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What is the purpose of education?

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What is the purpose of education?

Post by Ivan on Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:50 am

“Why, mummy?” “What’s that for, daddy?” How many parents feel like tearing their hair out when confronted by an endless stream of questions from a toddler, yet at the same time knowing they must satisfy the child’s natural curiosity? But what happens to that enquiring mind? How many adults question what's going on around them? Shouldn’t an important purpose of education be to prolong the natural curiosity of the child into adulthood?

I remember two teachers in particular from my schooldays. There was a brutal English teacher, who would hit you if you made the same spelling mistake twice. At least I don’t make many spelling mistakes. On the positive side, I remember a brilliant History teacher who taught you to question everything. He started by giving us the same news story as reported in ‘The Daily Mail’ and ‘The Guardian’, asking us to account for the differences, then he did the same with articles written by different historians on the same topic. He produced photographs (I remember in particular an Edwardian alley scene) and asked us to look for the unwitting testimony in them. His idea of education was to continually ask the question “Why?”

Writing in his blog, Mark Berthelemy has argued that schools today take children - who are literally "born learners" - and educate the ability to learn out of them, by forcing them through the sausage-machine that is our "education system". Lou McGill asks: “How can we expect people to be creative, if we expect them all to achieve certain set targets, and disparage certain areas of learning as less important than others?” Berthelemy went on to say that education should be “about encouraging the creative minds we're born with, and developing them - not stifling them”, and “looking out for injustice and not accepting it”.
http://www.learningconversations.co.uk/main/index.php/2011/02/09/what-is-the-purpose-of?blog=5

In the latter part of the nineteenth century, teachers were remunerated under a scheme known as “payment by results”, which politicians boasted would either be efficient or cheap. One inherent weakness in that arrangement was that teachers only taught children to the level of passing the test and failed to develop their full potential. But have we reverted to that system of teaching now? The introduction of the National Curriculum in 1988 brought with it a plethora of tests as children moved from one level to another. At a recent debate to launch Compass’ e-book ‘Education For the Good Society’, Leicester University lecturer Dr. Katy Layton-Jones spoke of the emergence of "a terrified generation" who had been brought up on education for the test and were frightened to engage with ideas.
http://www.compassonline.org.uk/news/item.asp?n=13891

Josie Fraser, a social and educational technologist, has argued that a fundamental purpose of education should be “to acknowledge the inevitability of change, celebrate the value of life as a thing in process, and promote an awareness of other ways of doing things - of discoveries yet to be made and solutions yet to be invented". She continued: “The purpose of education should be to expand expectations, not to confine them - to support our learners in understanding the impact they can have on their world".
http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6075468

Others will argue that the purpose of education is to provide what the economy needs. Some of us will reply that the best thing for the country is if as many people as possible achieve their potential and at the same time create something. Berthelemy concludes that the purpose of education in our current society is to become better than other people, but that instead it should be about achieving our individual potential. It should be about helping each other to find out what we are good at, and developing those skills/gifts/talents. Not to be better than someone else, but to be as good as we can get.


Last edited by Ivan on Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:05 pm

Everyone has an opinion on "Education" because most adults have had one - at least in theory. What no British Government has ever achieved is recognition of the principle of "Horses for Courses" in the structure of State Education.
In a sense it hasn't mattered, because the children of the wealthy and/or aspirational aren't sent to State schools. The result has been that all of the present Government front-bench are the product of a Private education.

Could there be a message there????

Logic suggests that State Schools should be forced to operate under the supervision of a Private educational establishment.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Shirina on Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:40 pm

Logic suggests that State Schools should be forced to operate under the supervision of a Private educational establishment.

Private educational establishments are run via tuition payments. A nation cannot have a compulsory primary and secondary educational system and have schools run by private enterprise. That would be a violation of the US Constitution as citizens cannot be made to compulsorily purchase products or services from a private business - as those who are opposed to Obama's health care bill have readily pointed out. Perhaps the same law does not not exist in Britain.

However, there are many other pitfalls inherent in such a design. Here are some examples:

** It would create a society fraught with de facto segregation based on socioeconomic class
** It would hinder upward mobility
** Employers would "look down" upon the lower-end schools and hire only from middle to upper-end schools
** The quality of education would be decidedly unequal (when coupled with point 1 above, see Brown v. Board of Education)
** It would drastically increase personal debt as parents scrounge to find ways to pay for it
** Schools catering to poorer students might seek corporate sponsorship, resulting in undue corporate influence over what is taught
** All parents would have to provide their children with transportation to and from school
** The poorest parents couldn't afford it at all, thus trapping the children in a cycle of generational poverty
** Teachers may be inclined to teach children only how to operate within their socioeconomic class
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:19 pm

Then the Class system is alive, well, thriving and encouraged.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Ivan on Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:30 pm

oftenwrong. It’s not quite true to say that all members of the government front bench were privately educated. Alexander, Hammond, Spelman and Warsi went to comprehensive schools, and several others went to grammar schools, but more than half of Cameron’s Cabinet went to private schools (compared to only 7% of the population).

I don’t see how your idea of state schools operating under private school supervision would be of any use (was that a tongue-in-cheek suggestion?). Private schools get better results because with about ten pupils in a class instead of thirty, the teachers can spend more time on them and mark more of their work. The parents of the pupils are almost certain to be highly motivated and will recognise the value of education if they’re pumping thousands of pounds into it. Give the state schools enough money to have drastically smaller class sizes and you won’t need help from private schools.

I agree that everyone claims to know something about education because we all went to school, most of us have had children who went to school, and some of us have grandchildren who are in the school system right now. My “opinion” is that half-terms should be abolished and there should be four ten-week terms, each followed by a holiday of about three weeks. I also think that any form of selection at the age of eleven is wrong, that schools should be divided into primary (ages 5-9) and middle (ages 9-14). At 14 each child should choose whether to pursue an academic or vocational education until at least the age of 18. There’s no point in adding any of them to the workforce when (a) they aren’t skilled, and (b) there aren’t any jobs, especially as the oldies are being made to work longer. Still, I digress, that wasn’t the subject of this thread.

So what are the things we really need to learn? Stephen Downes of the National Research Council of Canada has offered us a list of ten items:-
1. How to predict consequences
2. How to read and understand
3. How to distinguish truth from fiction
4. How to empathize
5. How to be creative
6. How to communicate clearly
7. How to learn
8. How to stay healthy
9. How to value yourself
10. How to live meaningfully

For the entire article and Downes’ detailed explanation of each of those ten points:-
http://www.downes.ca/post/38502



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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Shirina on Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:03 am

Hello, Ivan:

Number 10 on his list is controversial. Who decides what "living meaningfully" actually means? What parameters are there? What rubric would be used to know if a student learned how to live "meaningfully?" How do you test it? For some, "meaningfully" might mean spirituality and religion. For others, it might mean productivity and earning potential. And for still others, it might mean a life of charity, good works, volunteerism, and community service. There is no single answer to those questions, and I doubt a school is the place to learn what "meaningful" is. That is something each person has to discover themselves.

Interestingly, Downes did not mention a key point - how to live in a society of "others." This would include teaching students not to bully, problem resolution, diplomacy, and a bit of psychology. While I suppose some of this would fall under empathy and communication, both of which Downes included, but there needs to be a focus on this. In addition, critical thinking needs to be on that list, as well. Heavy, heavy doses of critical thinking, something I believe is lacking in Western schools. I think the "powers that be" avoid instituting critical thinking into the curriculum because critical thinking also includes being critical of authority - and we wouldn't want that, now would we? However, a society that lacks this skill is easily brainwashed and indoctrinated by dogma and decrees sent down from "on high," and that has never boded well for any society.

As for education in general, I don't believe in "useless knowledge." There simply is no such thing. I am a firm believer in "knowledge is power." I have a wide range of educational experiences - I've gone to school on four continents and in three distinct cultures; I've attended private religious schools, tough inner-city schools, rural country schools, suburban schools - you name it, I've been there. I also have a degree in secondary education - social studies, and I taught, albeit briefly, US History to 7th graders. And I have found that sooooo many people do not think or analyze nearly enough.

But I have found during my own adventures in life that even knowledge that seems utterly useless and trivial can suddenly resurface as something meaningful later on. I remember once walking through a mall, and a science store was offering a $10 gift certificate to the first person who knew what city boasts the world's largest subway system. I knew the answer was Moscow - don't ask me WHY I knew - and won 10 bucks. LOL! You just never know!
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:58 am

"I knew the answer was Moscow - don't ask me WHY I knew"

If you're asked the same question again, the answer now is apparently Shanghai.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Phoenix One UK on Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:11 am

FURY AT ‘BRAINWASHING’ PLAN FOR EU CITIZENSHIP LESSONS IN EVERY SCHOOL

Thursday September 29,2011

By Macer Hall, Political Editor


CHILDREN could be forced to attend compulsory lessons in “European citizenship” under draconian plans drawn up by Euro-MPs in Brussels, it emerged last night.

Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/274330/Fury-at-brainwashing-plan-for-EU-citizenship-lessons-in-every-school
=====================================

Polls consistently show the majority of British want the UK to withdraw from EU, and one place to change that is by brainwashing our children.

Quote from reader comment I believe well worth posting here:

BRAINWASHING OUR YOUNG

29.09.11, 11:51am

The EU has so many parallels with a copy of an exceedingly nasty tome that I have. Brainwash the young from the start of their education and you have an inbuilt client base ready to indoctrinate the next generation and so on, ad infinitum. This publication details every facet of life as it should be ordered for the good of 'The Party' and therefore the people. It is militarised to the Nth degree and infiltrates every pore with its fungal like growth. This was written in 1933 and translated into English prior to 1939, maybe you have guessed its name:- Organisationsbuch Der National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) or The National Socialist German Workers Party I.E. The NAZI Party!!! The tome is the handbook of that repulsive entity. It was very similar in its aims to the Communist Party agenda. People from both despicable dictatorships were involved at the start of the EU socialist experiment so it is obvious where the policies and methods of the EU came from. They realised that the 'Horses' would be sent into a panic if the agenda was put into place in its entirety at the beginning, so they implimented each policy piecemeal, utilising propaganda and the vision of pleasant 'harmony' until they reached the present state of aceptability, where they now just issue dictats and directives backed up by various dubious legal agreements entered into by failed national politicos and self serving beaurocrats, all on a jolly good earner. The only way to release Britain and its population from this anti democratic straight jacket is to leave it completely. There is no way that we as a nation can change its policies from the inside as we will be outvoted everytime. Any of our polititians who think otherwise are living in La La land, have no real allegience to our country, and should be given the heave ho at the earliest oportunity. Cameron should be replaced with a genuine sceptic and truly loyal Brit with full allegience to the crown and constitution and a general election should be called with the main policy of immediate divorce from the dictatorial EU. They will gain a full working majority and be rid of the EU loving Liberals and incompetant self serving Labour.














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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:04 am

No doubt Britain's little jobsworths will take such an edict to heart, and replace maths and english with citizenship in the curriculum.

Other Countries will put it onto their statute book as an obligation to be observed on alternate Tuesdays in Octember.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Charlatan on Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:55 pm

The purpose of education as i see it is to prepare children for the adult life. The best possible education a child could get would be how to start their own business.

There are tons of retired people sitting on money, why not start their own business for their children. They will get more than the rates banks offer, and will stimulate the economy. The state doesn't do it, the rich don't do it, yet there is a way forwards into economic prosperity.

If we were to take all the young adults of today, identify the markets for needs, and get this all onto paper, i am sure there is a way out of this. Impress the parents with the money, get jobs for the youth. I am sure too, that money that is wasted on colledge could be put into a new business, and i am also sure a commission could be set up to identify these markets and help them set it up. Taxpayer money coming back to the tax payer.

Education has zero renumeration. It all gets hoarded by the big bosses and is not spent. This means it is actually better off if they were to ban colledge education! You never need colledge education anyways, you always get a job and only then get relevant training! I saw a guy come into my factory once where i worked and he spent all of two months using his skills on the white board pretending to know what he was doing. He had a degree and everything. Then he left and the post was closed. He didn't know what to do because he hadn't recieved training on the particular job itself. What a waste of time.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Aloski on Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:17 pm

"what is the purpose of education" is a very general question and there are different ways to achieve the same results.
 
My children spent their childhood in the UK, attended state schools, till up to the age of 9 and 10.
I was so appalled and horrified
that I decided to move to Germany.
Iam absolutely pleased with the schools they attend now,
and it was one of the best decisions I´ve made in my life!
I myself teach, part time.
I´ve taught in UK state schools as well as in France and Spain.
Teaching? I enjoy it. - in any country, less the UK. I´d rather hang myself!
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by witchfinder on Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:22 am

Is basic education a citizens right, should the state provide basic education upto the age of around 11, or should it be a commodity which should be paid for by those that require it. ?

Lets be honest about this, many Americans and some British people believe that health care is a commodity, something which has a price tag on, and if you want it then you have to pay for it.

So whats the difference between the state providing good standard education, and the state providing good standard health care. ?

Where in The Bible does it say that "money is the key to everything"

I bring this point up because most Republicans in the United States are bitterly opposed to state health care, but would they be opposed to doing away with state education, imagine how much tax money could be saved.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:24 pm

Whatever the perceived shortcomings of our Educational system, an absence thereof would inevitably produce a return to Dickensian conditions with bands of Fagin-style thieves and pickpockets marauding the streets.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by kentdougal on Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:35 pm

oftenwrong wrote:-
Whatever the perceived shortcomings of our Educational system, an absence thereof would inevitably produce a return to Dickensian conditions with bands of Fagin-style thieves and pickpockets marauding the streets.
Ahem where were you in the recent riots which produced just this type of behaviour in an even worse form apart from that mobile phone and pocket money theft is rife amongst the little ankle biters


Last edited by Ivan on Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:59 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : amend text)
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by ROB on Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:24 pm

Ivan wrote:
I remember two teachers in particular from my schooldays.  There was a brutal English teacher, who would hit you if you made the same spelling mistake twice. At least I don’t make many spelling mistakes.  On the positive side, I remember a brilliant History teacher who taught you to question everything.  He started by giving us the same news story as reported in ‘The Daily Mail’ and ‘The Guardian’, asking us to account for the differences, then he did the same with articles written by different historians on the same topic.  He produced photographs (I remember in particular an Edwardian alley scene) and asked us to look for the unwitting testimony in them.  His idea of education was to continually ask the question “Why?”
 

Both teachers were excellent.

One discipline, grammar, is strict of necessity. God only knows the considerable consternation caused by English speakers in five English as a first language nations, in alphabetical order, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UIK, and the US, to other English speakers in the four nations not their own, by the correct inconsistent spellings and grammatical conventions practices therein. For instance, y’all (UK) say “maths”, travellers”, “metre”, “neighbour”, “colour”, “humour”, “honour”, and “harbour”, all of which my spell check identifies as incorrect. Confusing enough without each individual laying claim to her/his own spelling.

The other discipline, history, is a social science, the scholarly study and promulgation of which requires an inquiring mind. As a student of history, it amazes me that certain historical truths taught today were virtually unknown mere decades ago, a blip in time, yet an eon ago insofar as what is being taught.

Each of your teachers brought to the table that which empowered their common student, you. Today, Ivan practice excellent grammar and spelling, and Ivan delves into history with inquiring scholarship, and that, my friend, segues directly into the authoritative answer to your initiating question. Education is empowerment of those previously unempowered.


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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Shirina on Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:31 pm

I bring this point up because most Republicans in the United States are bitterly opposed to state health care, but would they be opposed to doing away with state education, imagine how much tax money could be saved.

Actually, teachers have become one of the Republican's favorite targets now. Anyone who works for the government is a target, but in good ole true conservative fashion, they zero in on those who make the least amount of money (i.e. teachers) as a major cause to our economic woes.

Meanwhile, in 2010, Obama passed the largest defense spending bill in American history.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Penderyn on Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:44 pm

Given the general failure of 'religion', the purpose of education is to familiarise us with the best that humanity has achieved so far and the ability to criticize its its current efforts intelligently. As with religion, capitalism will constantly try to colonise this area and render it 'useful' - to the bosses. A good education will point attention towards this threat too.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:29 pm

"the best that humanity has achieved so far"


Things .... can only get better ....
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:48 pm

Today's Sunday Times reports that Michael Gove, supported by nine other senior tories, wants responsibility for the Universities, which currently fall under the jurisdiction of the Minister for Business, Liberal-Democrat Vince Cable.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Papaumau on Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:31 pm


An interesting debate folks !

As I come from Scotland I am always tempted to compare the Scottish education system with the rest of the world.

At one time the "free" Scottish educational system used to be the envy of the world but over the recent years, ( probably caused by interference and change for change's sake ), it has been watered down and is now a poor shadow of what it once used to be.

Recently, another change was brought about that completely mixed up the teaching of the three "R"s and that was called The Curriculum for Excellence. Many teachers up here are still not fully trained in order to implement this new and radical way of teaching children and a lot of them are angry about this idea being foisted onto them.

Since Cameron and his cronies banged up the university fees and they were scrapped in Scotland - for the Scots - we have seen the intake to English Welsh and Irish universities drop markedly.

As part of the ethos of the British welfare state - that we are all supposed to live in here - it was originally decided that health and education would be free at point of need, but over the years we have seen both of these wonderful institutions being privatised by stealth.

I am sure that the Americans that read and write to this forum-set will know exactly what I mean when they examine what has happened to free education and health in that great country.

I really don't want Britain to become a bad copy of what is happening and has happened already in America and to this end I think that the next government that we elect should try it's hardest to return Britain to a true Welfare State kind of country.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against the ethic of privatisation where it is truly disconnected from the state, and I think it is fair that if people are well-off that they should have their private education and their private health-care so long as this private sector does not parasite off the public sector, ( as it certainly does at the moment ).

Regards.....

Papaumau


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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by ROB on Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:15 pm


Papa,

I looked over the Curriculum for excellence as long as I could stand it. This document reminds me of so many that I’ve seen in its vague statements of intent with no corresponding "nuts and bolts", i.e., specifics.

One example: In order to make money in a number of careers, one needs to know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers, fractions, and decimals, one needs to know when and upon what numbers to perform these operations, and one needs to know how to measure. All this should be mastered by Grade 6.

I see nothing in the Curriculum for Excellence that states this, and notice that it required only one short paragraph to do so here. If I were a teacher in Scotland, this new curriculum would send tremors of foreboding though my soul.

On another note, do you have a reaction to the fact that schoolchildren in the US celebrate a Mexican holiday but are taught nothing of the British North America Act of 1867?

Rock


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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Shirina on Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:43 pm

In order to make money in a number of careers, one needs to know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers, fractions, and decimals
Actually, in terms of careers, one needs to know how to use a calculator. A business isn't going to hand you a sheet of paper and a pencil to calculate the trajectory of the next mission to Neptune. Very Happy
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by ROB on Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:25 pm


Shirina,

You are correct as to reliance on calculators, but this reliance, when it substitutes for rather than supports, an underlying mastery of the knowledge and skills mentioned, can lead to negative consequences.

A relatively benign example of this occurred one morning when, at the MacDonald’s drive-through window, I ordered two sausage biscuits ($0.59 apiece), two hash browns ($0.69 apiece), one medium coffee ($0.79), and one orange juice ($0.79).

The cash register had a computerized calculator built in. The server told me that my total order came to something like $8.85.

A quick mental calculation, averaging everything to the next peony up, and then averaging the six numbers, I got 6 X $0.70 = $4.20, then subtracting six cents, $4.14, then adding 7.5% sales tax, or about $0.30, for a total of about $4.44.

Try as I might, I couldn’t get the server to see that $8.85 could not be correct. I finally called the manager over, who immediately realized that the computer was malfunctioning.

Now suppose that, rather than being a server at MacDonald’s, the young man had been an engineer or technician calculating the load-bearing capacity of a new bridge?
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:28 pm

A calculator doesn't buzz when you've just pressed "divide" instead of "multiply".

The educated human brain will neverthless recognise that $10 is not equivalent to €120, so will suggest a further computation to an intelligent user.

The problem also occurs when cooking Sunday Lunch. The thermal probe piercing your leg of lamb can still read "underdone" four hours after it has incinerated, because mechanical things have no intelligence.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Papaumau on Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:23 pm


Yes folks, there is no doubt that instead of being our servants, machines have in some cases, become our masters.

While I have to agree that all young people should be calculator and computer literate BEFORE they are thrown into this cruel world to sink or swim, I still think that much of this learning should be done at the eventual place of work and not in the school that is supposed to be teaching the basic 3 "R"s.

There is only so much that is not job-specific that we can teach young people and being able to do many calculations in ones head and to be able to read, understand and write the native language, ( and surprisingly only English if you want to go round the world via an internet-enabled computer ), has to be the most important parts of basic education.

After the importance of these basic knowledge-packs have been put into the heads of the children they then also have to be educated in home and world geography, in home and world history and they also have to have a knowledge of The Arts if they are to become rounded individuals.

If the teaching of children and young adults is made to become too generic, ( as I suggest is the case in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence ), then we are going to have a lot of young people who have simply not been given the tools that they will need to go on to college and university and to then specialise in the career that will make them into fully shaped citizens.

Regards....

Papaumau.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Shirina on Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:45 pm

A calculator doesn't buzz when you've just pressed "divide" instead of "multiply".
I think it's a good thing that everyone be taught how to divide, multiply, divide, subtract, use decimal places, balance a checkbook - that kind of thing - without a calculator. But the reality is that a business is not going to have you waste their time doing long division when a few button presses will solve the problem more quickly - and more accurately. The human brain doesn't buzz either unless there is a huge discrepancy in what the number should be. However, there is a greater chance for a human to screw up by forgetting to carry the 1 than there is of hitting divide instead of multiply.

Unless we want to train our kids for some post-apocalyptic world with no computers and calculators, it is much more beneficial to teach kids how to use tools rather than how to be the tool.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:10 pm

It's still nice to have education as a back-stop.

For at least thirty years, Military technicians have been able to "jam" all electronic activity in a specified area. Nothing reliant upon a microchip will work. That's an awful lot of useless apparatus, from kitchen-timers through telephones and on up to computers.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by moonbeam on Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:43 pm

I absolutely feel that children need to understand the basics of math PRIOR to being allowed to use a calculator. I also believe that they need to be literate in regards to reading, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation.

Unfortunately, as I've seen during my volunteering hours at my son's school this year, many students are way behind. Every week, I spend several hours there, assembling the items that are to go home in the children's Friday folders. I also grade their weekly math and literacy quizzes.

These students are in 4th grade, and there are some that can't even multiply factors of 4! Meanwhile, you have others who have mastered division and really need to move on, but they have reached what they were expected to learn by the end of the year. There doesn't seem to be any plan to give them something that challenges them.

Literacy quizzes show the same results. Basics such as possessives and plurals are lost on some of them, while others do very well.

But those that don't do well will still move on at the end of the year because no one wants to hurt the child's feelings by holding them back. I feel that is a HUGE disservice.

You can't put all the blame on the schools for the failures though. Parents need to be involved as well. Some parents don't make sure the work is done at all, let alone done correctly. Some parents aren't educated enough themselves to *know* that it's done incorrectly. Others recognize that it's not right but either don't care, or are unable to help correct the errors due to their own lacking skills. And of course, there *are* some, recognizing their own limitations, who hire outside tutors so their child gets the help they need.

I compare today's education to when I was in school, and I can easily see why the overall test scores have fallen. Sadly, it feels like much of society no longer finds it to be important.



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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:58 pm

There is a surprising disparity between Countries as to how much a child is required to "know". Obvious cultural differences like not learning your 11-times and 12-times tables when you live in a decimal environment. English schools in particular have a numbing dumbing-down attitude, where students are not taught the subject, they are taught how to pass the exam in that subject.
On a visit to Spain, I was astonished to realise that the man I was in conversation with had done a long-division calculation in his head.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by astra on Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:08 pm

oftenwrong wrote:It's still nice to have education as a back-stop.

For at least thirty years, Military technicians have been able to "jam" all electronic activity in a specified area. Nothing reliant upon a microchip will work. That's an awful lot of useless apparatus, from kitchen-timers through telephones and on up to computers.



So glad I've held onto my Slide Rule Neutral
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by ROB on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:05 pm


Will Sonnet advised, “No brag, just fact.”

Twenty-two 3rd graders mastered times tables from 2 X 1 through 12 X 12, along with two basic rules; 0 X anything = 0, and 1 X anything = anything.

During the first semester, the students were tested on one time table per week for eleven weeks via daily thirty second timed “A” or “F” tests. Any mistake, even “just one”, resulted in an “F”, so there was much crying. 11 out of 12, 92%, resulted in an “F”. Almost finished at thirty seconds resulted in an “F”. 12 out of 12 within thirty seconds resulted in an “A”.

By the end of the semester, all twenty-two students could complete perfectly a test of all multiplication facts from 2 X 1 through 12 X 12 within six minutes.

By the end of the second semester, all twenty-two students could perfectly multiply any multiplicand by any multiplier, for instance, 156,743,458,750,581,565 multiplied by 476,203,618,484,901,586, as long as both numbers were whole numbers.

By the end of the second semester, all twenty-two students could perfectly any dividend by divisors from 2 through 12, for instance, 967,487,502,598,134,946 divided by 12, as long as both numbers were whole numbers.

These twenty-two students were all over the chart, score-wise, on the standardized test administered to all 3rd graders during the second semester.

I was their teacher. During first semester parent conferences, I was almost threatened by irate parents whose children were bringing home “F” after “F” on daily timed tests. During second semester parent conferences, I was the greatest thing since biscuits and gravy. By the way, those “F” grades were never recorded, never “averaged in”, so they had no effect on the students’ semester and end year grades.

I relate this to provide compelling evidence, and thereby establish as fact, that almost all 3rd grade students can learn to multiply whole numbers perfectly.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:32 pm

In linguistics, numerous studies have confirmed that children during the first five years of their lives can learn not only their parents' language but almost any other language to which they are regularly exposed, up to three, four or five languages which they can use independently without intermingling the idioms for as long as they continue to receive the stimulus of hearing the language being used around them.

That facility dwindles after the age of five, and most children drop into the habit of using a single language thereafter.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by ROB on Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:25 am


The minimum number of words required for a sentence is the minimum number required to communicate “who” and “what.” This understanding is the core of reading comprehension and writing. When this core remains unlearned, students are crippled insofar as crucial communications skills are concerned.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Shirina on Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:00 am

In linguistics, numerous studies have confirmed that children during the first five years of their lives can learn not only their parents' language but almost any other language to which they are regularly exposed
My mother said I invented my own language before I learned to actually speak one. I never really thought of it that way, but it was true as I can still remember some of the "nonsense" words I used. My mother said she understood me perfectly even though I was speaking "Shirinaese." I think a lot of parents dismiss this as "baby talk" when, in reality, these young children really are trying to say something. I doubt I was alone in doing what I did.
I relate this to provide compelling evidence, and thereby establish as fact, that almost all 3rd grade students can learn to multiply whole numbers perfectly.
Also very true. By the time I was out of 3rd grade, I knew how to add/subtract/multiply/divide all whole numbers up to 12. This is one of the few instances when rote learning is actually both beneficial and effective. I had a pretty strict teacher in 3rd grade. Just before recess she would pull out the flash cards and whoever didn't answer his/her problem correctly had to sit inside. That made us really want to learn those multiplication tables!
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by ROB on Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:27 am

Shirina wrote:
By the time I was out of 3rd grade, I knew how to add/subtract/multiply/divide all whole numbers up to 12. This is one of the few instances when rote learning is actually both beneficial and effective. I had a pretty strict teacher in 3rd grade. Just before recess she would pull out the flash cards and whoever didn't answer his/her problem correctly had to sit inside. That made us really want to learn those multiplication tables!
 

Shirina,

You were well taught by a fine educator.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Papaumau on Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:20 pm


oftenwrong wrote:It's still nice to have education as a back-stop.

For at least thirty years, Military technicians have been able to "jam" all electronic activity in a specified area. Nothing reliant upon a microchip will work. That's an awful lot of useless apparatus, from kitchen-timers through telephones and on up to computers.

It certainly is oftenwrong !

You talk about "jamming electronic activity" and I will go even further:

It is well known by the defence-establishment that any atomic or hydrogen bomb that goes off always also delivers what is known as an electro-magnetic pulse that fries the circuits in any unhardened electronic kit that is within range. Although many defence establishments are "hardened" by insulation the rest of us with our toasters and our radios and TVs and not to mention our computers and calculators will find that after any such "pulse" this kit will only be good for using as door stops.

It is the high-level and even in-space nuclear explosions that might do this and also not destroy the general superstructure of any country that the aggressor might want to occupy that would encourage them to use such tactics.

With the risk of a new nuclear arms race threatened in the middle East, ( started by Iran wanting lots of enriched uranium ), this new cold war could become a hot war much more easily than the last cold war did.

I am concerned about this !

Regards....

Papaumau.
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Ivan on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:25 am

According to that insidious creep Gove, it would seem that the purpose of education is to promote Rupert Murdoch's interests:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/26/schools-crusade-gove-murdoch?CMP=twt_gu
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Papaumau on Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:27 pm



Talking about Rupert Murdoch Ivan...... He recently expressed his support for the independence cause in my beloved Scotland. Evil or Very Mad

How much like the kiss of death might that seem to be ?

I hope that our First Minister, Alex Salmond, sends that two-timing twit back to Australia - where he belongs !

Don't get me started on Gove.... ( YUK ).

Regards.....

Papaumau.


Last edited by Papaumau on Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by blueturando on Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:04 pm

IVAN.....

This story seems to hinge on a meeting in 2010 before the hacking scandal broke and nothing has happened since then...So what's your story here???

Is that the Tories had a relationship with the Murdoch press, as did New Labour. Does Gove warning that inhibiting the freedom of the press would be damaging cheese you off (and do you disagree) or is it that you have learnt from the New Labour spin machine and just rolled out old, out dated and irrelevant news because you are clutching at straws

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Re: What is the purpose of education?

Post by Phil Hornby on Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:11 pm

It would be as surpising to find that an assortment of Tory Ministers were up to their necks in quietly furthering the interests of their various 'chums' , as it would to find a queue of kids at a sweet shop offering free toffee...
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Re: What is the purpose of education?

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