Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
We can formulate the underlying worry as a sharp argument against the extreme naturalist claim that all truths are discoverable by hard science. If it is true that all truths are discoverable by hard science, then it is discoverable by hard science that all truths are discoverable by hard science. But it is not discoverable by hard science that all truths are discoverable by hard science. “Are all truths discoverable by hard science?” is not a question of hard science. Therefore the extreme naturalist claim is not true.
But the idea remains the same: they should be able to meet around a problem chosen and defined by their own initiative. Creative, exploratory learning requires peers currently puzzled about the same terms or problems. Large universities make the futile attempt to match them by multiplying their courses, and they generally fail since they are bound to curriculum, course structure, and bureaucratic administration. In schools, including universities, most resources are spent to purchase the time and motivation of a limited number of people to take up predetermined problems in a ritually defined setting. The most radical alternative to school would be a network or service which gave each man the same opportunity to share his current concern with others motivated by the same concern.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Paulo Freire discovered that any adult can begin to read in a matter of forty hours if the first words he deciphers are charged with political meaning. Freire trains his teachers to move into a village and to discover the words which designate current important issues, such as the access to a well or the compound interest on the debts owed to the patron. In the evening the villagers meet for the discussion of these key words. They begin to realize that each word stays on the blackboard even after its sound has faded. The letters continue to unlock reality and to make it manageable as a problem. I have frequently witnessed how discussants grow in social awareness and how they are impelled to take political action as fast as they learn to read. They seem to take reality into their hands as they write it down.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Is it not a pleasure, having learned something, to try it out at due intervals?
For the human mind is capable of being excited without the application of gross and violent stimulants; and he must have a very faint perception of its beauty and dignity who does not know this, and who does not further know, that one being is elevated above another, in proportion as he possesses this capability. It has therefore appeared to me, that to endeavour to produce or enlarge this capability is one of the best services in which, at any period, a Writer can be engaged.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The education of “nontraditional” students has been a subject fraught with cognitive dissonance in America, where much of the discussion surrounding higher education is unduly preoccupied with matters of prestige and exclusivity. In this context, leaders of for-profit colleges have held up their neglected, underserved student populations as a badge of moral seriousness. “What we do is educate people who would never have a shot, thank you very much,” a former Kaplan executive said in a recent Washington Post article. In effect, the for-profit schools have accused their prestigious critics of looking at the world of working-class, adult students and saying, for all intents and purposes, “Let them eat cake.” And despite their many flaws, the for-profits have a point here. That’s why the country needs more institutions like Western Governors— innovative, low-cost schools offering degrees of demonstrable value—that put both the snobs and the profiteers to shame.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Respecting Goodhart’s law: The current focus on testing has tended to make test results the goal of the system, rather than a measure. The change in goal means recognizing that a test is only measure. Using tests as the goal infringes Goodhart’s Law: when measure becomes the goal, it ceases to be an effective measure.
The goal needs to shift from one of making a system that teaches children a curriculum more efficiently to one of making the system more effective by inspiring lifelong learning in students, so that they are able to have full and productive lives in a rapidly shifting economy.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Pre-Writing, Free-Writing, Re-Writing.
I described it to a student on a discussion board like this:
In my mind, there are three stages to writing: pre-writing, free-writing,
and re-writing (they even rhyme). First, collect notes, ideas, thoughts,
scribbles, outlines....a lot junk and stuff. Second, sit down with that material
and hammer out a draft without stopping to think. Just write it all down at once
and don't care about how it sounds or if the "rules" are right. Write so much
that you will have more than enough. Third, after putting it away for awhile,
pull that draft back out and begin cutting out everything that doesn't fit. Cut,
hack, trim, rearrange...keep the best stuff, the essential stuff, the
gold....throw out the ore. Keep the meat, trim the fat.
I find that if I write more than enough, I will increase my percentage of success....If I write 100 pages, I might have 5 awesome pages. If I write only 100 words, I might only have 5 awesome words. It's painful, but true.