a tax payer union.

    If we go back to teacher unions, bad teachers make it cost more while delivering a poor product. A tax payer union should be able to leverage government, like a public sector union, with the laundering leading to a tax cut.
     
  16. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Well, fine. But I never understood how anyone could believe that privatization of education was a solution to corruption.

    NCLB was originally sponsored by Ted Kennedy, and had some good ideas. It got corrupted into a political tool to punish teachers. What party did that? Look at the guy with the bag of money on the right side of the cartoon if you have trouble answering this, girls and boys.

    It wasn't even a hard sell. All he needed to do was promise to use bibles for textbooks, which, coincidentally, his company also prints for copyright-free profit. There are limits to what I would be willing to teach, which is one reason I opted out of education as a second career.

    Ready for that Brave New World yet? Do not confuse this with New World Order. There will be a quiz.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  17. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Not everyone on this forum is American. Not everyone on this forum is familiar with the US systems. It would have been helpful to them if you had
    a) Said what the NCLB was.
    b) Actually said which party "did that" and why you think that is significant.
    c) And as for Ted Kennedy, well we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
     
  18. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    NCLB is "No Child Left Behind", originally spearheaded by Ted Kennedy. Signed into law by G.W. Bush.

    Its best creators were trying to get more inclusion into the American educational system by mandating the teaching of students with physical and "learning" disabilities in classes with "normal" children.

    But the bill was amended with provisions that were punitive both to teachers and to public school systems. AYP (Average Yearly Progress) needed to be documented by school administrators to a faire-thee-well. Many cheated, and are still cheating at the standardized and individualized instruction programs used to implement NCLB.

    NCLB taught our school systems how to cheat. Did we need this? Politicians cheat. With them, its a way of life. The school systems are implementing their own ways to create the educational equivalent of gerrymandering. It isn't supposed to be that way in education, nor is it very bright to give the worst students and their parents the power to punish a teacher or a school system for not living up to their expectations. Federal funding of state operated school systems was jeopardized. Politicians are the ones who made it into a big deal for all the wrong motivations.

    The greatest support for the raft of home schooling and charter schools that followed on the heals of NCLB came from states like Kansas, where they still have a lot of reservations about teaching the theory of evolution, or the germ theory of disease (because those two ideas really go hand-in-hand).

    Is that enough background, for those unfamiliar with what went down?

    To fight back, some states took the initiative to develop Common Core. It tried to take back some curriculum power from the Fed. We are still fighting that one. I think Jeb Bush actually supports CC.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  19. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Thank you. I am confident that background will help lurkers and potential participants learn something more from this thread.

    On an side-issue, I find it interesting that in a country (the UK) where the head of state is also the head of the established religion, where worship is (or certainly was) a routine part of the school day, and where evolution was not taught in any class I attended, that I never had any point at which I doubted the reality of it.
     
  20. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Resistance to vaccinations has the same roots. By denying the theory of evolution, you have no explanation for antibiotic resistant super bugs, so one doubts the germ theory of disease. Next thing you know, trained surgeons no longer wash their hands between operations, like during the American civil war. This cost more lives than bullets.

    Ignorance has a function in intelligence, unless it is taken too far. This is taking it well beyond that reasonable limit. This much ignorance reeks.
     
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Ironically, this thread is a whole succession of rather sophomoric philosophical pronouncements being made by you. Here you are bloviating about what you think is and isn't of value.

    (Is philosophy even taught at the K-12 level? I didn't really encounter it in any detail until I was in a university. Whatever K-12 time, money and resources are devoted to philosophy in public schools in the US is pretty minimal, I'd say.)

    The value of philosophy for more intellectually sophisticated individuals is that it trains them to be more aware of and curious about the fundamental principles implicit in whatever subject they happen to be considering.

    Applied to the physical world, that philosophical impulse gave birth to science.

    'Epistemology' is the theory of knowledge. Philosophically naive people are confident that they know things. Philosophically sophisticated people wonder what knowledge is and how it is acquired. What is the relationship between knowledge and belief? What is the relevance of certainty and doubt to knowledge? How is knowledge related to justification and to evidence? What does revisability mean for knowledge claims?

    What kind of objects can be known? Science assumes that the external world can be known. (Does that mean substantial beings or events?) But what are we to make of knowledge of the past and the future? Many people seem to think that we can know about values. What about knowledge of abstractions, such as numbers, general concepts or the laws of physics? How do we know about minds, about our own and other people's inner states?

    What are the sources of knowledge? Perception, memory, inference and introspection are all familiar, but each presents its own problems. (It was Aristotle's investigations into the nature of inference in his Prior Analytics and Posterior Analytics that mark the historical birth of logic as a subject of study.) And what should we make what of the more controversial sources of knowledge that some people still champion, such as intuition, telepathy, clairvoyance and religious experience?

    Similarly penetrating questions can be asked about just about every academic subject. The whole subject of language is a whole nest of problems. What's up with intensionality (the fact that language is typically about something other than itself)? What is meaning? How do names attach to things? What's up with grammar and deep and surface structure? How is deep structure related to logical form?

    The philosophy of mind raises no end of problems regarding the nature of minds, how minds are known, what the contents of minds are and about what the relationship is between minds and bodies.

    Values are inescapable in real life, and are the subject of intens scrutiny and debate.

    All in all, I'd say that philosophy may well be the deepest, most important (and most fascinating) subject there is.

    Abolishing philosophy departments won't make philosophy go away. It's too deeply entrenched in the assumptions, methodologies and thinking of every other subject. Whenever scientists speak of "the scientific method", assume that there are laws of nature, practice inductive inference, scrawl mathematical heiroglyphs on chalk-boards that they believe are somehow relevant to how things behave in the physical world, or try to make sense of quantum mechanics, they are making philosophical assumptions, whether they know it or not.

    I'm not convinced that it's possible for a human being to think at all without at least implicitly philosophizing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
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  22. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    We differ there. I don't consider philosophizing to be thinking at all. It is playing with words and their meanings, and as far as that goes, I've gotten more useful knowledge and vocabulary from reading a dictionary from A-Z than from anyone's (pick one) views on philosophy. Yes, I once did read an abridged dictionary, cover to cover.

    You cannot understand knowledge nor intelligence without first understanding the taxonomy of ignorance. Understanding the depths of your own ignorance is needed to understand the limits of what you can know, and what is knowable. That's "epistemology", or should be. Show me a philosophy reference that goes there first and it might be worth reading. Otherwise...

    Tether the lighter stones to the heavier one and see if you can make it fall slower, Aristotle. One of the greatest philosophers of all time? Pleaseā€¦ Aesop's fables were more useful.

    The roots of the scientific method, unfortunately, are in superstition, not philosophy. Superstition can and does make theories out of observations (and also unfounded assumptions), and occasionally even tests them by use of trial and error. Just like science does. Oh yes, superstitious folk can be skeptics with a vengeance. This is one reason why it is important to understand where ignorance works. Science, like superstition, would get nowhere if it was unable to ignore theories that didn't work.
     
  23. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    On second thought, I'm OK with philosophy that discusses values, particularly in contrast to absolutes.

    I have been able to make use of that from time to time.
     

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