23 August 2010
14 August 2010
Marion Brady has found an excellent metaphor for one of the most important problems with the current high fashions in school reform.
There are all kinds of things [dogs] can do besides herd, rescue, and engage foxes. They can sniff luggage for bombs. Chase felons. Stand guard duty. Retrieve downed game birds. Guide the blind. Detect certain diseases. Locate earthquake survivors. Entertain audiences. Play nice with little kids. Go for help if Little Nell falls down a well.
So, with No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top as models, let’s set performance standards for these and all other canine capabilities and train all dogs to meet them. All 400 breeds. All skills. Leave No Dog Behind!
Two-hundred-pound Mastiffs may have a little trouble with the chase-the-fox-down-the-hole standard, and Chihuahuas will probably have difficulty with the tackle-the-felon-and-pin-him-to-the-ground standard. But, hey, no excuses! Standards are standards! Leave No Dog Behind.Read more at voices.washingtonpost.com
09 August 2010
These are a bunch of heavy hitters in the world of morality studies in conversation with each other. Except for the fact that the follow-up discussions are being trickled out at snails pace, I really find the whole conversation fascinating.
Roy Baumeister, Paul Bloom, Joshua D. Greene, Jonathan Haidt,
Sam Harris, Marc D. Hauser, Josua Knobe,
Elizabeth Phelps, David Pizarro
THE NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY
Something radically new is in the air: new ways of understanding physical systems, new ways of thinking about thinking that call into question many of our basic assumptions. A realistic biology of the mind, advances in evolutionary biology, physics, information technology, genetics, neurobiology, psychology, engineering, the chemistry of materials: all are questions of critical importance with respect to what it means to be human. For the first time, we have the tools and the will to undertake the scientific study of human nature.Read more at www.edge.org
08 August 2010
03 August 2010
In a thing-centered culture, we believe that our job is to teach the young what they need to have a job and support themselves. Students are left on their own for learning how to cope with life's existential challenges, how to relate well to others, how to lead maturely in business and government, how to raise children and how to be married. How to develop taste and values and come to grips with human mortality and make a contribution to world culture--these are largely left alone by educators with the hope, apparently, that people will find their way unconsciously. It's a false hope ... .
It's one thing to criticize the metaphor, it quite another to replace it with another metaphor that better captures the essential qualities that you value in the educative process.
Part of the challenge is that the thingification urge is not utterly wrong, just inadequate. But our system has swung to an extreme reliance on the thing aspect and the subtler aspects are more difficult to articulate.
My own basic proposal for steering us away from this reification of "things" is to reconceptualize the proper outcome of education as access to optimal states of mind, instead of the delivery of knowledge, skills, and information. This is based on a synthesis of some of the work in positive psychology by Seligman, Csikszentmihlayi, and others. This shifts the task from downloading bits into little heads, to assisting in a process of cognitive mapping of the world in which the students exist. Naturally maps have content but what makes a map useful is not the data points, but the proper depiction of the relationships between data points according the goals of the end users of the map. Thus there is maintained a proper respect for the data (subjects) but the emphasis is shifted towards the relationships that are meaningful for making sense of that data.
Free E-book: The Attitude Problem in Education
Tip o' the Hat to Teaching Now blog