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Better Learning Methods?

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Better Learning Methods?
Post by DDHv   » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:13 pm

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From: http://personalliberty.com/school-crush ... -learning/

We’re so committed to structured, top-down instruction that we impose it on kids beyond the school day. Young people are relentlessly shuttled from the classroom to enrichment activities to organized sports and back home to play with educational toys or apps when there’s very little evidence that all this effort, time and money results in learning of any real value.

Anyone have comments or questions on this article
:?:
Douglas Hvistendahl
Retired technical nerd

Dumb mistakes are very irritating.
Smart mistakes go on forever
Unless you test your assumptions!
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Re: Better Learning Methods?
Post by Fireflair   » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:33 am

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I'm probably climbing on a bit of a soap box here, but I'll give it a go anyway....

It's a clearly liberal piece with a few salient points that address learning but fail to note many of the aspects of formal education. Additionally it does not offer any firm countervailing techniques to educate children.

I won't hammer the article point by point, but address a few statements that really struck me.

'for heavily structured education, where learning is set apart from the threads that connect it to what has meaning and purpose for the learner.' - It seems the writer has missed the purpose of learning in a heavily structured education. The purpose of learning is to provide meaning and purpose to knowledge for the learner. To provide explanation for the world around them so that they can more fully comprehend what it is they are experiencing.

The writer goes on to discuss how this doesn't focus on a child's interest in a skill or mastery. That part is true, education is designed for the masses. To provide knowledge to most people in a way which they can comprehend and digest. Most people's education is not tailored to their individual interests and personalities. That is expensive and time consuming. The public education system is struggling to teach children as much as it can with the smallest amount of time, materials and effort. That is not possible under a system which would let children hair off after whatever strikes their fancy for the moment.

I do acknowledge and agree that children learn best when they are interested, motivated and engaged. most people learn best at that point. However we cannot do this in a practical manner if you want systematically performed education.

'the top priority in school is completing assignments correctly and scoring well on tests.' - This is a huge complaint of mine. Schools teach to tests and do not educate children nearly as much as they once did. This is due, not primarily to the teachers, but to the government and administrative requirements imposed upon the teachers to meet created standards so that their efforts can be quantified. That said, it is a required part of learning that you be tested on what you know. Without testing, something we go through daily in all facets of our lives if we realize it or not, you have no way to judge your retention and learning. Testing does not need to be a written exam. It can be a practical application of the knowledge, or any other method the teacher can come up with. We cannot allow students to simply say, 'I know this' and move on. Written tests are a convenient and simple method checking for knowledge.

The idea of more active involvement in education is difficult to achieve. I agree that children don't do well sitting in seats and listening to lectures, however the great bulk of what a person learns prior to graduating school, what is considered useful and valuable to society, are things which are best learned in this fashion. Reading, writing, history, mathematics, foreign languages, civics... All courses that you cannot truly engage in constructive activities to learn. yes, there are ways to involve students and engage them in play and activities which help bring home the lessons, but the great bulk of the learning simply requires study.

'Thinking too carefully or deeply may result in the wrong answer. The right answer from a child’s personal perspective may actually be the opposite of the correct answer, but to get a good mark the child cannot be true to his or her experience.' - This sort of mumbo-jumbo is absolutely asinine. There is no personal perspective or being true to his experience when it comes to most of what is taught in school. A word is either spelled correctly or it is not. The same is true for math, history and many many other subjects. When a student is ready to start exploring research and development of science and mathematics, when they are ready to debate law, morality or philosophy, than they may work from their perspective and experience. For children in school they have not attained sufficient life experiences to begin having the correct answers to most knowledge that is being imparted in school.

The follow on comment in the article is about loosing originality. A gain, there is little or no originality required or allowed. You either know when Napoleon crossed the river for the battle or you do not. You do not get to create your own original date for the founding of the United States or recreate what 1+1 is. In classes such as art, philosophy or music you can learn and grow creativity. Developing programing skills or hands on activities in shop classes engages the other side of the mind. There you can be original. But if you try to be 'original' when building a desk without understanding the fundamental requirements of bracing and supporting the structure, you'll be doomed to failure. First you learn how and why to build something in a given way, then you can move on to trying your own methods.

'The way it is presented tends to be indirect, inactive and irrelevant to the child. Schoolwork repeatedly emphasizes skill areas that are lacking rather than building on strengths' - This is a natural part of learning. If you don't know something, why would we skip over it to teach you something you already know? School aged children are there to have skills that are lacking improved. Unfortunately there is not much direct and active learning available for things like history, math and writing skills. You can only write, speak, read, perform math problems repetitively until you understand the concept or have memorized the language. Again, we cannot tailor school for the masses to each child's individual strengths and weaknesses. I would encourage any parent or guardian to hold back their child from advancing to the next grade if they are not ready emotionally or mentally. If your child cannot read at a sixth grade level after leaving sixth grade, find a tutor, hold them back or address the issue some how because this lack will only get worse as time progresses and the rest of the education system moves on without them being able to keep up.

'Young people are relentlessly shuttled from the classroom to enrichment activities to organized sports and back home to play with educational toys or apps when there’s very little evidence that all this effort, time and money results in learning of any real value.' There are a number of studies, I can site sources from major universities to child development groups, which show that educational toys help children learn and be engaged at a young age. Additionally being involved in sports develops physical fitness, social interactions and social skills, but helps to counter balance all the time spent in a chair studying the books.

The difficulty with the article's premise is that it urges copying societal aspects which work in the small group and lower technology levels but not in reverse. If we had unlimited funding for education and could tailor each child's education to their abilities, skills and interests while letting them actively pursue only basic skills than we could let children learn in this fashion. However, we are required to learn the basics, each step building on itself. You do not show a child chaos mathematics and expect him to build a space shuttle at first glance. She must learn the basic steps, baby steps, along the way to each set of tools needed to understand the more advanced ideas and technologies. You learn to read, to write, to add and to subtract. Than you can learn algebra, geometry and calculus... Eventually you understand enough mathematics to begin learning that chaos math which was so interesting.

Until you build the mental tools to build the next set of tools and so forth, you have no more chance of mastering the skills of interest than you do of flying without wings.

I recognize that the system we have can be improved in many ways, I just do not believe that the person who has written this article truly understands what they are advocating. A child turned loose in modern society to 'learn as they're interested' would quickly become a child who does nothing but laze about, a burden on society and not contributing in the least fashion. A gross oversimplification (and I know not all children would end this way, but the majority would, I feel.) of what would happen but a valid result.

For those who wish to try this method, I suggest they relocate to a few of the third world nations where there is no strict form of schooling. Send us a post card on how the effort to educate your child, for them to learn to be of value to society and themselves, works out.
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Re: Better Learning Methods?
Post by Daryl   » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:04 am

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It's not just the facts that kids need to learn, but attitudes. Knowing when Napoleon crossed the river is not as important as knowing how to work in a team, and do what you are told. Facts can be Googled quickly, but a work ethic must be ingrained.
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Re: Better Learning Methods?
Post by Fireflair   » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:48 pm

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Daryl wrote:It's not just the facts that kids need to learn, but attitudes. Knowing when Napoleon crossed the river is not as important as knowing how to work in a team, and do what you are told. Facts can be Googled quickly, but a work ethic must be ingrained.


While I agree that you can look something up quickly, and I support the statement that there is more than knowledge to learn, I think that a point I made early in the tirade was missed. You have to ingrain the knowledge needed to understand the next level of knowledge and so forth. Akin to building the tools to make the tools sort of deal.

If you can look up 1+1, that won't help you understand how using geometry will help you design a building or a bridge. Nor will simply looking up geometry make you skilled in both it's methods and application. You need to know basic math, so you can learn more advanced math, then you apply those more advanced math concepts to resolve the required support for your bridge, etc.

Children need a variety of skills and traits impressed upon them. Work ethic would be one. A sense of responsibility for themselves and their actions would be another good one. Social accountability as well as social skills. These softer traits are not taught directly to most people. One, they're far more difficult to teach than raw knowledge. Two, many of them are learned behaviors from those around us, not information that can be given to us.

My father has a very strong work ethic, for instance. He built his own company from one dump truck and himself to nearly 400 people before he sold the company and retired a few years ago. But his work ethic didn't spring from one source. He learned it from his parents, certainly, but it was built on the forge of his will and drive to succeed. His personal integrity and who knows how many other factors.

You would find it very difficult to teach just one person to have a work ethic and personal drive/ambition half so strong as my father's. Imagine trying to teach a classroom full of children. This is not something one teacher who has 30 students can ever do effectively. the children are learning and developing their personality and character from too many other sources. Primarily (one would hope) their parent's good example, but also from their teachers and family. And to a greater or lesser extant the other children who surround them. Most of whom are outside the sphere of influence of any sort of school environment, making it beyond difficult bordering on impossible for soft skills to be effectively taught in a student environment.
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Re: Better Learning Methods?
Post by umbrarchist   » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:14 pm

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The word 'reality' does not appear in this thread and is only used once in the article:

"The grade becomes more important than reality."

What are we trying to get kids to learn? I built lots of models as a kid, cars, airplanes, ships. And I started reading SF in 4th grade.

Both of these presented 'reality' in a way totally different from what I got in school.

Consider these three words:

Antidisestablishmentarianism

Fission

Fusion

We were given 20 'new' words to learn to spell and use in a sentence every week. We got the first one not the two F words that I recall. But I learned the F words from science fiction.

Now we have a new F word.

Fukushima
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Re: Better Learning Methods?
Post by DDHv   » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:09 pm

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umbrarchist wrote:The word 'reality' does not appear in this thread and is only used once in the article:

"The grade becomes more important than reality."

What are we trying to get kids to learn? I built lots of models as a kid, cars, airplanes, ships. And I started reading SF in 4th grade.

Both of these presented 'reality' in a way totally different from what I got in school.

Consider these three words:

Antidisestablishmentarianism

Fission

Fusion

We were given 20 'new' words to learn to spell and use in a sentence every week. We got the first one not the two F words that I recall. But I learned the F words from science fiction.

Now we have a new F word.

Fukushima

Much of what we learn is outside of schools. If you haven't yet read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," by Robert Kayosaki, I suggest it. And as you read, note the teaching methods used.
:|
Douglas Hvistendahl
Retired technical nerd

Dumb mistakes are very irritating.
Smart mistakes go on forever
Unless you test your assumptions!
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Re: Better Learning Methods?
Post by Imaginos1892   » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:34 pm

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Everything I've found out about Kiyosaki tells me he's a fraud. He claims to be some sort of financial and real-estate guru but in reality all his money came from selling get-rich-quick schemes to suckers. I don't think he's ever made an honest dollar.
-----------
Don't open that!! It's the original can of worms!
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Re: Better Learning Methods?
Post by WeirdlyWired   » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:26 am

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it is ultimately up to parents to educte their children. education does not begin at kindergarten and end at 12th grade (or wherever year) gradution.

Education is not vocational-technical training. The only simile I cn think of is education is a net that catvches ideas and helps us make sense of them. the "better" one's education, the finer the mesh.

This website is a right wing site.
Helas,chou, Je m'en fache.
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Re: Better Learning Methods?
Post by DDHv   » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:43 am

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WeirdlyWired wrote:it is ultimately up to parents to educate their children. education does not begin at kindergarten and end at 12th grade (or wherever year) graduation.

Education is not vocational-technical training. The only simile I can think of is education is a net that catches ideas and helps us make sense of them. the "better" one's education, the finer the mesh.

This website is a right wing site.

I second this
:!:
The Montesorri preschool training method is worth a look. Also, learning should be a lifelong project. Perhaps the most critical thing a parent can do is to teach the children to enjoy learning what they don't know: including testing to see where their current ideas are incorrect
;)
Douglas Hvistendahl
Retired technical nerd

Dumb mistakes are very irritating.
Smart mistakes go on forever
Unless you test your assumptions!
Top
Re: Better Learning Methods?
Post by Tenshinai   » Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:40 pm

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umbrarchist wrote:The word 'reality' does not appear in this thread and is only used once in the article:

"The grade becomes more important than reality."

What are we trying to get kids to learn? I built lots of models as a kid, cars, airplanes, ships. And I started reading SF in 4th grade.

Both of these presented 'reality' in a way totally different from what I got in school.

Consider these three words:

Antidisestablishmentarianism

Fission

Fusion

We were given 20 'new' words to learn to spell and use in a sentence every week. We got the first one not the two F words that I recall. But I learned the F words from science fiction.

Now we have a new F word.

Fukushima


You got the first word because it was meant to get you to learn to spell(and pronounce), and it is a drastically more difficult word to learn.
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