Henry van Eyken wrote:
> Don't get me going on education, Paul!
> But I am happy to say there are people doing wonderful jobs
> of instructing the young.
Agreed! And I was blessed with learning from several of them myself.
The dedication of many teachers despite obstables is incredible.
For another perspective from the trenches, there is a current Fast
Company article on John Taylor Gatto.
From the lead in on the article:
> Brainpower is more important than
> ever, but education seems more
> backward than ever. John Taylor
> Gatto, an award-winning teacher,
> now aims to overthrow the
> public-school establishment for
> which he worked for 30 years.
I found this sidebar from the article especially interesting:
> John Taylor Gatto's most famous essay may well
> be "The Seven-Lesson School Teacher" ( New
> Society Publishers, 1992 ). In the essay, he
> describes -- with considerable irony -- the real
> lessons that he and other teachers impart to their
> Confusion. Schools attempt to teach too many
> things. And they present most of those things out
> of context, unrelated to everything else that's
> being taught.
> Class position. Students must stay in whatever
> class they're assigned to and must "endure it like
> good sports." From that, they learn how "to envy
> and fear the better classes and how to have
> contempt for the dumb classes."
> Indifference. Children learn not to care about
> anything too much. When the bell rings, they stop
> whatever they've been working on and proceed
> quickly to the next workstation. "They must turn
> on and off like a light switch.... [T]he lesson of
> bells is that no work is worth finishing."
> Emotional dependency. "By stars and red checks,
> smiles and frowns, prizes, honors, and disgraces,"
> kids learn to surrender their will and to depend on
> authority. Intellectual dependency. "Good
> students wait for a teacher to tell them what to
> do." Conformity triumphs, while curiosity has no
> place of importance.
> Provisional self-esteem. Self-respect depends on
> expert opinion, measured down to a single
> percentage point on tests, grades, and report
> cards. Parents would be "surprised how little time
> or reflection goes into making up these
> mathematical records," but the system teaches
> children to measure themselves based on "the
> casual judgment of strangers."
> Conspicuousness. Children are always under
> surveillance, in the classroom and even beyond.
> There are no private spaces for children and no
> private time for them. "Changing classes lasts 300
> seconds to keep promiscuous fraternization at low
> levels." Teachers assign "a type of extended
> schooling called 'homework,' too, so that the
> surveillance travels into private households, where
> students might otherwise use free time to learn
> something unauthorized from a father or a mother
> or by apprenticing to some wise person in the
Perhaps we should consider how Augment and OHS/DKR could play a role in
improving the educational system...
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
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