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View Diary: “I Don’t Believe That”: Reforming the Debate to Reform Education (25 comments)

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  •  The other thing that caught my eye (1+ / 0-)
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    was a link in a diary a few days ago to Nobel-winning American physicist Richard Feynman's experience teaching physics in Brazil.

    He basically found that students (grad students in physics, even) could recite text book facts perfectly from memory - the kinds of things that often appear on some tests - but they had no ability to make use of those facts in a practical way, say, to predict some outcome or derive some new insight.

    You can't measure the latter on a test, but you can assess its impact in terms of Nobel prizes granted, innovations produced, and similar things. And if we want our educational system to continue produce those kinds of things, standardized testing is a lot less important than seeing, doing, and thinking in different ways. That's especially true for those with lower SES, who have less opportunity to see and do, and less contact in most cases with people who think in different ways.

    Coming from a lower middle class background, I had never met an engineer and when I went to engineering school, it was a disadvantage compared to some of my classmates whose parents or neighbors were engineers and even engineering professors. But I had at least had opportunities to experiment and play to some extent.

    But it may be that those who control the country don't want to produce the kind of creative educated individuals we've produced in the past. At the same time, I'd like to see education go beyond just its economic or technological value to benefit the whole student physically, intellectually, aesthetically, practically, and economically too.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood - Tom Robbins

    by badger on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 11:58:12 AM PST

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    •  I understand they are redesigning AP curriculum (2+ / 0-)
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      badger, houyhnhnm

      to address this very flaw.  Regurgitation of content is less useful than analytical thinking, and the new AP standards are an attempt to address that.  Due in 2012-13, I believe.

      "Repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed." --J. Steinbeck

      by livjack on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:16:22 PM PST

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