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Author Topic: Education and the modern generation  (Read 4959 times)

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Offline Ephiral

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #75 on: May 23, 2013, 05:29:08 PM »
Another issue I see with your approach, Neysha, is that the lines aren't as clear as you seem to think. Where would anthropology be without history, for example? Information theory? Yesterday's philosophy. Epistemology? Today's philosophy. Any proposal that would dismiss the idea of being able to measure how much and how well we know as an unimportant elective is going to turn out shitty scientists. For that matter, while science courses tend to be very good at nurturing curiosity and teaching inquisitiveness, IME teaching independent and critical thought is left to the humanities. I humbly submit that this is pretty important to a strong science program.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 05:31:00 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #76 on: May 23, 2013, 05:57:32 PM »
It's only an elective in that the typical graduation requirements for a US Secondary School is something along the lines of four credits of English (which is fine, people should be able to read, write and speak ideas) but the upper level courses tend to be excuses for straying into the humanities for various reasons when they could be spending that same time learning something more STEMish or of use in an actual job or career field not directly related to that particular humanities subject.

The upper level courses are for people thinking of doing those subjects in college, and should be preparing them for what they will face there. (They don't, really, but they should be.)

Anyway I think you're partly posing a fallacious problem here: the communication and thinking skills learned in basic lit. study or in Humanities more generally are most certainly of use in actual job and career fields outside the Humanities, especially if one is talking about the general knowledge base that comes from secondary work and a bachelor's degree in something like EngLit. All those people don't just go out and become profs, you know; you can find them in Marketing, Fund Development, Communications, Law and various creative and management positions throughout the public and private sectors. (The Arts, by the way, have also more than proven their utility to a similar range of the job market... but it doesn't matter how many studies get done, there will always be someone running their mouth about how the Arts are supposed to be a waste of time...  :P)

I don't know specifically how electives and vocational / STEM education break down in American schools. It could be that some electives could be lost in favor of better mathematical and scientific literacy and I think having a subject stream specifically devoted to learning basic code would be a pretty great idea -- I wish something like that had existed when I was in school -- along with education about personal financial and life skills that isn't a joke.

But I'm not in the least convinced that needs to happen at the expense of basic literacy -- which schools across North America are most certainly failing at right now, students routinely come out of secondary education functionally illiterate -- or, say, at the basic core of historical understanding that Social Studies are meant to provide. (There's a whole complex of basic social touchstones and knowledge about civics that come out of knowing WW2 history, for example, which is why it still looms so large and why it horrifies teachers to encounter students who don't know who Hitler was or when Poland was invaded. That factual ignorance is a proximate indicator of a larger likely ignorance that's way scarier.)

In general the function of high school is not and should not be to stream everybody into vocational colleges and tech fields. That's just one aspect of the job market they'll be going into. If there are electives people are coasting through, the answer is to toughen up those electives or eliminate them; if the existing time isn't enough to teach both humanities and STEM subjects adequately then the length of school days needs looking at. I still don't see any reason to accept the conjecture that the failure of your schools to teach humanities adequately means they should teach them less.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #77 on: May 23, 2013, 05:59:37 PM »
+1 to Ephiral's post above as well.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #78 on: May 23, 2013, 06:19:42 PM »
Okay simple question what good are higher level BS classes if the student is not going to college? I do understand literacy, mathematics to a general level, an understanding of other subjects for general knowledge but you can knock those out in two years of classes to a level sufficient for a working man or woman as an adult. So to me your wasting two years of classes for the most part useless to half the students who may go on for a certification, vocational training or maybe an associates degree but are more often going into the work force out of High School.

Its funny to I have a relative take the GED at 16 and went out bypassing two years of High School going into a two year program and is now a gainfully employed automotive tech at 18 earning over $32,000 a year, once he gets his certifications upgraded he will earn $40,000 likely by 26 a lot more than many college grads with bachelors degrees are getting. And you cannot outsource this work and its in demand and largely recession proof. So why not just educate for two years, let those that want to try for the GED and give them the rest of their education money for two years of additional education at any accredited or similar school or apply it to an apprenticeship. Say 60% of their education costs if that in a  state is $20,000  apply a $12,000 amount to be used by the time they are 19. Then students wanting to get a High School diploma can do that yet as well. Just an idea.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #79 on: May 23, 2013, 06:26:07 PM »
Have you even thought about your own signature text?  You are referring to education that is designed to adjust the individual to society, rather than allowing people to develop to their full potentials.  I guess you must see leisure as a problem.


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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #80 on: May 23, 2013, 06:48:45 PM »
Another issue I see with your approach, Neysha, is that the lines aren't as clear as you seem to think. Where would anthropology be without history, for example? Information theory? Yesterday's philosophy. Epistemology? Today's philosophy. Any proposal that would dismiss the idea of being able to measure how much and how well we know as an unimportant elective is going to turn out shitty scientists. For that matter, while science courses tend to be very good at nurturing curiosity and teaching inquisitiveness, IME teaching independent and critical thought is left to the humanities. I humbly submit that this is pretty important to a strong science program.

*high-fives Ephiral* Perfectly put.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #81 on: May 23, 2013, 07:27:58 PM »
Okay simple question what good are higher level BS classes if the student is not going to college? I do understand literacy, mathematics to a general level, an understanding of other subjects for general knowledge but you can knock those out in two years of classes to a level sufficient for a working man or woman as an adult. So to me your wasting two years of classes for the most part useless to half the students who may go on for a certification, vocational training or maybe an associates degree but are more often going into the work force out of High School.

Its funny to I have a relative take the GED at 16 and went out bypassing two years of High School going into a two year program and is now a gainfully employed automotive tech at 18 earning over $32,000 a year, once he gets his certifications upgraded he will earn $40,000 likely by 26 a lot more than many college grads with bachelors degrees are getting. And you cannot outsource this work and its in demand and largely recession proof. So why not just educate for two years, let those that want to try for the GED and give them the rest of their education money for two years of additional education at any accredited or similar school or apply it to an apprenticeship. Say 60% of their education costs if that in a  state is $20,000  apply a $12,000 amount to be used by the time they are 19. Then students wanting to get a High School diploma can do that yet as well. Just an idea.

...except for the part where voucher systems, essentially what you're suggesting are a) poisonous to real education and b) historically rooted in racism.

Online Neysha

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #82 on: May 23, 2013, 08:05:47 PM »
Another issue I see with your approach, Neysha, is that the lines aren't as clear as you seem to think. Where would anthropology be without history, for example? Information theory? Yesterday's philosophy. Epistemology? Today's philosophy. Any proposal that would dismiss the idea of being able to measure how much and how well we know as an unimportant elective is going to turn out shitty scientists. For that matter, while science courses tend to be very good at nurturing curiosity and teaching inquisitiveness, IME teaching independent and critical thought is left to the humanities. I humbly submit that this is pretty important to a strong science program.

Well any strong students tend to be well rounded regardless from my limited experience. Hence I don't think the talented "honors" students being dismissive of such electives as they typically aren't now. And for the talented students, the context of advances in various STEM fields could find some usefulness. But for the mass of students, and considering the time and resources, I would think a concentration in STEM type fields would be ultimately preferable to Humanities, at least when it comes to those who are college bound. And for colleges and premier secondary schools I suppose, those courses you've stated would be excellent for fleshing out a strong science program. Definitely love to see them encouraged in lieu of less related Humanities electives.

Okay simple question what good are higher level BS classes if the student is not going to college? I do understand literacy, mathematics to a general level, an understanding of other subjects for general knowledge but you can knock those out in two years of classes to a level sufficient for a working man or woman as an adult. So to me your wasting two years of classes for the most part useless to half the students who may go on for a certification, vocational training or maybe an associates degree but are more often going into the work force out of High School.

Its funny to I have a relative take the GED at 16 and went out bypassing two years of High School going into a two year program and is now a gainfully employed automotive tech at 18 earning over $32,000 a year, once he gets his certifications upgraded he will earn $40,000 likely by 26 a lot more than many college grads with bachelors degrees are getting. And you cannot outsource this work and its in demand and largely recession proof. So why not just educate for two years, let those that want to try for the GED and give them the rest of their education money for two years of additional education at any accredited or similar school or apply it to an apprenticeship. Say 60% of their education costs if that in a  state is $20,000  apply a $12,000 amount to be used by the time they are 19. Then students wanting to get a High School diploma can do that yet as well. Just an idea.

Sounds like a good idea to me if it works generally as you laid out. We need more skill technicians and the like. Auto mechanics. Plumbers. Carpenters. Other assorted handyman style work and contracting. Even just general education in DIY type technical projects. Especially for those that might not be inclined to go into the STEM fields, which is a lot of people, and might not be prepared for the rigors of pursuing a narrower slice of employment options by going into some of the Humanities fields. A lot of people who go to college but end up underemployed after graduation or not graduating at all from a four year school, or even a smaller college, might've found they could've have a better investment of time and money going into a program like you are suggesting.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #83 on: May 23, 2013, 08:37:09 PM »
Well any strong students tend to be well rounded regardless from my limited experience. Hence I don't think the talented "honors" students being dismissive of such electives as they typically aren't now. And for the talented students, the context of advances in various STEM fields could find some usefulness. But for the mass of students, and considering the time and resources, I would think a concentration in STEM type fields would be ultimately preferable to Humanities, at least when it comes to those who are college bound. And for colleges and premier secondary schools I suppose, those courses you've stated would be excellent for fleshing out a strong science program. Definitely love to see them encouraged in lieu of less related Humanities electives.

So... what I'm hearing here is "Yeah, that'll make the standards completely crap at accompishing their purpose (ie, more students graduating ready to pursue STEM-related goals), but if people can't overachieve, to hell with them." This is... not promising.

And again: Your proposal throws epistemology by the wayside. Exactly how do you plan on a robust science program that doesn't have foundational studies in that?

Online Neysha

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #84 on: May 23, 2013, 09:18:55 PM »
So... what I'm hearing here is "Yeah, that'll make the standards completely crap at accompishing their purpose (ie, more students graduating ready to pursue STEM-related goals), but if people can't overachieve, to hell with them." This is... not promising.

I don't recall saying that. *checks* Nope I didn't. Whew...

Quote
And again: Your proposal throws epistemology by the wayside. Exactly how do you plan on a robust science program that doesn't have foundational studies in that?

I don't recall stating that either. Unless stating that "those courses would be excellent for fleshing out a strong science program" is somehow interpreted to also stating "Your proposal throws epistemology by the wayside."
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 09:21:13 PM by Neysha »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #85 on: May 23, 2013, 09:59:30 PM »
I don't recall saying that. *checks* Nope I didn't. Whew...
Well any strong students tend to be well rounded regardless from my limited experience. Hence I don't think the talented "honors" students being dismissive of such electives as they typically aren't now.

Seems to me that you're saying that these "electives" will be taken by some students, but not most. Given that, as I pointed out, some of them are foundational to a strong science program, this seems like a very poor way to achieve your goal of strong STEM education. Hence my read.

I don't recall stating that either. Unless stating that "those courses would be excellent for fleshing out a strong science program" is somehow interpreted to also stating "Your proposal throws epistemology by the wayside."
So you haven't been dismissive of the overwhelming majority of humanities, explicitly including philosophy?

I think, perhaps, there is confusion about what you class as 'Humanities'.  Traditionally, the humanities include ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theater. The humanities that are also sometimes regarded as social sciences include history, anthropology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies, law and linguistics.
Well I prefer using "Humanities" as a broad term as opposed to "Ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts, music and theater, history, anthropology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies, law and linguistics etc except on a base level of the previously bolded subjects and others as de-emphasized electives."

;)

I apologize for any confusion. :)

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #86 on: May 23, 2013, 10:10:20 PM »
Quote from: Ephiral
And again: Your proposal throws epistemology by the wayside. Exactly how do you plan on a robust science program that doesn't have foundational studies in that?

I don't recall stating that either. Unless stating that "those courses would be excellent for fleshing out a strong science program" is somehow interpreted to also stating "Your proposal throws epistemology by the wayside."

Experiments or statistics often do not prove one, and only one, proposed statement as fact, if they are not judged critically and discussed within some particular methods - and any science, hard or soft, is likely to have several sets of methods operating within it at the same time, or over the course of let's say fifty years. Some of those methods may be, or can appear, contradictory vs each other. To really produce some sort of certain and useful results, methods are needed, and secondary education textbooks by themselves are not big on explaining the fine points of method and how they relate to the actual research in nature, in the library or the lab - it's methods of understanding how to solve a scientifc question we're talking of, how to formulate questions rigorously, translate them to valid experiments and judge the results, not just the hands-on skills of learning how to set up the right gadgets in the right way to get the right results.

So experiments have a limited ability to prove things in and of themselves, unless they are put inside a reasoning that includes, like, how to acquire and formulate knowledge, questions or hypotheses (epistemology). Experiments don't simply pole science straight into the bedrock of plain natural facts and leave the outcome standing there as incontrovertible pillars of fact. That's how it's sold to junior students and in many popular books, but most serious researchers know it's not that simple.

Both students and researchers are busy though, often stressed, so if students in a natural science are supposed to learn that these things matter, they have to acquire some grasp of critical thinking and of understanding of how and why knowledge evolves. And learn it in a way that's not just a back-written celebratory story portraying every advance in science as the obvious solution that everyone who was around at the time should have understood straight off.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 10:25:09 PM by gaggedLouise »

Online Neysha

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #87 on: May 23, 2013, 11:01:53 PM »
Seems to me that you're saying that these "electives" will be taken by some students, but not most. Given that, as I pointed out, some of them are foundational to a strong science program, this seems like a very poor way to achieve your goal of strong STEM education. Hence my read.

They're elective. Students can elect to take them or not IMHO. I'd prefer a core curriculum more focused on what I've stated a half dozen times before.

Quote
So you haven't been dismissive of the overwhelming majority of humanities, explicitly including philosophy?

No I haven't.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #88 on: May 23, 2013, 11:33:14 PM »
Humanities can still be there, but as a far less emphasized elective. With the proliferation of information on the internet and libraries and books and other media, people can be free to educate or delude themselves as needbe. They're doing a wonderful job of doing so in spite of, or perhaps due to an over emphasis on humanities in schooling already and are willing to invest thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into pursuing degrees in somewhat self replicating degree fields. (where the main outlet of pursuing a subject of study is teaching said subject)

But yes, I do find possessing anything more then a basic knowledge of most humanities to be rather disposable unless its in a field one is pursuing or a hobby or passion or something they themselves choose to make an investment in.

Civics would be covered, as I stated in my original 'diagnoses.' But I don't see any particular need for expansion of the core curriculum into humanities. They can still exist as electives, both in Secondary School and in College so if people want to invest their time and money into it, they should feel free. But again, I would much prefer an emphasis on a core of STEM + Personal Finances (since many people seem woefully ill equipped at managing money) and as stated before, Grammar/English so they can communicate their ideas effectively.

So. Humanities are disposable, in favour of STEM fields, and should be a de-emphasized elective, or just picked up on the internet. Philosophy is one of the fields you explicitly stated fell into your (rather odd) definition of 'humanities'. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy. But you're not saying that epistemology is disposable? Please explain.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #89 on: May 23, 2013, 11:57:56 PM »
Just to add some emphasis:

Quote from: Neysha
an over emphasis on humanities in schooling already and are willing to invest thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into pursuing degrees in somewhat self replicating degree fields. (where the main outlet of pursuing a subject of study is teaching said subject)

I don't know what dismissiveness is if this isn't it. (It's also fairly ignorant of how Humanities degree fields actually work in the job market, as I pointed out earlier.)

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #90 on: May 24, 2013, 06:42:35 AM »
So. Humanities are disposable, in favour of STEM fields, and should be a de-emphasized elective, or just picked up on the internet. Philosophy is one of the fields you explicitly stated fell into your (rather odd) definition of 'humanities'. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy. But you're not saying that epistemology is disposable? Please explain.

Okay...

I don't recall saying that. *checks* Nope I didn't. Whew...

I don't recall stating that either. Unless stating that "those courses would be excellent for fleshing out a strong science program" is somehow interpreted to also stating "Your proposal throws epistemology by the wayside."

Just to add some emphasis:

I don't know what dismissiveness is if this isn't it.

I'm extremely impressed that you're able to ignore everything I've stated up to this point and snip it down to one sentence and be capable of managing a response. You'll have a bright future at Fox News.  :P
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 06:46:57 AM by Neysha »

Offline Trieste

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #91 on: May 24, 2013, 08:44:32 AM »
I'm in a STEM field. Philosophy is an integral part of my field. If someone were to say that philosophy is useless or shouldn't be taught to STEM students, it would be a very ignorant thing to say.

Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #92 on: May 24, 2013, 08:49:04 AM »
Sir Isaac Newton - the fellow invented Calculus - would have  flatly rejected the idea that Philosophy had no important part in his own education.  Well...Maybe he would not have, because it would not have occurred to him that it was needful to even address the point.
 

Offline Trieste

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #93 on: May 24, 2013, 08:53:46 AM »
I could have sworn they told me calculus was invented in the Middle East during their golden age (during the European dark ages, no less). I've always had this grudge against some nameless guy from back-when Arabia. Now you're telling me I have to stab effigies of Isaac Newton, too?!

* Trieste will never forgive calculus. Nevar!

Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #94 on: May 24, 2013, 09:04:32 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculus

Has a good overview of the origins.  The Indians (subcontinent) have a much stronger claim to developing the early components that Newton codified into calculus in the modern form.  So do the Greeks, particularly Archimedes.


Now, Algebra(an arab word)?  That is very much on the Arabs. That may be what you were remembering, Trieste.

edited for typos.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 09:12:29 AM by Healergirl »

Offline Trieste

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #95 on: May 24, 2013, 09:10:46 AM »
Could be conflating the two. But I like algebra, so I'm going to have to stop stabbing those effigies now, I guess, if they actually invented algebra and not calculus. I mean I know calculus is supposed to just be advanced algebra but fuck that noise. >.>

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #96 on: May 24, 2013, 09:12:09 AM »
The Arabic nations did have a very advanced grasp of mathematics (the word 'algebra' comes from the Arabic 'al-jabr', meaning 'restoration')  As for calculus, however, I think your teachers may have been referring to Madhava of Sangamagrama who was from India.  Isaac Newton gave calculus more applied usage in his work in physics.  (I once took a class in physics that was done for the person who hadn't yet taken calculus.  It was horribly clunky.  When you know the math behind how position over time relates to velocity, and velocity over time relates to acceleration, it all fits neatly together.)

Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #97 on: May 24, 2013, 09:14:11 AM »
What Oniya said.

And I share trieste's distaste for calculus.  god, I was miserable that semester, all I needed or could stand of the thing.

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #98 on: May 24, 2013, 09:16:58 AM »
And as for astronomy, early medieval Persians (and maybe Indian astronomers before them) seem to have been the first to notice the patch of dim light in Andromeda that we now know is the neighbour of the Milky Way, the closest big galaxy, excluding the small satellite galaxies of our own. The ancient Greeks didn't notice it, although they had plenty of astronomers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy#Observation_history

Offline Oniya

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #99 on: May 24, 2013, 09:22:29 AM »
What Oniya said.

And I share trieste's distaste for calculus.  god, I was miserable that semester, all I needed or could stand of the thing.

*wibbles*  My only problem was that I'd had that semester at the end of 11th grade - my entire first semester as a college frosh was review!

(This is why I feel so bad for the little Oni this year.  :( )