Aside from the loony gun nut Republican running for education chief in Oklahoma, there is a common thread in American education that is troubling: learning should be fun, not hard work. Doing anything well requires a certain amount of hard work and kids striving to be in the upper classes know they must push very hard to gain a spot in the elites but the 'fun' message is destroying the chances of the underclass as they can't figure out they are being conned.
by Bob Geiger | Oct 21 2006 - 11:04am | permalink
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A candidate for state superintendent of education in Oklahoma has proposed a plan to protect schoolchildren from gun-related violence by putting old, thick textbooks under every school desk in the state for students to use in self-defense if a crazed gunman storms their school.
In case you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, yes, the candidate is indeed a Republican.
If you click on that page, you can see the video. The glee with which these morons shoot text books is quite Freudian. Like Nazis at a book burning party, they chuckle as they shoot up books that instruct them on the fine arts of the sciences, math or languages. The mooing of the cows in the background is most appropriate.
One reason why these right wingers don't care about the chaos in Iraq is due to the fact that they believe America's schools are in chaos thanks to young men or older men using guns to terrorize everyone especially cute little girls. So sometimes our schools do resemble Iraq and this is due to the same forces at work: crazed males screaming about abortions or free sex wanting to destroy their victims who are nearly universally female.
By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer Tue Oct 17, 6:53 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Scientists call it the next great discovery, a way to captivate students so much they will spend hours learning on their own. It's the new vision of video games.
The Federation of American Scientists — which typically weighs in on matters of nuclear weaponry and government secrecy — declared Tuesday that video games can redefine education.
Capping a year of study, the group called for federal research into how the addictive pizazz of video games can be converted into serious learning tools for schools.
The theory is that games teach skills that employers want: analytical thinking, team building, multitasking and problem-solving under duress. Unlike humans, the games never lose patience. And they are second nature to many kids.
So, we use games to pop learning into heads. The one major flaw in all this is the whole point of learning things is to learn the most important thing: how to think. How to reason. How to use logic. In other words, activating the forefront of the brain and disciplining it into doing things that don't happen naturally. Rational thinking is the hardest thing on earth to do and even if we fail in this, the attempt at doing this is highly important. Of course, our system hates thinkers so it doesn't surprise me to see them wishing for a systme that will effortlessly and relentlessly program pre-set designs into brains so people become robots.
The analytic training one can achieve within gaming can only be accessed if one has already won the art of analytical thinking. This is a seeming paradox. Namely, if one is forced into various paths by the nature of the game which is set up by a person acting as the 'magician' this means accepting the parameters of the game as a thinking process and thus it doesn't train the mind to think actively since one is reacting to a limited set situation. Namely, even reading books makes the brain captive but it is worse with a game since this taps into the wrong parts of the brain to activate. The wonder of writing is, it didn't 'evolve' as part of the brain but was 'trained into' the brain by dint of learning and this process lies at the roots of our ability to rationalize and think clearly. I hope everyone isn't confused by this, heh.
Learning how to use research tools and how to assemble bits of information so it forms a greater image, the ability to delineate a philosophy and then apply it to the real world is the ulimate form of 'education.' Most of what passes for education is merely skill aggregations leading to a working job making money.
Many philosphers made little or no money. Indeed, this was part of the program: the word 'math' ultimately means 'an old geezer who likes to write down numbers sitting in a hut at a crossroads, begging.' Well, namely, the mathematicians of the deep past were all religious believers in a higher order of things which was expressed by the fact that numbers do all sorts of amazing things on their own and this is a key to understanding not just the universe but has higher magical powers.
A favorite topic here.
They were not rulers but people who lived strict lives devoted to uncovering the secrets of Her Majesty, Nature and the Universe. More akin to prophets and hermits, they lived very austure lives. The famous story of the mathematician and the Indian ruler who asked the mathematician for a prize for figuring out how to tax people (heh), the philospher coyly said to lay a seed on the first square of a chess board and then each successive square, double it.
The end is near infinity, of course, and the king was rather annoyed and amused because the clever mathematician kept his head by reminding the king, he didn't want earthly goods or power, anyway.
WASHINGTON -- Kids who are turned off by math often say they don't enjoy it, they aren't good at it and they see little point in it. Who knew that could be a formula for success?
The nations with the best scores have the least happy, least confident math students, says a study by the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.
Countries reporting higher levels of enjoyment and confidence among math students don't do as well in the subject, the study suggests. The results for the United States hover around the middle of the pack, both in terms of enjoyment and in test scores.
In essence, happiness is overrated, says study author Tom Loveless.
Children in all the countries that best us in technology and science as well as math scores, hate the hard work. Children always hate trying to think hard. Except for a very few who relish this and demand more (er...yes). They toil very hard in many Asian and a few European countries and dislike this effort of course, but they keep on doing it because it is most important to them, collectively. On the other hand, there is little reward in America if one is studious and tries to figure out things. The Zeitgeist here is totally different. Kids want to have fun and they want as little involvement as possible in the process so their important parts of the brain can be used for better things like sex or games.
I remember as a child being annoyed to death by classmates who memorized all sorts of stupid trivia and then they would whine like crazy when asked to memorize simple multiplication tables, for example. I was ostracised for refusing to memorize pop songs and movie star information. But then, I memorized all the important stuff. This earns no status in a school or even outside a school.
For I will note here, there is a huge effort to not memorize or remember salient facts that runs in our culture. The internet helps in retaining information and correcting faulty memories, even the best of us can get confused on exact dates or sequences of events!
But the push to be dumb is very strong. Dumb but clever means one manipulates reality to gain power and glory and being a great mathematician isn't part of that. The math geniuses who cooked up a hedge fund several years ago lost everything and nearly brought down the entire world's currency systems! Kind of like the revenge of the mathematician who asked for just one seed to be doubled on each square of the chess board.
The USA is falling behind the youth of other nations. And this is due 100% to the fact that the youth in other nations work longer and harder at doing things and our lazy system that leans on the idea learning should be fun, is failing us. Learning IS fun but only for queer, wierd, awful children who scare adults and annoy everyone asking questions and bringing up facts everyone wants to ignore.
No wonder all despots kill such people.