Design your own ideal education system

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Hurduser
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby Hurduser » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:58 am UTC

My ideal education system...

1st: It would omit all soft subjects, ie: no art, no PE, no literature, no music, no religious education. Instead sciences, maths, programming, a bit of history, languages and correct use of the native language would be taught. While people would learn how to interpret ads and state propaganda, literature would not be covered.

2nd: It would have no classes in the usual sense. Instead, it would have one subject per day with breaks when the class needs one, not when the clock says so. School would begin at about 10 am and stretch well into the afternoon.

3rd: No exams. Seriously! Why should your performance in 4 hours decide on your future? Instead grade are determined by projects you will be assigned over the year and have to do individually or in small groups.

4th: No paper. We were asked about something subjective and well, I loathe the feel of paper in my hands. Can't we have an intranet portal and see the assignments and course material there? Paper has no search function and can't be zoomed. Yes, this means that individual computers (OLPCish) are required.

5th: frontal education is not bad. It is a valid for of teaching and often it is better than forced teamwork (which I started to loathe. People always want HURDie to do all the work)
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby Game_boy » Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:18 pm UTC

Hurduser wrote:3rd: No exams. Seriously! Why should your performance in 4 hours decide on your future? Instead grade are determined by projects you will be assigned over the year and have to do individually or in small groups.
.

I have major problems with the rest of the points (literature is not a soft subject and teaches useful analytical and persuasive skills for example) but this would fail in the real world.

Already, all coursework in the UK is just that the good schools coach kids on how to do it (99% of our year get full marks on Maths coursework). So this would increase the gap and not be an accurate measure of ability for those skills. They've tried all of the tricks (moderation, inspections, contracts, sealed envelopes) to prevent coursework mark inflation and none have worked. At least exams do produce a useful spread that somewhat correlates marks with real-world application.

Secondly, these projects would depend more on presentation (pretty colours got you an A instead of a B in my GCSE electronics) and written skills than aptitude for the subject. In small groups, people would be helped or hindered by their partners - smart kids would get disproportionately better marks by having friends that are also smart, and people who are good at the subject but have few friends (I was in that category, I got put with idiots in all groupwork because I have Aspergers') would get poor marks.

Finally, the marking is always subjective. At least in maths and science exams there is a clear difference between correct and incorrect, but it is possible to formulate questions that test understanding rather than parrot-learning.
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby RockoTDF » Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:09 pm UTC

Once it is established that kids can read and do basic arithmetic:

- Formal Logic. Does wonders in understanding everything from math and programming to literature and rhetoric.
- Math. No bullshit. Math isn't packaged into neat little boxes (algebra II vs geometry vs whatever). Don't make calculus into a monstrosity at the top of some non existent pyramid. Once kids can do basic stuff, show them how calc ties in (ie once they can graph, start talking about rate of change and stuff conceptually and then later do derivatives) and then use their formal knowledge background to start doing proper proofs. Do matrix algebra / linear algebra type stuff. Some kids will like this stuff applied, some pure.
- Computer programming. Start em on python and work up. Along with math, will be the only classes with (minimal) lecturing.
- History/Government and Literature. Teach 'em together so that students can appreciate time periods and DISCUSS.
- Writing. Emphasis on scientific writing and why that is different from standard rhetoric.
- Science will be about the scientific method and NOT canned laboratories. Less emphasis on fact memorization. Seminars to discuss ideas will be key supplements to lab work and reading assignments. Neural / Behavioral / Cognitive sciences will receive equal attention to other sciences to help students understand why humans do what they do (instead of misguided ideas of human nature from the humanities).
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby lilsister » Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:02 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:- Science will be about the scientific method and NOT canned laboratories. Less emphasis on fact memorization. Seminars to discuss ideas will be key supplements to lab work and reading assignments. Neural / Behavioral / Cognitive sciences will receive equal attention to other sciences to help students understand why humans do what they do (instead of misguided ideas of human nature from the humanities).


All your bulletpoints were right on, but I'd argue over the last one. Reading literature theory and developing criticism inspires students to create and believe their own; understanding how their mind works introduces them to empathy, which motivates people to seek careers in law, technology, business or nonprofit development, and publishing. Students fuel on personal values for success in their professions.
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby Dark567 » Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:59 pm UTC

@RockoTDF Your system is very similar to mine with a couple of distinct differences.

RockoTDF wrote:Once it is established that kids can read and do basic arithmetic:
- Formal Logic. Does wonders in understanding everything from math and programming to literature and rhetoric.



I would argue this is the single most tragic thing missing in the current education system. Logic is the foundation of all human knowledge, allows for deep analysis of every subject, gives the student the required tools to conduct criticism of all other fields and sets up students better to continue to learn on their own. If it were to be included in the modern education system I feel like this alone would dramatically improve education system for everyone and give students the tools they need to continue on their own.

RockoTDF wrote:- Computer programming. Start em on python and work up. Along with math, will be the only classes with (minimal) lecturing.

I've seen this multiple times on the board and I have to disagree.(Surprising as I majored in CS and am a software developer) There are many more important things to learn in school and I believe many students would be lost.(I am still not convinced programming is not something only suited for a select group of people) and although it is useful in reinforcing mathematical and logical ideas that are important to schooling, I believe it would still be better to reinforce both of those in their pure forms. I will argue though that CS subjects should definitely be electives at every school.(Something that was sadly missing from my high school) Also CS is something that is mostly learned on ones own anyway, so the students who really do want to learn it, will.

RockoTDF wrote:- Writing. Emphasis on scientific writing and why that is different from standard rhetoric.

Although I agree scientific writing is missing from standard high school education. It shouldn't neglect other forms. Writing is probably the second most important topic of education, to only focus on one area would be a huge mistake.

RockoTDF wrote:- Science will be about the scientific method and NOT canned laboratories. Less emphasis on fact memorization. Seminars to discuss ideas will be key supplements to lab work and reading assignments. Neural / Behavioral / Cognitive sciences will receive equal attention to other sciences to help students understand why humans do what they do (instead of misguided ideas of human nature from the humanities).

I agree that cog sci would be great to add to the science curricula, I believe it does a better job then humanities at explaining human behavior. Those humanistic explanations shouldn't be left out though, there should be some room for competing ideas, even at the lower levels of education.
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby Carnildo » Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:05 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:@RockoTDF Your system is very similar to mine with a couple of distinct differences.

RockoTDF wrote:Once it is established that kids can read and do basic arithmetic:
- Formal Logic. Does wonders in understanding everything from math and programming to literature and rhetoric.


I would argue this is the single most tragic thing missing in the current education system. Logic is the foundation of all human knowledge, allows for deep analysis of every subject, gives the student the required tools to conduct criticism of all other fields and sets up students better to continue to learn on their own. If it were to be included in the modern education system I feel like this alone would dramatically improve education system for everyone and give students the tools they need to continue on their own.


My uncle teaches formal logic to university students, and he mentally divides his students into three groups:
  • The ten percent who intuitively understand formal logic, and are in the class simply to learn the standard terms for the process.
  • The forty percent who can understand formal logic with sufficient effort.
  • The fifty percent who, no matter how hard they study, never do understand it.
Keep in mind that this is among students who want to learn formal logic. I can't imagine that things will go better among students who are there because the education system says so. Teach it, sure, but don't count on the majority of the students understanding it, and don't make it the basis of other required things.

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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby Philwelch » Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:03 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:Logic is the foundation of all human knowledge, allows for deep analysis of every subject, gives the student the required tools to conduct criticism of all other fields and sets up students better to continue to learn on their own.


Respectively:

1. No it isn't.
2. No, it doesn't.
3. No, it *really* doesn't.
4. In some fields but not others.

Statistical reasoning actually dominates a significant amount of our reasoning, for the simple reason that we deal with uncertainties far more than we deal with certainties.

Quine teaches us that simple logic, by itself, is far too flexible, since we rarely start with certainties and use them to sort out conclusions. For instance, if I am investigating a murder, I may conclude that only three people had the motive, means, and opportunity to commit the murder. Upon investigating each of them, they all have an alibi. Logic doesn't tell me how to resolve this contradiction, it simply tells me that I have to throw out at least one of my assumptions--either there are other potential suspects, or one of the alibis doesn't check out. You have to know the weight of each piece of evidence and reason about it from that point--something most people do naturally, but with certain common mistakes and flaws in reasoning.

Psychology teaches us where a lot of these cognitive gaps lie--in fact, any behavioral study will do this. It's also worthwhile to study what a perfectly rational person would do (which classical economics does for us in a limited sense, as do game theory and other related fields). What most people need to learn is the gap between rationality and their natural behavior. Things about discounting anecdotal evidence and making valid comparisons (something we learn from controlled experiments).

What we ultimately end up with is a type of applied epistemology that has been studied in multiple unrelated fields but not really all in one place. This is a lot more practical, and thus more accessible, than symbolic logic, which is great for programmers, mathematicians, and electrical engineers, but at best a game for laypeople. One start on applied epistemology has been made by Bishop and Trout in Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment, if you want to read more.
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby Dark567 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:48 pm UTC

Carnildo wrote:
Keep in mind that this is among students who want to learn formal logic. I can't imagine that things will go better among students who are there because the education system says so. Teach it, sure, but don't count on the majority of the students understanding it, and don't make it the basis of other required things.


I would argue that I am not making it the basis of other required things, that it simply is the basis of knowledge for many required things, and there is not any way I can see around that.

Philwelch wrote:
Statistical reasoning actually dominates a significant amount of our reasoning, for the simple reason that we deal with uncertainties far more than we deal with certainties.


Statistical reasoning still depends on formal logic. For example:

There is a %60 chance this will kill me.
If there is higher then 1% chance something will kill me I shouldn't do it.
60% is greater then 1%
therefor I shouldn't do it.


Statistical reasoning just helps us come up with our axioms, we still need formal logic to do anything with it.

Philwelch wrote:
Quine teaches us that simple logic, by itself, is far too flexible, since we rarely start with certainties and use them to sort out conclusions. For instance, if I am investigating a murder, I may conclude that only three people had the motive, means, and opportunity to commit the murder. Upon investigating each of them, they all have an alibi. Logic doesn't tell me how to resolve this contradiction, it simply tells me that I have to throw out at least one of my assumptions--either there are other potential suspects, or one of the alibis doesn't check out. You have to know the weight of each piece of evidence and reason about it from that point--something most people do naturally, but with certain common mistakes and flaws in reasoning.

Everything in the above is correct, I don't disagree with it. It shows that logic is weak because we never start with certainties. Logic is still very useful though, because it shows you that you have a contridiction and one of your assumptions must be wrong. Without logic we would have absolutely no way of solving this problem. Without logic, contridictions would be allowed to exist and we would have no way of finding out that our assumptions were wrong. It is precisely for examples like this that it is essential that logic is taught early in the school system.
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby Philwelch » Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:41 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Statistical reasoning actually dominates a significant amount of our reasoning, for the simple reason that we deal with uncertainties far more than we deal with certainties.


Statistical reasoning still depends on formal logic. For example:

There is a %60 chance this will kill me.
If there is higher then 1% chance something will kill me I shouldn't do it.
60% is greater then 1%
therefor I shouldn't do it.

Statistical reasoning just helps us come up with our axioms, we still need formal logic to do anything with it.


You're right, but you're still overstating the extent of formal logic. Logic does not do it all.

But you're still understating the use of statistical reasoning.

Dark567 wrote:Logic is still very useful though, because it shows you that you have a contridiction and one of your assumptions must be wrong. Without logic we would have absolutely no way of solving this problem. Without logic, contridictions would be allowed to exist and we would have no way of finding out that our assumptions were wrong. It is precisely for examples like this that it is essential that logic is taught early in the school system.


I'm not disagreeing with you, but it overstates the case to say logic does all the work.

And *formal* logic (which is what you are arguing for) doesn't help the matter either, because formal logic consists in manipulating Boolean expressions and the like, an entirely useless exercise in itself unless you have to deal with precise logical expressions in your line of work (i.e. you are a programmer, electrical engineer, mathematician, or in rare cases philosopher).

I don't disagree that logic should be taught. But what we are talking about is not *formal* logic per se, and furthermore, effective rational reasoning requires a lot more than logic.
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby lu6cifer » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:36 am UTC

I'm a math/science oriented guy, but because our school is preppy/full of overachievers, I'm forced to take AP classes that I don't really want to take just to keep up with the competition. For example, AP US history. The subject matter is interesting, the class discussions are interesting, but firstly, I don't find history as engaging as math or science, and the textbook that we use has extremely dense reading, and is full of useless, trivial facts and anecdotes. Because I have to spend hours upon hours studying for APUSH exams, that detracts from the time I have to do physics or calc.


First, to lay a foundation, students should be taught Math, Science, English and History.
In college, students are given more freedoms as to which subjects they want to major in...this would include liberal arts, math/science, humanities, etc...
Why not have a system like that earlier, in secondary schools? I think once students know their interests, they shouldn't be forced--by parents, teachers, schools, competition or otherwise--to spend so much time on other things. They should be allowed to pick, maybe as early as freshman year of high school, which subjects they want to learn.


For example, for a math/science oriented student:

Math classes: Teachers lecture the basic concepts, assign homework, and distribute problem sets. Problem sets encourage cooperation, and when working together, you'll find it easier to get through problems, and maybe you'll even get some clarification from your classmates on some particular concept on which you've been having trouble. I still think tests are necessary, because they show individual achievement.

Science: First, I agree with whomever said fewer canned labs, because it sort of defeats the point of the scientific method if you already know what's going to happen. And though we should keep teaching the key concepts, I would like more hands-on stuff. In physics, for example, we have to build a catapult, but it's really more of a side project. We're not expected to do any calculations with rotational motion/momentum/forces--but why not have more of those projects, where we have to optimize it through calculations, and fewer tests? After all, real-life engineers don't take physics exams every once in a while to make sure they understand the concepts. They retain their knowledge through applying physics.


English: What we're supposed to get out of English classes is the ability to read/write well. And I don't mean writing with lots of fancy metaphors or symbolism or with any of the other oh-so-vital literary devices. Teach students how to write well-constructed, grammatically correct (where the hell did teaching grammar go, by the way?) sentences first, maybe through example. Maybe have them read well-written novels to boost their writing/reading level, but here's one thing I don't like in English classes: Teachers always try to make you recognize certain things in books. They want you to classify the static/dynamic characters, the theme, the symbolization, the motifs, etc...Who really needs to do that in real life? What exactly are their applications? All a mathematician or scientist needs to do is get an idea across.
In fact, teaching English from SAT prep books would probably be a more effective way of teaching students how to write just a well-formed sentence. I probably learned more about grammar through a couple weeks of an SAT writing book than I did throughout all my English classes in school. The Critical Reading Prep books also taught me how to get through dense reading material rather quickly, and the vocab handbooks boosted my vocab in a matter of weeks.

History: Teach the historical concepts, and emphasize, very clearly, that the countless historical facts are next to useless without the ideas that connect them. Instead of making students read ~100 pages in a textbook per week, maybe have them watch a historical movie (or a cartoon---Anybody ever heard of Liberty's Kids?) to learn the facts.
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby Hellekin » Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:39 pm UTC

1. Divide students in groups (could be large groups or even 1 person alone)

2. Make a challenge that requires of them more than they know, so they will have to search for themselves the knowledge required to solve that (with teachers assistance available).

3. Make the groups compete with each other! (and FAIL the losers, that is important I think).

That's it, I am very productive under pressure, and I think I could be much more than I am today if I had been forced a bit more... (though I am very satisfied about who I am and what I know).
Also, competition the best way to make kids work hard in my opinion.

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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby BlazeOrangeDeer » Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:50 am UTC

Well, Hellekin, thunderdome-style group competition would create more stress, and still wouldn't emphasize learning, so I'd say that's a no-go.

Anyway, here are a few thoughts I have about school:

-Teachers give their students an assignment, which must be turned in on time no matter how ridiculous or tedious, and then grade it based on what they think is "A work". Teachers have too much power is what I'm saying. If a teacher sucks and all of the kids say so, they should be able to enact a change that allows them to learn instead of leaping through idiotic hoops.

- Teachers (in my experience) only have an hour each day with the kids, which they use to (often inadequately) explain the subject and then assign homework. if they got two hours, and that time was based primarily on discussion of topics, students could explore the subject and ask questions instead of being fed a list of facts. They should be given study recommendations to prepare for class, but no graded homework assignments ever, I would say. Periodic tests can keep everyone on the same page. With more periods widely distributed throughout the week, students would have more time between classes to study, and more time in class to discuss.

- Nobody should be forced to take a class beyond the “solid foundation” level. Students should be encouraged to specialize in what they find interesting (and secondarily, what will be useful to them later). Students should have regular contact with higher level students, who can share their experience while reinforcing their own knowledge of previous courses.

- Gym classes, music, and art should be extra-curricular. This frees up time for more “necessary” pursuits during the day and totally removes grades from the equation, while increasing one-on-one time with both staff and peers. Introductory classes in these subjects can be curricular at a younger age, where they will do the most good and when there is necessarily less focus on advanced academic subjects.
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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby heavymeds » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:20 am UTC

My ideal education system (mainly for high school level) really revolves around the teachers.

The main requirement for teachers should be that they 1. actually want to teach, and 2. know what they're talking about (not necessarily having a degree in the subject, they just have to be knowledgeable and understand the topic they teaching). classes would be taught in a lecture format, with classes no larger than 30 at any given time to encourage questions and minor interruptions(yes, I know that is nigh impossible) Grades would be given through 2 things: participation in class, which would probably be 10%-20% of the final grade and be used to encourage student involvement, and discourage misbehavior. the other 80%-90% of the grade would be from tests designed to test the students understanding of the subject, not just rote memorization of facts.

Also, standardized tests would be eliminated completely, because they serve no real purpose, and, at least where I live, they force the teachers to only teach for the test, and nothing else.

As for courses: Math, Science, English, Literature, History, and Philosophy should all be required core classes, i put philosophy in there because, in one way or another, it is the basis of all our knowledge.

sports would still be present, but have a lesser emphasis, with less inter school competition (the coaches at my school encourage the sports teams to not do their regular schoolwork so they can spend more time practicing for the games)

other classes like logic, programing, music, cooking, foreign languages, et cetera... would be optional and logic, and other languages would be heavily encouraged.

this is what is ideal for me, I know for a fact that this would not work for 90% of the students at my school, and probably students in general

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Re: Design your own ideal education system

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:14 pm UTC

I don't have so much a system as the change to high school requirements(what we make everyone do regardless of topic hatred).

math--make everyone take algebra1 and geometry; create a practical math involving things like checking accounts after that. Possibly make the upper classes heavily based on math puzzles

science--I find this the trickiest; but teach practical science topics for two or three years, encourage basic physics as an application of algebra.

history/government--four years as now; general focus on connecting events

english--Teach some freaking grammar and spelling, it would be greatly beneficial to all involved.
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