Monday, August 31, 2009

Education Needs to Be Turned on Its Head

Education Needs to Be Turned on Its Head: "Traditionally, schools use this model:

1. Decide on what kids need to know to prepare them for adulthood.
2. Prepare a curriculum based on this.
3. Give students a schedule based on this curriculum.
4. Have educated teachers hand them the info they need, and drill them in skills.
5. The student reads, memorizes the info, learns the skills, and becomes prepared.
6. Students must follow all rules or be punished. This is actually more important than the info and skills, although it’s never said that way.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a great model. Mostly because it’s based on the idea that there is a small group of people in authority, who will tell you what to do and what you need to know, and you must follow this obediently, like robots. And you must not think for yourself, or try to do what you want to do. This will be met with severe punishment."

Yeah, that's about right.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Joel Klein vs. New York City teachers : The New Yorker

Joel Klein vs. New York City teachers : The New Yorker: "“Children are fragile. Handle with care.” It’s a June morning, and there are fifteen people in the room, four of them fast asleep, their heads lying on a card table. Three are playing a board game. Most of the others stand around chatting. Two are arguing over one of the folding chairs. But there are no children here. The inhabitants are all New York City schoolteachers who have been sent to what is officially called a Temporary Reassignment Center but which everyone calls the Rubber Room."


ht kottke

Seth's Blog: Competing with the singleminded

Seth's Blog: Competing with the singleminded: "I was talking with a few executives from one of the biggest technology companies in Europe, and they were explaining how their hands were tied in moving forward on the internet. They were doing the best they could under the circumstances, of course, but there were units in their organization that needed to be protected, prices that needed to be supported, sacred cows that couldn't be touched. After all, they argued, how could they wipe out their current business just to succeed online?"

Ohh, that sounds familiar.

Presentation Zen: Dan Pink: Rethinking the ideology of carrots and sticks

Presentation Zen: Dan Pink: Rethinking the ideology of carrots and sticks: "We don't need sweeter carrots and sharper sticks, Dan says. We need a whole new approach, an approach that puts more stock in intrinsic motivation. Dan identifies three elements that comprise a new way of thinking about management:

Autonomy: The urge to direct our own lives.
Mastery: The desire to get better at something that matters.
Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves."

A cool presentation. "Punished By Rewards" talked about this years ago and hardly anyone learned from that. I have to wonder if people don't want to learn.

see also johnniemoore

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Research Examines How Career Dreams Die

New Research Examines How Career Dreams Die: "Still, Carroll said he doesn't often use what he knows to bring these students back to reality.
'I'm very cautious about using what I know with students,' he said. 'You're dealing with people's dreams and hopes, and with that awareness comes great responsibility.
'The dreams of who you could become are a very important part of how you define yourself, yet they are very vulnerable given that they exist only in our mind's eye as the best possible guesses from current evidence of what we could become in the future,' he said. 'We need to learn more about how those career dreams are constructed and revised.'"

Go find yourself.

Yeah, that's great advice. Not.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oxytocin != oxycontin

Oxytocin != oxycontin

Bwahhahahahahaha! I needed that.

Do Americans Care about British Soldiers?

Do Americans Care about British Soldiers?: "Three Air Force aircraft along with multiple aircrew, aeromedical evacuation teams, and agencies from around the world gave a British soldier a fighting chance at life in late July after the soldier sustained multiple gunshot wounds and had his blood supply replaced more than 10 times at a military hospital in Afghanistan."

Yeah, that's about right.

and we're supposed to be the bad guys. Oh wait the left doesn't talk about the war anymore. I wonder why.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Why Are Schools So Ineffective?

Schools in general are just not very effective at imparting real learning to their students. If we are looking to create a bunch of good little worker drones for busyness jobs then they doing pretty good, too bad that those kinds of jobs are pretty much gone, exported to India, and China.

Is that was we need? of course not. You look at what Ken Robinson had to say about the effectiveness of schools.

So I was reading up some on the wars that are going on and I run across this critique of the Iraqi Army and I was struck by how much it sounds like our school system.

Loyalty is to one's group, not the nation.
Improvisation and innovation is generally discouraged.
Units are purposely kept from working together or training on a large scale.
Arab officers often do not trust each other.
[V]alue and prestige of an individual is based not on what he can teach, but on what he knows that no one else knows.
Better for everyone to fail together than for competition to be allowed, even if it eventually benefits everyone.
Leadership is given little attention as officers are assumed to know this by virtue of their social status as officers.
Initiative is considered a dangerous trait.

Does that sound at all familiar?

And then I read Seth's take on education,
Imagine a school that's built around free, abundant learning. And compare it to one that's focused on scarce, expensive schooling. Or dream up your own combination.

Schools are all levels are going to change and change a lot. It is also reminiscent of what is happening to newspapers. I hope they don't try following that path.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Is Your “Elephant Tether”? | Free Newsletter

What Is Your “Elephant Tether”? | Free Newsletter: "Did you know that elephants are trained to stay where they are by tying a rope around one of their massive legs and attaching it to a peg in the ground? Can the peg and rope really hold back an elephant? Absolutely not!"


Monday, August 10, 2009

The disconnect of teaching and socialization

By Sarah Fine -- Why I Left Teaching Behind: "But there is more to those numbers than 'burnout.' That term is shorthand for a suite of factors that contributed to my choice to leave the classroom. When I talk about the long hours, for example, what I mean is that, over the course of four years, my school's administration steadily expanded the workload and workday while barely adjusting salaries. More and more major decisions were made behind closed doors, and more and more teachers felt micromanaged rather than supported. One afternoon this spring, when my often apathetic 10th-graders were walking eagerly around the room as part of a writing assignment, an administrator came in and ordered me to get the class 'seated and silent.' It took everything I had to hold back my tears of frustration."

Is it not clear enough that schooling and education are not the same thing and have no business being discussed together?

Schooling, particularly public schooling, is all about "being seated and silent." It is all about creating worker drones. Socialization, the only objection people raise to homeschooling, is not practiced in schools. Schools have evolved to completely smother the creative spark that all of us have.

Even if you are good at something they care about they suck the life out of it so even if you are good at it you can no longer find joy in doing it. How stupid and sad is that?

Get your kids out. and just realize that they will never make good worker drones, train them to be a business owner, an entrepreneur or maker of something. That may be the only way they can become happy, truly happy doing what they are best at.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Colorado Cares – Broomfield Cares > Nonprofit > Stories > Broomfield >

Colorado Cares – Broomfield Cares > Nonprofit > Stories > Broomfield > "On Saturday, July 25 th over 200 volunteers, from senior citizens to toddlers, combed several miles of trails in the Westlake Village and Broomfield County Commons, picking up trash and cleaning up bordering areas. The project was organized by the Westminster Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with the help of city representatives, under the direction of Kristan Pritz, Broomfield City and CountyDirector of Trails and Open Spaces. The activity was held in conjunction with the annual Colorado Cares Day."

Yeah, that was fun.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

First They Came For...

Book Banning - Megan McArdle: "Apparently, I can forget about that. Congress has apparently outlawed my hobby. Nor is this merely ideological hysteria. I just checked Amazon, and while there are still some old books for sale, it looks as if there are a lot fewer than there used to be."

First they came for the Hedge funds, and I didn't speak up because I I believed that the economy would stop if they didn't do something, but the money didn't do anything.
Then they came for the insurance companies, and I didn't speak up because I was told if they went down the economy would crash, but the money went overseas.
Then they came for the banks, and I called my congress people to say "no", but they didn't listen.
Then they came for the car companies, and I called them again and they still voted for it.
They are coming for our books.
They are coming for our medical core.
They are coming for our energy.

I still speaking up but they are ignoring me, they are ignoring you, they are no longer representing us.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Playing with Fire - Lapham’s Quarterly

Playing with Fire - Lapham’s Quarterly: "Students don’t go to school to acquire the wisdom of Solomon. They go to school to acquire a cash value and improve their lot, to pick up the keys to the kingdom stocked with the treasures to be found in a BMW showroom or an Arizona golf resort. Their education bears comparison to the procedure for changing caterpillars into silkworms just prior to their transformation into adult moths. Silkworms can be turned to a profit; moths blow around in the wind, and add nothing to the wealth of the corporation or the power of the state."

So very true, especially when you read stories like this. Sad, Oh, Yes but sadly not unexpected.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Simple Dollar Putting the Strength of Weak Ties to Work

The Simple Dollar Putting the Strength of Weak Ties to Work: "Here’s what you do. Go to such meetings and get involved. Get over your stage fright and offer to present. Attend talks and presentations that are in your wheelhouse, pay attention, and ask questions that are interesting and potentially useful to others in the room."

I have never found this to actually happen. Often my questions are totally misinterpreted, i.e. they talk for 20 minutes about something only tangentially unrelated to the question I asked.

I've been trying to get a Readiness Fair together for my church and it was just cancelled for the third time. It is now just going to be a half hour presentation split between the canning lady, the Ham radio guy and myself, but we'll make it work.

Sometimes it is just hard to deal with the meeting where no one wants to make a decision. I hate those meetings and they happen all the time. I toss ideas on the table just to make something happen, often those ideas are not all that good but we often end up with something that works. Sadly, a lot of those things die on the vine anyway since on one is willing to in charge especially not the managers. Oh, well.