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  #26  
Old 07-01-2010, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Beyond that, I think some kids need Calculus and other kids need 17th Century French Literature, but I bet there are very few kids that will end up having a use for both in their adult life. I recommend offering all of them so the student will have a chance to challenge themselves and see what they are interested in or good at. But when the kid reaches that age where they know they just plain aren't into math, it's just cruel to force them to take year after year of algebra, geometry, etc. If they're not good at it, they're not going to go into a field that requires it, and vice versa. In the meantime it just causes fights and bad grades and feelings of failure.
I have a problem with using a utilitarian standard to determine the value and focus of an education. My primary subjects of interest, literature and history, don't exactly lead to piles of jerbs (YOU'RE MAJORING IN WHAT? YOU CAN ALWAYS TEACH LOL) but I loved them throughout formal schooling and I still love them now. Why should going into a field that requires the acquisition of specific knowledge be the determining factor of what you learn?

Cognitive development, exposure to new ideas and ways of seeing, challenging your brain to do things that don't come naturally, all have an intrinsic value, imo, and I think a solid general education should have more of that sort of shit, not less, even if there's no direct relevance to later employment.
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  #27  
Old 07-01-2010, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Beyond that, I think some kids need Calculus and other kids need 17th Century French Literature, but I bet there are very few kids that will end up having a use for both in their adult life. I recommend offering all of them so the student will have a chance to challenge themselves and see what they are interested in or good at. But when the kid reaches that age where they know they just plain aren't into math, it's just cruel to force them to take year after year of algebra, geometry, etc. If they're not good at it, they're not going to go into a field that requires it, and vice versa. In the meantime it just causes fights and bad grades and feelings of failure.
I have a problem with using a utilitarian standard to determine the value and focus of an education. My primary subjects of interest, literature and history, don't exactly lead to piles of jerbs (YOU'RE MAJORING IN WHAT? YOU CAN ALWAYS TEACH LOL) but I loved them throughout formal schooling and I still love them now. Why should going into a field that requires the acquisition of specific knowledge be the determining factor of what you learn?
It shouldn't, except that the question I was answering had to do with what is the baseline education that everybody needs to have. I think anything above and beyond the minimum (in this case, whatever might get you into a jerb) can and would be sought out organically by the student without having it mandated to them by some arbiter of curriculum.
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  #28  
Old 07-01-2010, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Why should going into a field that requires the acquisition of specific knowledge be the determining factor of what you learn?
I think she was arguing against requiring all kids to learn certain specific topics if they have no interest in it and/or it does not serve their interests desires otherwise.

Calculus, for an example in use here, was not a requirement when I went to school, even for the College Prep course of study (we had three diploma programs at my high school). I had no interest in pursuing anything math related, I had no interest in learning calculus, so I didn't take it. Do you think I should have been forced to learn it?
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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It shouldn't, except that the question I was answering had to do with what is the baseline education that everybody needs to have. I think anything above and beyond the minimum (in this case, whatever might get you into a jerb) can and would be sought out organically by the student without having it mandated to them by some arbiter of curriculum.
Okay, so why is the baseline minimum whatever might get you a jerb? Was that stipulated somewheres and I missed it?
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Because of society? :shrug: I'm not the one arguing that we need a baseline in the first place. I actually believe that everybody's education can and should be unique to their interests and abilities.
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  #31  
Old 07-01-2010, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Originally Posted by livius drusus View Post
I have a problem with using a utilitarian standard to determine the value and focus of an education. My primary subjects of interest, literature and history, don't exactly lead to piles of jerbs (YOU'RE MAJORING IN WHAT? YOU CAN ALWAYS TEACH LOL) but I loved them throughout formal schooling and I still love them now. Why should going into a field that requires the acquisition of specific knowledge be the determining factor of what you learn?

Cognitive development, exposure to new ideas and ways of seeing, challenging your brain to do things that don't come naturally, all have an intrinsic value, imo, and I think a solid general education should have more of that sort of shit, not less, even if there's no direct relevance to later employment.
I agree with that, but I think it's a separate issue from that of whether or not there ought to be a baseline standard that everyone gets.

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It shouldn't, except that the question I was answering had to do with what is the baseline education that everybody needs to have. I think anything above and beyond the minimum (in this case, whatever might get you into a jerb) can and would be sought out organically by the student without having it mandated to them by some arbiter of curriculum.
Sometimes, but I think Dragar makes a good point in that, without at least being exposed to different broad areas of study (which is one thing an imposed curriculum usually does, although it's not the only way to do it), many students won't really know what they're interested in.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Being exposed to a subject is entirely different to being required to study it. I'm not about taking away options in the classroom. I'm about adding other options besides the classroom.
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  #33  
Old 07-01-2010, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Originally Posted by ES
"But when the kid reaches that age where they know they just plain aren't into math, it's just cruel to force them to take year after year of algebra, geometry, etc. If they're not good at it, they're not going to go into a field that requires it, and vice versa. In the meantime it just causes fights and bad grades and feelings of failure."
Well, you've still got to stipulate an age for that decision to be made. Sixteen sounds about right to me, but maybe you have a good argument it should be later or earlier...

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Originally Posted by LS
Any kid smart enough to want to study engineering, physics or chemistry in college will have done the 20 minutes of research it takes to figure out what prerequisites are needed get admitted to those programs...
I think we have vastly different opinions of how much forethought even a smart fifteen year old possesses.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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I think she was arguing against requiring all kids to learn certain specific topics if they have no interest in it and/or it does not serve their interests desires otherwise.
Yeah but I still don't get why employment is the standard of what it serves a kid to learn. Kids have no idea how much shit is out there that they might wind up doing, so going by their expectations seems really limiting to me.

As for desires or interests, I think there's value in being forced to learn things you don't like or are not interested in. I would never have discovered how awesome collard pesto is if I hadn't been forced by my produce delivery to confront the heinous green. Besides, even in subjects that you already like you're going to encounter things you don't. I hated To The Lighthouse when I first had to read it in 11th grade. It took me 2 years to really get it and now it's a full-fledged part of my mental lexicon.
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  #35  
Old 07-01-2010, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Doing those things are good for you. Most of us do them voluntarily. If everybody in the society did them, it would be a great society.

Same with eating right and exercising.

But if the state comes in and mandates everybody's diet and exercise routines for the good of the individual and the state, that's a nanny state.
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  #36  
Old 07-01-2010, 08:17 PM
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Yeah but I still don't get why employment is the standard of what it serves a kid to learn. Kids have no idea how much shit is out there that they might wind up doing, so going by their expectations seems really limiting to me.
Don't all kids (and all people really) limit themselves in general though? Nobody can learn about everything there is to learn about.

Quote:
As for desires or interests, I think there's value in being forced to learn things you don't like or are not interested in. I would never have discovered how awesome collard pesto is if I hadn't been forced by my produce delivery to confront the heinous green. Besides, even in subjects that you already like you're going to encounter things you don't. I hated To The Lighthouse when I first had to read it in 11th grade. It took me 2 years to really get it and now it's a full-fledged part of my mental lexicon.
So, knowing that it's not possible to learn about everything there is to learn about, how should the forced subjects to be taught be decided, and by whom?
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  #37  
Old 07-01-2010, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Let me put my cards on the table, rather than just responding. I suspect I am not saying anything particularly contraversial.

I think we should educate our children in as broad a range of stuff - sciences, languages, humanities, etc. - as possible, up to the age of about sixteen. Possibly older. I think that it's important for a huge variety of reasons, including exposing them to as much of human knowledge, history and accomplishment that can possibly be comprehended and taught in that short amount of time. Exactly what is taught isn't that important. It's all good stuff. There probably is some basic level of literacy and numeracy that really should be ensured before they can drop the subject, simply to make sure the child can grow up into someone who can understand our bureaucracy and manage his accounts (or at least do his tax forms). Not everyone should have calculus inflicted on them, but they should be able to add up. Somewhere between those extremes we need to set a line; it's not too important where, though things that have huge sweeping applications (like mathematics) can probably be pushed further than more esoteric subjects (like languages).

At best we might hope they learn to be a critically thinking member of a democracy too.

I think some kids will do better than others, and that's a shame but we shouldn't force them to attain some magical level of competency in any of those things before letting them leave school. We should just do our best. I think some flexibility (but not total) should be brought in to accomodate a child's interests.
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  #38  
Old 07-01-2010, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Doing those things are good for you. Most of us do them voluntarily. If everybody in the society did them, it would be a great society.

Same with eating right and exercising.

But if the state comes in and mandates everybody's diet and exercise routines for the good of the individual and the state, that's a nanny state.
Same with wearing a seat-belt and driving under the speed limit too. I'm not opposed to a little nanny state-ing here and there....
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

I'm not saying it's good or bad. I'm saying it is nanny state. Specifically referring to this:

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In the specific context of the sailing girl, I was mostly reacting to the notion that thinking that a sailing trip is not an acceptable excuse for missing out on part of that curriculum is some kind of overrestrictive European nanny-state thing.
To extend my tortured analogy even further, let's put everybody on the exact same diet, regardless of their tastes in food or whether they prefer ballet or soccer. In fact, everybody has to take ballet and soccer. Absolutely no going off the program to train for a triathlon, because a triathlon is neither ballet nor soccer and the state has mandated that ballet and soccer are adequate for general fitness, and therefore exactly what everybody needs.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

It's usually a term used by people who oppose the notion though.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LS
Any kid smart enough to want to study engineering, physics or chemistry in college will have done the 20 minutes of research it takes to figure out what prerequisites are needed get admitted to those programs...
I think we have vastly different opinions of how much forethought even a smart fifteen year old possesses.
How do fifteen year olds manage to do it in public schools then? At some point all kids have to decide what they want to learn (what classes to take) based on interests, abilities, and goals. This is true for all students, and people, isn't it?
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:24 PM
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Being exposed to a subject is entirely different to being required to study it.
I'd actually argue that being exposed to a subject, the way I'm using the word, anyway, does require some minimum degree of studying it. Until you learn a little bit about some topic, you really have very little idea if it will suit your abilities or interests, and I think it's valuable to "force" children, who largely haven't discovered their own abilities and interests yet, to study enough of a broad range of topics to find out whether or not they are suited to them.


I mean, there's a difference between "History? Eh? Eh?", "No, looks boring." and "Ok, you're going to learn enough history to really tell if it suits you or not."
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LS
Any kid smart enough to want to study engineering, physics or chemistry in college will have done the 20 minutes of research it takes to figure out what prerequisites are needed get admitted to those programs...
I think we have vastly different opinions of how much forethought even a smart fifteen year old possesses.
How do fifteen year olds manage to do it in public schools then? At some point all kids have to decide what they want to learn (what classes to take) based on interests, abilities, and goals. This is true for all students, and people, isn't it?
Yes, but the wheels aren't entirely taken off. At 15, most of the classes you're going to be taken are either prescribed, or required to be chosen from a set of alternatives.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:32 PM
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At 15, most of the classes you're going to be taken are either prescribed, or required to be chosen from a set of alternatives.
Yeah, and those alternatives vary from school to school, country to country etc. and certainly aren't as broad as liv or Dragar seem to be advocating. So again, who should decide?


BTW: excellent discussion guys, very interesting thanks!
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:37 PM
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I mean, there's a difference between "History? Eh? Eh?", "No, looks boring." and "Ok, you're going to learn enough history to really tell if it suits you or not."
Where do you draw the line? To use ES's example, should all kids be forced to learn 10 different sports "to really tell if it suits them"? Eat specific foods? How about foreign languages (often required for college prep students)...should they have to learn 1 language or 2 or 5 or how many to tell which, if any, suits them?
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:44 PM
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At 15, most of the classes you're going to be taken are either prescribed, or required to be chosen from a set of alternatives.
Yeah, and those alternatives vary from school to school, country to country etc. and certainly aren't as broad as liv or Dragar seem to be advocating.
Right. I'm just saying that, to Dragar's point, it's not as though we typically leave it entirely up to the judgment of 15 year olds.

Quote:
So again, who should decide?
Appropriate experts. :tmhappy:

I know it sounds sort of flip but, seriously, I think the decision as to what classes to offer should be made by professional educators who know more than I do about the subject.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Quote:
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Being exposed to a subject is entirely different to being required to study it.
I'd actually argue that being exposed to a subject, the way I'm using the word, anyway, does require some minimum degree of studying it. Until you learn a little bit about some topic, you really have very little idea if it will suit your abilities or interests, and I think it's valuable to "force" children, who largely haven't discovered their own abilities and interests yet, to study enough of a broad range of topics to find out whether or not they are suited to them.


I mean, there's a difference between "History? Eh? Eh?", "No, looks boring." and "Ok, you're going to learn enough history to really tell if it suits you or not."

the only problem with forcing a child to learn something they dont want to is they will not try and if they dont try how will they learn what you are trying to force them to learn?

Some kids will not need to be pressured to learn and that is great, but others will need an extra push but if you push too much and force them to I dont think you will come out with the results you are wanting to obtain.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:49 PM
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Right. I'm just saying that, to Dragar's point, it's not as though we typically leave it up to the judgment of 15 year olds.
Except that we do exactly that, at least wrt to specifically calculus, the original example.

At my high school, we had to choose a vocational course of study, general, or college prep when we were in 9th grade. We had to choose whether to take the ACT, SAT, both or neither when we were 15. Those decisions then led to decisions about after graduation, much of which had to be started while still in school: Do you want to apply to a military academy, if so which one, how many recommendations are required and who will give them to you? 4 year university, where, what do they require? Community College? Scholarships?
Quote:
Appropriate experts. :tmhappy:

I know it sounds sort of flip but, seriously, I think the decision as to what classes to offer should be made by professional educators who know more than I do about the subject.
That would be great if they all agreed, but they don't, so we are back at the beginning
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:54 PM
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Right. I'm just saying that, to Dragar's point, it's not as though we typically leave it up to the judgment of 15 year olds.
Except that we do exactly that, at least wrt to specifically calculus, the original example.
Point taken, with the caveat that I edited the word "entirely" into my post to better express what I was trying to say, but apparently after you had started your response.

I actually started to type, but did not post earlier, about how I was not at all interested in math in school, and would not have taken it at all if it was not required, both in general, and for the AP diploma my mom insisted that I try for. I was never a bit interested in it until I started looking into college and realized that a lot of the courses of study I was interested in (architecture, which I decided against, and programming, which I eventually took) required it, at which point I was glads that the decision to take it hadn't been mine alone.
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  #50  
Old 07-01-2010, 09:01 PM
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until I started looking into college
At what age?
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