10 December 2009

Want to Learn? Avoid School!

Most schools do everything but allow kids to experience life. If kids want to learn about what goes on in the real world, they have to go out into the real world, play some role in it, and have that motivate learning. Errors in learning by doing bring out questions, and questions bring out answers.

What kids learn in high school or college is antilearning....The problem is that schools want everyone to be in lockstep: everyone has to learn this on this day and that on that day. School is a wonderful baby-sitter. It lets the parents go to work and keeps the kids from killing each other.

Learning takes place outside of school, not in school, and kids who want to know something have to find out for themselves by asking questions, by finding sources of material, and by discounting anything they learned in school as being irrelevant. _Roger Schank Chapter 9 "ThirdCulture"
I disagree with Dr. Schank about one thing: school is not a wonderful baby-sitter. Kids do indeed kill each other in schools. They also get each other addicted to drugs and delinquency. Kids (often with help from teachers) get each other knocked up, dumbed down, stoned, and socialised into an infantile group psychological neoteny. Kids succeed despite school, when they succeed at all.

University schools of education -- where schoolteachers are trained -- are little more than indoctrination centers for politically correct mind-melting and reagglutination. The average IQ of schoolteachers is less than 110. For African Americans, that is almost 2 standard deviations above the mean for AAs, but for Euro-Americans it is less than 1 standard deviation above the mean for EAs. In other words, a significant number of non-black school children will be more intelligent than most of their teachers -- often much more intelligent.

Government schools spend large sums of money on special education -- educating students with learning deficits and developmental disorders. But these state schools spend very little on educating gifted students, the future innovators and leaders of society.

If one were the parent of a gifted child -- but could not afford to send the child to a private school equipped to provide an accelerated education -- it might be better to give the child a library card and a general "curriculum" for reading, rather than to send them to government school. Of course that isn't practical for very young children, or for children of an age where the parent might be sent to jail for taking that approach.

Such a parent may be forced to send their children to government schools. But they must be prepared to provide extra-curricular compensatory training and guidance in self-directed reading, research, and learning. The real learning will take place away from school.

Most schools are scams of one type or another. Such is true all the way to university graduate levels. Exceptions to that rule would include "hard" engineering, "hard" sciences, medical and dental schools, and a few other fact, skill, and research oriented areas. Law school is half scam and half value, so take it for what it is worth.

A library card and an internet connection can give you far better value, educationally speaking, than most schools. But everyone needs some guidance. "Great Books", "Harvard Classics", etc etc . The brain must be fed some grist for the mill. It needs high value content -- factual and rhetorical.

Practical learning can be a bit harder to come by, although it shouldn't have to be. There is a lot of work to be done in that area by those who want to see a more competent population and workforce.

The Al Fin website provides a "basic reading" section at the top of the sidebar. Almost all links are to online books and papers that are freely available for download. But Al Fin also wants to provide a curriculum of sorts. A variable curriculum that could be plugged into at various points for virtually any stage of life.

We actually do live in an Idiocracy. That needs to be changed.

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Blogger Redneck said...

Pressed for time, so I can only say: "Hear, hear."

Thursday, 10 December, 2009  
Blogger fboness said...

As soon as I read "library card" I had a flashback to the days when I crawled the library.

I didn't know until years later how much of my education had come from the library in independent study.

Thursday, 10 December, 2009  
Blogger -dan said...

The endpoint of the teacher's job is to make himself or herself unnecessary. This can take five minutes or a lifetime. For financial, religious, or ideological reasons, educational institutions attempt to prolong this process, possibly leaving the student's independence permanently stunted.

Socrates recognized this danger and believed it to be a scandalous sign of a bad education.

Thursday, 10 December, 2009  
Blogger Term Papers said...

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Friday, 11 December, 2009  
Blogger Sojka's Call said...

My experience confirms many of your points regarding education. As a young child I read every book in our small town library on the Revolutionary and Civil War along with all the biographies and autobiographies of leading figures at those times. As an 11 year old I probably could have held my own with history PHd's because I was fascinated by those eras and immersed myself completely.

In my own now college age children one is an engineering major and always abhorred history, English, languages, etc. The other child hated the sciences and is now excelling at a Lasallian tradition small university where classroom dialogue and discussion are prized along with studying the classics. She is thriving in that environment and I see her growing in ways she otherwise would not have. As parents, we worked long and hard on their writing skills and only now have they started to come into their own in that regard so I agree that in hindsight they were fortunate to have parents that could provide that guidance.

Friday, 11 December, 2009  

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