The Great Connections Seminar

The Great Connections Seminar
Discussing ethics

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crumbling Higher Education Structure

And here's another article that speaks to the creative destruction going on in higher ed from The New Republic, "The Higher Education Monopoly is Crumbling as We Speak."

As my colleague Shawn Klein said, " I think this article makes the same mistake that so many takes on the higher Ed bubble make. Education is not merely about job training or even academic achievement. It is about learning how to be an independent, critical learner. Information can, does, and will come from many different sources, but it will only really be fruitful for those who have learned how to rationally integrate and digest the information and thereby make it knowledge."

The $64,000 question is: what are the best ways for students to learn how to think and learn well?


joe ehlers said...

Education systems are greatly detached from what we need in humanity to advance society effectively. It all starts as a young child in kindergarden or even back to preschool. At such young ages the human mind is still being formulated on how to properly work. the very way our brain works, the subjects we will like, the subjects we will likely be good at, the abilities we will excel at are all greatly imposed at this young age while the brains plasticity is very high. At this young age in modern times, the first subject we teach is English. the very subject that labels all things and provides you with a way of properly expressing ideas to others.
I for one, think this is a terrible idea. When kids go to school nearly all can communicate fairly well with one anouther. So why do we feed them english that will further solidify how they think. Instead after they can communicate begin teaching them subjects that may lack a concreteness at such a young age. Let their brain get used to combining creativity of dragons and wonder of butterflies with the knowledge of science and mathematics. The greatest thing I could find from this type of system is that it plants ideas that may not be fully understood or easily communicated at a young age. It creates a young curious mind to draw inferences about things they are very clueless about. Odds are they will be crazy and incredibly far from what is real but using those nueral connections at a young age will spark them to be used more often throughout life. Teaching things like math and science at a young age is protecting nueral connections that will later in life be widely used for calculus and physics or anatomy; giving us stronger engineers, better doctors, better teachers, and better quality of life.
I believe it was well stated by comedian Louis C.K that when his 4 year old daughter tugs on his pants to tell him a secret its never anything important. not in the big schema of all of humanity. it may be to the child or parent but truely what can a child that young say that their parents never thought, saw, or dreamed of. Thus what does teaching english thoroughly at a young age do for the child, the community, or humanity? why not teach something that will build a better and more preped brain for the future when it matters most and give them a mind that has something to say rather than one that has nothing to say but all the words to say it with.
I'm not saying eliminate english all together. I'll admit i never liked the subject much when taught in school. however, it is very important that we as a whole understand to communicate and make ideas transparent. however, i am saying for a young child to learn math they will grow a bigger and more diverse vocabulary. And for science the brain may become good at visualizing ideas throughout systems of plants and animals. the visuals could make them better readers and a larger spanned vocabulary would mean better more acurate discriptions that they learn through aplication rather than studying flash cards with mom and dad and memorizing definitions to fit with them and hopefully remeber years down the road.

Marsha Familaro Enright said...

I think you're spot-on that we have to really nurture the flexibility and creativity of the young child, that's why I'm so passionate about good Montessori education.

Studies of creativity show that most five year olds not only think they're creative, but they are far, far more creative than grown-ups. We need to be working on ways to nurture and protect their creativity. That's what's going to make for a flourishing future and a way for U.S. citizens to stay on the cutting edge of the labor market.

I get your concern about teaching English in a way that cramps creativity; on the other hand, it's pretty hard to teach anything without language (although, in Montessori lessons, we try to demonstrate more than talk). I think a good grasp of at least one language is important to thinking well. Perhaps an emphasis, not only on the kind of varied subject matter you were talking about (science, mathematics and I'd include history, art, music and many more subjects), plus teaching a second language, would get around the problem you're talking about?

Anonymous said...

Okay. But why was I selected? What now?